This handsome new watch from Frederique Constant is a chronograph, but one that is quite unlike what most people associate with the often sporty stopwatch complication. More commonly seen as colorful vintage watches than among modern ones, the “yacht timer” or “regatta timer” is made specifically for competitive sailing where the five minutes leading up to the race’s official start are crucial. The new Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown Chronograph from Frederique Constant is a rare modern take on this interesting concept.
Here’s how it works. The five circles at the top of the white dial remain white when the chronograph is not in use, but activate it with the 2 o’clock pusher, and they are one by one filled with blue for the first five minutes and then orange for the next five minutes. (The blue dial version presumably goes from blue to white to orange, as quick and easy legibility is the goal.) There are various takes on the regatta timer, and the five circles were a notable one in the past from brands like Aquastar — but the same system has featured on modern watches from Frederique Constant’s sportier sister brand Alpina.
This approach leaves the dial much cleaner than those usually associated with chronographs and their multiple subdials and scales, but also adds a colorful and interesting touch. It also means that this is a chronograph that only offers measurement of up to ten minutes. Since the functions it offers require different displays than a typical chronograph, Frederique Constant uses a modified form of the common Valjoux 7750 (or Sellita equivalent) with 42 hours of power reserve and automatic winding, which it calls the FC-380. It’s nicely decorated and visible through a sapphire case back window.
Measuring 42mm wide and water-resistant to an appropriate 100m, the Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown Chronograph comes in three versions. They include silver dials and a blue one, each with a “hobnail” texture, two with rose gold-plated steel cases. In steel, Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown Chronograph has a price of $3,395, and costs $100 more for the rose gold-plated models.
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