If you aren’t familiar with Frederique Constant, suffice to say that they are both a new and a powerful force in Swiss watchmaking. Even without the long history of other manufacturers, they have seen immense success in the near-luxury and luxury markets.
Marketed as a casual watch, the FC-350B5B6B GMT is an attractive piece that would look equally at home in a board meeting or cruising the boulevard. Seemingly every surface of the watch glistens and shines like the fine piece of mechanical jewelry that it is, from the band to the bezel to the hands and numerals.
This is a watch you will want to bring along on vacation as well. If you find yourself in a new time zone, the GMT function is one of the more useful complications you can have, as it keeps track of time at your home as well as your travel destination. More on that later. Let’s examine this watch in some more detail.
The polished stainless-steel case is round, like almost every other watch Frederique Constant makes. It is a substantial but not huge 42 mm wide and 13 mm thick. The fixed stainless-steel bezel is very thin and has no markings, making the large dial the star of the show, stylistically.
The automatic movement is displayed under a window on the back of the case. I’ve long been fond of exhibition casebacks on automatic watches; there is just something fascinating about being able to have a glimpse into the mechanics of the automatic movement without constantly having it on display while you wear it.
Rated as water resistant to only 50 meters, Frederique Constant notes that the FC-350B5B6B is unsuitable for showering or swimming. In fact, it’s even recommended that you keep it out of the rain, so this is very much a casual watch that should be removed when the going gets wet. In a market “flooded” with watches rated to 100 meter or more, this is a serious downside to consider when comparing watches.
A sapphire crystal covers the jet black dial. Prominent silver-tone Roman numeral hour markers sit in between Arabic minute numerals on the outside and 24-hour markers on the inside. All of these numerals interact well on the dial and give an air of technicality to an otherwise simple dial layout. The day is displayed black-on-white at the 3 o’clock position.
The FC-350B5B6B features 4 hands circling the dial, but their delicate design prevents the watch from feeling cluttered, and the hands are differentiated enough to avoid confusion when telling time. A thin second hand glides around the dial in a graceful sweeping motion. The GMT hand, which keeps track of the second time zone, features red accents on the arrow-shaped tip, providing a very nice contrast to the otherwise black-and-silver dial. Besides being useful while traveling, the GMT function could also be used to keep track of a loved one or business associate in another time zone; it is certainly easier than doing the math in your head and faster than using google.
The FC-350B5B6B employs Frederique Constant’s proprietary FC-350 automatic movement, with a 38-hour power reserve. At under 30 years old, Frederique Constant is a relative newcomer in a field where many manufacturers have been around for well over a century. This fact may give some buyers pause when spending a significant amount of money on a watch.
While the vast majority of buyers appear to be very satisfied with the reliability of the Swiss-made movement, it’s worth mentioning that there have been a few complaints here and there about the accuracy. A two-year warranty is offered on the watch to assuage any concerns about short-term issues.
The 22-millimeter wide stainless steel band continues the shimmery aesthetic of the case and dial. The brushed and polished stainless bracelet is adjustable to fit wrists from 6 to 8.25 inches in diameter. The deployment clasp operates with a chunky push-button release located on both sides of the band.
A watch that blends modern and classic styling elements, the FC-350B5B6B checks the boxes most shoppers desire on a watch of this price: sapphire crystal, Swiss-made automatic movement, and some useful complications. Although it’s not without a couple potential demerits, this watch is very much worth considering. I feel that, as long as you don’t mind wearing a somewhat new brand and you don’t need to rely on your watch in the wet, this is a solid buy, especially at the drastic discounts some retailers are offering off of the retail price.