Frederique Constant launched recently two new pieces in the “Healey” Collection. So we took one, the Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Reference FC-303HVBR5B4 for a ride. Enjoy the full hands-on review with a large gallery.
Hands-on Review Frederique Constant Vintage Rally “Healey” Automatic
Cars and watches, watches and cars… These two words have been from the beginning often together used. The first cars enthusiasts used their pocket watches and after the wristwatches to monitor their automobile’s performance. The ones with larger pockets used chronographs. But later, some of the car enthusiasts wanted automobile-related pieces to wear just like that. Not for the sake of timing a race but for the sole purpose of reminding them of their cars on all moments. Just enjoying automobile theme.
Frederique Constant started a lovely collaboration with Austin-Healey in 2004. And since, many timepieces were created with racing and cars thematic. The brand launched its last Vintage Healey Automatic in 2018. Two years later, they released two models, one with British racing green dial and one with a touch of rose gold and light dial. The last one, the Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Reference FC-303HVBR5B4 is in review today.
Rose plated case
The Vintage Healey Automatic we tested comes in a rose gold plated stainless steel classic case. The watch was designed with softly rounded surfaces. The entire look is neutral, a classic elegance.
The lugs are well proportioned with the 40mm case. The cylindrical crown bears the brand logo. It offers a good grip and complements well the timepiece’s appearance.
The Frederique Constant Vintage Rally “Healey” Automatic has a solid caseback. The screwed-in part is decorated with an engraved medallion. The scenery depicts a Healey car on the tarmac and a coniferous background.
The medallion is surrounded by a circular brushed area containing the name of the watch, “Limited Edition” and piece number, reference number and water resistance.
The exterior look is completed by a dark brown strap in racing style. The strap features a simple pin buckle decorated with the brand’s logo.
The watch feels good on the wrist. The dimensions lead to a relatively light watch that is easy to wear. I find it comfortable and pleasant to look at. Diana enjoyed it too. As you might notice in the pictures, quite a lot.
What a charming dial!
The Frederique Constant Vintage Rally “Healey” Automatic FC-303HVBR5B4 is my favourite piece from the two launched recently. While the green version is definitively an appearance, the warmth of the silver-coloured dial with grey and brown accents charmed me.
The face of this Healey is full of details. For a three hands piece, the dial is nicely decorated with a multitude of elements. But not too busy, not excessive. I find it to have a sporty note, with a British touch of heavier details but not tiresome. And despite that, to remain rather elegant.
The watch was gifted with large indexes and Roman numerals, generously filled with Luminova. The gold plated applied indexes cover the grey track and a serious size of the silver centre.
The dial was decorated with two registers: a coarse brown, exterior track with minutes/seconds 0 to 60 indication and a grey track 1/5 indexes for a more precise seconds’ readout.
A date window was placed at 3 o’clock. It offers good legibility without loading the dial. The Healey dial was further decorated with the name of the brand on the top side and italic “Healey” on the lower side.
The time is displayed with the Frederique Constant’s usual alpha hands – skeletonised and treated with luminous substance. The seconds’ hand is simple, in steel. I wonder how it would look like to have the seconds’ hand also covered with luminescent. Regardless that, the low light view is as charming as in the full bright sun.
And a picture of the watch in the shaded afternoon light. More pictures can be found in the gallery.
Modest movement, great advantages
Frederique Constant Vintage Rally “Healey” Automatic is powered by FC-303 calibre. This movement is a manufacture modified version of Selita SW200-1. Before start complaining about this let me give you some serious reasons to love this choice.
First, it will be the price – the use of relatively inexpensive movement lowers significantly the price of the watch. And Frederique Constant is very good in the ability to create exceptional timepieces at much more affordable prices. I own three pieces and I was never disappointed. The bang for the buck is definitively there.
Second, the Selita SW200-1 is a robust and reliable movement, easy to be serviced. So in the unfortunate case of damage, it can be easily and inexpensively repaired. A dream for those in search a good piece, easy to maintain.
The FC-303 is an automatic calibre beating at 4Hz and with an autonomy of 38 hours. Of course, the ebauche was adapted and decorated by Frederique Constant.
Above, the Frederique Constant Vintage Rally “Healey” Automatic Reference FC-303HVBR5B4 and some technical drawing of Healey Silverstone.
I was impressed by this good looking piece. It has a certain charm that I cannot resist. The dial’s choice of decoration made me click. I find the Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Ref. FC-303HVBR5B4 a very serious solution for those in search for a vintage rally themed piece. It is one of the best-looking automobile themed watches I have seen recently. And if you consider also the price…
The Vintage Rally Healey Automatic offers a good wrist look. It is comfortable, easy to set and wind (in case of need), easy to maintain on a long run.
Great vintage looking watch! It fits well to a driving session but also to a daily piece. The selection of dial colours and decoration is pleasant. It is a lovely wrist companion.
A set of driving gloves, sunglasses and a car and you are good to go for a fun drive. Depicted above with a vintage Hermes scarf painted it with the end of the 19th-century locomotion means (Hermes Carrosserie from 1976, designed by Philippe Ledoux).
Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Technical Specifications and Price
- Hours, minutes, seconds, date
- FC-303 calibre, automatic
- 26 jewels, 38-hour power reserve, 28’800 alt/h
- Rose gold plated polished stainless steel 2-parts case
- Diameter of 40 mm
- Convex sapphire crystal
- Water-resistant up to 5 ATM
- Silver color dial with brown ring
- Applied rose gold plated indexes with white luminous
- Date window at 3 o’clock
- Hand-polished rose gold plated hours and minutes hands with luminous and pearl black seconds hand
- Dark brown calf leather strap
- Limited to 2’888 pieces
- 1’750€ *retail recommended price