Watches of the Week: Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture

In these days of artificial intelligence and cars that can (sort of) drive themselves, a stopwatch might not seem like much of a technological leap. But in the world of watches, making a reliable mechanical chronograph is a complex task—and the Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture watches bring a whole new level of technological prowess to the humble stopwatch function. Now’s a great time to add one of these timepieces to your collection: Frederique Constant has just released two Flyback Chronograph Manufacture watches in new colors, and both feature the brand’s innovative flyback mechanism.

Flyback Chronograph Manufacture
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The flyback chronograph allows you to stop, reset, and restart a watch’s chronograph just by pushing a single button, instead of multiple presses. It was developed in the 1930s, and was especially useful in sports settings, where an observer needed to quickly keep track of lap times and other events. Inside the watch, a flyback traditionally relied on a set of column wheels to simultaneously stop, reset, and restart the chronograph.

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It’s a complex mechanism, and the designers at Frederique Constant worked for six years to simplify it. That work resulted in the remarkable FC-760 movement that powers the Flyback Chronograph Manufacture watches—it ditches the column wheels in favor of one single, star-shaped wheel. That creates a more streamlined movement, and by reducing complexity, makes the watch more efficient and reliable. Compared to other flyback watches, the single-wheel design represents a major improvement.

“What may seem like subtle change is in fact intensely technical,” said Men’s Journal Fashion Editor Kevin Breen, “and it’s these modifications that really enhance a brand’s value.”

Flyback Chronograph Manufacture
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These two new timepieces add bold colors and materials to the Flyback Chronograph Manufacture collection. Both feature counters and faces that are different colors—a first for the series. The first timepiece, reference number FC-760NS4H6, comes with a navy blue dial, stainless-steel case, and silver indices and hands. The second, reference number FC-760CHC4H4, features a chocolate brown dial, rose gold case, and rose gold-plated indices and hands.

According to a Frederique Constant press release, the company opted for the two-tone styling to give these watches excellent legibility and a bit of a sportier feel than their counterparts. We definitely agree—they look great, and the colored dials really make the three smaller counters on each model stand out.

Flyback Chronograph Manufacture
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You can’t go wrong with either of these timepieces. Both come dressed with baton-shaped indices and luminescent hands, are capped with sapphire crystal, and feature handsome alligator leather straps that match the dial colors. The large 42mm case makes a bold statement on the wrist, and thanks to its see-through case back, you can can get a peek at that innovative FC-760 movement.

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On top of that, they’re designed for great everyday wearability. They have a 38-hour power reserve for reliable timekeeping, come equipped with date by hand and tachymeter functions, and they’re water resistant down to 169 feet, so they can handle some exploring, too. But trust us, a watch this nice is not the one you want to take scuba diving.

[Blue dial: $ 4,237; Brown dial: $ 4,563,]

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