In 1988, over 30 years ago, a young and independent family company was established in Geneva, the heart of the Swiss watch industry. Meanwhile, on Italian shores, an association was set up to celebrate La Dolce Vita by locating and aiding in the conservation of classic runabout boats that were designed by the passionate boating enthusiast, Mr Carlo Riva. These legendary yachts were made entirely out of wood, embodying the easy-going Italian way of life from the 20s to the 60s. In 2009, the two entities came closer together, giving rise to a continued partnership, the fruit of which can be seen in the Runabout collection. This year, Frederique Constant is introducing its new Runabout RHS Chronograph Automatic model in honour of this collaboration and available in two limited series each composed of 2,888 pieces.
A long-standing Italian-Swiss friendship
Since their alliance, Frederique Constant has created many limited edition timepieces to support the noble work of the Riva Historical Society. Each piece draws inspiration from these Runabout boats’ heritage, imagery and universe. Borrowing certain hallmarks relating to yachting and escapism, the "Runabout" line expresses the fine craftsmanship and luxury common to both enterprises and their creations.
The chronograph makes a comeback
The 2020 collaboration will see the return of a complication that hasn’t been available for some years: the chronograph. Housed in a 42 mm steel case, the two new Runabout RHS Chronograph Automatic models share a tricompax chronograph (12 o’clock – 6 o’clock – 9 o’clock) powered by the automatic FC-392 calibre, ensuring a power reserve of 46 hours.
The Swiss origins of these timepieces are revealed through the guilloché dial - a traditional finish in Swiss Made Fine Watchmaking - either anthracite grey or silvered, depending on the edition. Two luminescent hands glide over a date window at 6 o’clock and are complemented by a large central seconds hand in blued steel, recalling the colour of the great Italian lakes. This maritime hue is picked up in the topstitching on the version that comes on a black calfskin leather strap and adorns the strap on the second model, which is finished with grey topstitching.
Two limited series
The exclusive nature of these editions, each of which is strictly limited to 2,888 pieces, is indicated on the back of each watch in two places. Firstly, by the individual number engraved on each watch. And secondly, by an original imprint representing the official RHS pavilion, which features on the sapphire crystal of the watch. Through it, fans of watchmaking will be able to appreciate the FC-392 calibre in detail, ticking at 28,800 beats / hour (4 Hz), complete with a gold coloured oscillating weight.
Each watch will be presented in a special case with a miniature replica of a wooden Runabout yacht moored alongside it.