Frederique Constant Classics and Tissot Le Locle Automatic. Two great looking, Swiss made, dress style watches that cost less than $500. Which is the better one?
Both brands are positioned in the low-to-middle segment of the luxury Swiss brands, although Frederique Constant stands a tad higher and is a bit more expensive in general. Both Tissot and Frederique Constant are among the most respected Swiss watch brands, and are very affordable, which makes them a great choice for every watch connoisseur.
Round 1: Movement. DRAW
Tissot Le Locle is powered by an automatic ETA 2824-2 movement, which features hacking and hand winding, along with a quick-set date complication. Frederique Constant Classics uses an automatic FC-303 movement, which is in fact a standard Sellita SW 200, slightly modified by FC. Overall, both movements are almost identical and it is really difficult to find any significant difference between them.
Round 2: Crystal. DRAW
Both watches use scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Draw.
Round 3: Case. TISSOT WINS.
The case of Tissot Le Locle Automatic is made of gold-coated stainless steel. FC uses polished stainless steel case. Tissot's case not only looks better. Its PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coating technology guarantees excellent quality and high endurance.
Round 4: Case back. TISSOT WINS.
You do not look at the back of your watch very often. Most people never do. Perhaps because they do not own Le Locle. Its transparent case back looks really elegant and you may spend a lot of time just watching the gears spinning and eccentric weight turning as you turn the watch around. Frederique Constant has the standard closed case back.
Round 5: Band material. FREDERIQUE CONSTANT WINS.
Tissot's leatherette band looks and feels cheap. The croco-calf band of Frederique Constant is much better.
Round 6: Water resistance. FREDERIQUE CONSTANT WINS.
FC is water resistant at 5 atm. Tissot offers the standard for its class 3 atm. water resistance.
Round 7: Warranty. DRAW
Both manufacturers give the standard 2 years warranty.
Round 8: Functions and features. DRAW
Both movements are identical, so are the functions of the watches.
Round 9: Design. TISSOT WINS.
With its elegant, golden-tone hour markers and hands (not to mention Clous De Paris guilloché at the center of the dial), Tissot is clearly the winner.
Round 10: Price. TISSOT WINS.
Tissot Le Locle is cheaper by $100. Winner.
Round 11: Value for money. TISSOT WINS.
Both watches have identical functions. However, Tissot Le Locle costs less and looks better than Frederique Constant Classics.
Tissot Le Locle Automatic wins the competition. It comes at very good price and its clean, minimalist design makes it very attractive. Its only drawback is the cheap looking leatherette strap. Tissot definitely could have chosen the band material more carefully.
Make no mistake - Frederique Constant Classics Automatic is also a great dress style watch. Just like Le Locle, FC is an ideal dress watch to wear to a black tie formal event. It is a bit pricey, but there's no reason to hesitate if you like it better than Tissot Le Locle and want to buy it.
Tissot Le Locle Automatic is available at Jomashop for $349.
Frederique Constant Classic Automatic costs $445 (again, at Jomashop online watch store).