Partnerships between watch brands and their counterparts in the automobile industry are common, with most showing a penchant for high-octane motorsports. Frederique Constant has, however, given this a miss and opted for a vintage slant by pairing up with British sports car maker Austin-Healey. Frederique Constant has paid tribute to various cars from this brand in the past, and the latest is the iconic Austin-Healey NOJ393. Dubbed “the world’s most valuable Austin-Healey”, the NOJ393 changed hands for close to S$1.8 million at a 2011 Bonhams auction in its unrestored form, after a 42-year ownership under an individual.
Frederique Constant’s nod to the NOJ393 takes the form of the Healey GMT 24H Collection, which comes in three different materials and colours. Each watch is powered by an FC-350 Automatic GMT movement featuring a date and GMT complication in addition to basic timekeeping functions. We are pleased to report that despite these additional complications, all adjustments to the watch are made via a single crown, thus maintaining the simplicity of the case.
Given the NOJ393’s status as a race car from the 1950s, Frederique Constant’s design choices with the Healey GMT 24H were kept sporty yet classic. The understated round case clocks in at 42mm – a good middle-ground for today’s market. Beneath the sapphire crystal lies a dial with guilloche decoration in the middle, surrounded by the hour/minute markers with hand applied indices, which is itself rimmed by the GMT chapter ring. A simple date aperture sits at three o’clock, with Frederique Constant’s signature and the Healey logo balancing each other at 12 and six o’clock respectively.
The watch comes in either rose gold with a silver or chocolate dial, or in stainless steel with a silver dial. Each model is limited to 2,888 pieces, and comes in a specially designed gift box accompanied by a model of the Austin-Healey NOJ393.