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Richard S. Cunanan

Runabout

With great power comes great mobility.

Frederique Constant has developed a watch with an unusual purpose in mind: they are contributing to the preservation of Riva boats. The brand formed an association in 2009 with the Riva Historical Society, which centers around these wonderful powered wooden watercraft designed by engineer Carlo Riva back in the 1920s.

The Riva boats are evocative of another time, a small but powerful craft whose wooden construction serves not so much for extended journeys as for the pleasurable transport to and from points on a river or a bay. The Riva craft are reminders of a place and time somewhere between practical shipping and luxury yachts; a boat that seems to exist for the sheer joy of zipping around the waterways and seeing your friends. It’s the watergoing equivalent of cruising up and down Main Street.

They are Italian in origin, of course, and they carry that sense of style as well, their wooden hulls polished so bright that they seem to compete with the chrome fittings for catching the light. The Riva Historical Society is a worldwide association with national affiliates in many countries; their common thread is truly the appreciation and enjoyment of these speedy little boats in places where the owners and enthusiasts can come together.

The Riva boats are Italian in origin, but their beauty, speed and versatility makes them at home in nearly every water way in the world. Much of the spread of human civilization has taken place near waterways of one kind or another, and in these places, the Riva boat can show its qualities just as well as in the Italian waters of its birth. The climate of Italy is particularly pleasant, but wherever you find people boating for the sheer joy of it, you will find that the Riva boats can go through their paces.

The waters of Europe are the birthplace of these Italian-made craft, but the love of them has spread all throughout the world.

Since 2009, Frederique Constant has developed watches and added to the Runabout collection, doing their part to help preserve this charming water craft and the culture that has grown up around it. Frederique Constant has been a partner not only in the appreciation of the Riva boats, but of wooden yachts and similar craft all around. The brand participates in and sponsors the boating events in Lake Tahoe in the United States just as easily as it does at the Iseo lake near Sarnico, in Italy. The water calls out to Riva boat owners everywhere. The waters of Europe are the birthplace of these Italian-made craft, but the love of them has spread all throughout the world.

Frederique Constant’s skills and style make it a good match for the boats designed by Carlo Riva. The Frederique Constant watches are also designed with the ideal of beautiful functionality. A boat is just a transport at heart, and a watch is just a timekeeper, but with love and attention they can both be so much more. Frederique Constant designs their watches with this commitment to not only precision and accuracy, but pride in presentation. The job will get done; but it’s also important how it’s presented. As Oscar Wilde once wrote, only a fool would not judge by appearances. And the brand recognizes that a fine touch and a loving hand will make a difference. A job beautifully executed is worth the effort, and in the end, the beauty and the function fuse to make a thing worth appreciating. I suspect that Frederique Constant and Carlo Riva both would have agreed.

There are two new timepieces added to the Runabout collection. These come in a 43mm case, one in stainless steel, and the other plated in rose gold. They have sapphire crystal case backs to allow you to view the watch movement, and etched in the crystal is the flag of the Riva Historical Society. The movements are FC-303 automatic calibers, assembled in the Frederique Constant manufacture.

The dials are either silvered or brown, and they feature a guilloche decoration, Arabic numerals, and luminescent hands and hour indices. All in all, the watches are a fine extension of a collection dedicated to a little piece of history. Each watch of this limited edition even comes with a little wooden Runabout power boat model.