Pim Koeslag On The Frederique Constant Highlife Collection
The Technical Director also sheds light on what inspires his master craftsmanship and innovation
If there’s one watch brand that’s ahead of the game, it’s Swiss-based Frederique Constant. Combining timeless designs with innovative technology, the label leaves no stone unturned in delivering unparalleled quality to watch connoisseurs. For the latest line, the brand revived and reimagined its 25-year-old Highlife collection, creating a buzz among the brand’s patrons.
Ahead, Pim Koeslag, Technical Director and Master Watchmaker of Frederique Constant dives deep into this cherished collection, and more.
ELLE: What inspired you to reintroduce the collection?
Pim Koeslag (PK): The Highlife collection revives an iconic design of the brand, which had been introduced in 1999. At that time, the movements used to equip these timepieces were built with the highest quality components, therefore meeting all the precision criteria for official Swiss chronometer certification. These models featured an integrated bracelet. The rebirth of this collection was therefore a logical continuation as Frederique Constant wanted to introduce a timepiece featuring an integrated bracelet in its core collection, and a COSC certified model.
The new Highlife collection is designed for the next generation of collectors eager to embrace luxury Swiss Made timepieces. The collection presents a modern yet elegant, or sport chic appearance, true to the Brand’s DNA, advocating a case designed to integrate an interchangeable bracelet.
ELLE: Can you please explain the story of the iconic design Highlife Heart Beat which is liked and preferred by women across the world. What made you bring back the collection after 25 years?
PK: The history of the Heart Beat goes back to 1994. Early in the 1990s, automatic mechanical watches were slowly making their comeback after the quartz crisis of the 1970-1980s. These mechanical watches looked similar to quartz watches. However, in a mechanical watch, the balance wheel beats 28’800 times per hour and rotates clockwise and counterclockwise on its axes in a large ruby jewel. Its rotation is controlled by the hairspring, which constantly coils and uncoils. At Frederique Constant, we considered it important to highlight the difference between mechanical and quartz watches visually. The purpose of the Heart Beat development was therefore to show the mechanical nature of our watches, with an aperture on the dial at the position of the balance wheel. The Heart Beat has become the iconic signature of Frederique Constant.
ELLE: You have introduced a good number of innovative watch pieces, what is your thought process and how do you come to a conclusion in terms of design, style, mechanisms, and innovations?
PK: The research and development of new product concepts is essential for Frederique Constant, as the spirit of the Maison lies in a tradition of innovation. Therefore, we have been investing in our production facilities massively and continuously, to offer creativity and provide our timepieces with outstanding technical features. However, we must keep a good balance between innovation and design, with pure and classical lines, to stay faithful to our DNA.
ELLE: Watches express personal style, and status of emblem and power, what inspires you to make it a distinct creation?
PK: For me, creating a watch is not about personal status or emblem of power, it all lies in innovation embodied in a timeless design. These are the most important aspects when creating a timepiece. The aim is to create something that has neither been created nor done before. For instance, the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture timepiece is equipped with revolutionary technology while presenting classical lines, reflecting Frederique Constant’s DNA. The high-frequency characteristic of this watch inspired me in tracing the history of watchmaking. We jumped from 18’000 beats per hour to 21’600 and to 28’000. This was possible thanks to the evolution of technology, and this is deeply inspiring and challenging. Now we are able to reach to 288’000 beats per hour.
ELLE: Preferences of watch collections differ from country to country. What goes into designing a watch that is best suited to different cultures?
PK: Frederique Constant is a watch brand offering timepieces with a refined and classic aesthetic. I believe that classical features can adapt to all countries and cultures, besides being timeless.
ELLE: Frederique Constant is known for its exclusive innovative watch pieces. Which ones are a perfect suit for Indian women?
PK: In the Ladies category, we have introduced some classic timepieces that have been trending. The Art Deco Round in Steel, for example, is a suitable accessory for corporate wear because it is circular in shape, elegant, and can be worn with saris. We have also recently introduced the Highlife ladies Automatic collection, which can be worn with both formal and casual attire.