Frédérique Constant Manufacturer Movement Reliability?
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  1. #1
    N8G
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    Question Frédérique Constant Manufacturer Movement Reliability?

    I apologize up-front if I cause any offense with this question as that is not my intent, but I'd like to hear longer term experiences from those that have owned the FC manufacturer series watches. All the initial reviews rave about the movement and the looks, but I haven't found much information on how the movement holds up 3,5, or 10 years from purchase.

    I understand all brands and movements will have issues now and again, and that is part of owning a mechanical watch. But there seems to be more than a few owners that are reporting failures within the first few months of ownership and repeated issues even after repairs were completed in reviews of the manufacture movements. Does that reflect the experiences of owners on these forums, or has it been a good, reliable movement for you?

    I am considering purchasing a slimline moonphase FC-705, but I interested in estimating what my true cost of ownership will be over time factoring in service and repairs. I typically spend a long time researching before purchasing an item and like to keep it for a long time after purchase. I don't see myself only owing this watch for 2-3 years. I owned my last motorcycle for 20 years before buying my current bike. That is what I would like out of my watch too!

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    Re: Frédérique Constant Manufacturer Movement Reliability?

    I think a very ancient phrase can apply here: You get what you pay for.

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    Member the.hatter's Avatar
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    Frédérique Constant Manufacturer Movement Reliability?

    I'm interested as well, but I've already bought mine lol. I tried to research this topic before purchase and didn't find too much. Seems like a few vague references to the automatic rotor getting stuck, and something about ball bearings. I purchased mine from a seller offering a two year warranty, so I'm counting on using that for protection against early issues.

    From what I understand, the first gen FC 700 movements came out in 2009, so while there won't be decades of information, hopefully at least a few longer term owners can comment.

    This is one of the things about in-house movements vs. more established movements like ETA, etc. Service costs will probably be higher ($500?), fewer service location options, and in-house doesn't automatically mean more reliable and better.

    Does "you get what you pay for" mean that since FC is one of the more affordable Swiss in-house options, that reliability is poor? Or compared to Orient and some Seikos, a lot of ETA 2824 watches, etc. FC costs more, so more reliability can be expected? Not trying to be technical, just want to understand.


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    Last edited by the.hatter; November 6th, 2016 at 22:08.

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    Member mpalmer's Avatar
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    Re: Frédérique Constant Manufacturer Movement Reliability?

    Welcome to the forums! I would not fear reliability. If you plan to keep the watch for decades, spending a bit more and moving up market a bit more might better warrant the service costs you will invest. Consider JLC or Glashutte Original as another option.
    Last edited by mpalmer; November 7th, 2016 at 06:52.
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    Re: Frédérique Constant Manufacturer Movement Reliability?

    FC is a great brand and I do not have any concerns about the durability or longevity of their watches. Service intervals should be similar to other automatic movements which are usually recommended for maintenance every 5 years or so. Some service closer to 6-7 years, while others never service until something isn't working right. To each their own of course. I have owned an FC303 for a little over a year now. No issues at all and it consistently keeps great time.
    Last edited by sefrcoko; November 7th, 2016 at 22:00.

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    Re: Frédérique Constant Manufacturer Movement Reliability?

    FC is built to last. No worries whether it is a standard ETA or in-house movement, they are very dependable.
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    N8G
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    Re: Frédérique Constant Manufacturer Movement Reliability?

    Thanks for the replies all. If anyone else has comments one way or the other I'd still love to hear them, but it has been helpful that others have had good experiences and feel it is a solid brand here.

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    Re: Frédérique Constant Manufacturer Movement Reliability?

    Nothing constructive, but I'm curious to know as well since I only got mine back in September so keep fingers crossed, in the meantime, I'll wear it proud and enjoy its beauty!

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    Re: Frédérique Constant Manufacturer Movement Reliability?

    I have had my world timer for almost 2 years. I wear it often and have never had an issue.

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    Re: Frédérique Constant Manufacturer Movement Reliability?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nokie View Post
    FC is built to last. No worries whether it is a standard ETA or in-house movement, they are very dependable.

    Let me offer a different POV.


    Watches are built to be production efficient and cost effective. Quartz watches are almost 100% machine made. Requires little human input and is very reliable because of circuit boards. Machine mass production is high QC because computer controlled machines do the exact same thing every time. So, products planned to high QC standards will have few duds.


    Mechanical watches require more human input because of the wheels and springs inside the case. However, the range of human input varies. On $200 mechanical watches, there is a high degree of modular assembly, plus machine work. Parts are assembled on a plate (the bridge) before being put into the case. So modular assembly requires fewer operations in the case. Reducing cost and errors.


    In fact, I have an Orient Ray ($150) that averaged +1 sec/day on a two week trip. Orient is owned by a watch company that sells cheap high quality quartz watches.


    Therefore, any systemic deviation in inexpensive watches is 'planned'. They are the result of low production costs and processes. You have to live with it.


    By comparison, $$$$ watches may have >300 parts. The huge cost comes when you have a Swiss technician assembling this large number of parts in the case. That's why good manufacturers have many hours of testing. To ensure that each phase of the assembly is correct. For premium brands, QC means that they will stop the production process and rebuild the assemblage if needed.


    Why do some $$$$ brands have a bad QC reputation?


    They may be small independents who don't have the interest or resources to meet the latest production standards. They may be more interested in the PM and gems in the watches, than the movement. Or, they may have little interest in their low end products. So, showing disrespect for starter customers.


    Why do some brands claim to have '1,000 hours' of testing and yet produce duds?


    They may have insufficient qualified staff. They may have such high production quotas that they can't stop and rebuilt the duds. Hoping that the customer will overlook the problem.


    Why do some watches return repeatedly from warranty service, and still have the same problem? It may be because the problem can only be fixed by a complete rebuilt. Something that the company deems too expensive. So, the marketing team is in conflict with the bean counters.


    So, contrary to the attitude in some parts of this forum. Accuracy and reliability do matter. They tell you volumes about the companies that made the watches. Rolex has a high QC reputation and high resale value, Why not the others?

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