The Frederique Constant Classic Date Manufacture

Watches and Wonders: Frederique Constant Unveils Enticing Updates to Its Manufacture Collection

With six attractive dial colors, all-new in-house movements with a 72-hour power reserve, and a 5-year warranty, Frederique Constant’s releases from Geneva this week strike at the heart of the brand’s core collection.

By Henri Lee

Geneva-based Frederique Constant has been firing on all cylinders lately, showcasing high-end complications, like skeletonized perpetual calendars and tourbillons with meteorite dials.

Now, at Watches and Wonders 2024, the brand’s momentum continues as its focus once again turns to Frederique Constant’s foundational Manufacture collection with the release of the new Classic Moonphase Date Manufacture and the new Classic Date Manufacture.

Available in a variety of new dial colors and driven by innovative new movements, let’s now explore the delightful specifics.

A Brief History

Founded in Switzerland in 1988 and now part of Citizen Holdings of Japan, Frederique Constant operates a 6,200m² facility in Geneva and aims to produce the highest quality luxury watches while keeping the price points accessible.

Since 2004, Frederique Constant has developed about 30 in-house movements, including all prevailing complications, such as world timers, chronographs (standard and flyback), tourbillons, and perpetual calendars. And the brand does this via its three collections: the Manufacture, the Highlife, and the Classics.

While the Highlife Collection encompasses sporty watches with integrated bracelets, and the Classics Collection focuses on elegant and classic designs, the Manufacture Collection is the brand’s most prestigious and technologically advanced range.

The two new models unveiled today are part of the Manufacture collection.

The Classic Moonphase Date Manufacture

The new Classic Moonphase Date Manufacture stands as the cornerstone model of the collection, offering a dress watch suitable for both formal occasions and daily wear. Its updated aesthetics embody a classic elegance destined to endure the passage of time.

There are three enchanting dial colors from which to choose: an elegant silver-gray, a deep midnight blue, and British racing green, with the silver- and blue-dialed version coming on navy blue alligator leather straps and the green iteration coming on a color-matched strap of the same material.

The sunray finish used on all of the dials gleams under light, captivating the eye with its allure. Plus, sculpted hour markers, cut with precision, and hand-polished hands contribute to a refined and uncluttered dial, which is devoid of Roman or Arabic numerals.

Undoubtedly, the focal point of the dial is the moonphase and date sub-dial. Combining the Gregorian calendar and the basis of a lunar calendar, it offers a practical yet whimsical feature. The indicator displays the new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, last quarter, and waning crescent over a 29.5-day period.

While the moonphase complication adds a touch of charm for most wearers, it holds practical value for fishermen and ocean swimmers, aiding in the estimation of high tide times. By multiplying 0.8 by the lunar date, tied to the moon phase, one can estimate the time of high tides, which occur twice daily. Low tides typically follow six hours before or after high tides. For instance, during a full moon, which indicates a lunar date of 15, high tides are expected at noon and midnight.

The stainless steel case of the Classic Moonphase Date Manufacture measures 40mm in diameter, which is slightly smaller than its predecessor. With an anti-reflective convex sapphire crystal, the watch has a thickness of 12.40mm and water resistance of up to 50 meters. Combined with its three striking dial options and all-new FC-716 movement, this slimmer profile underscores a rare value proposition that is hard to beat.

The All New Caliber FC-716

The FC-716 is the latest member of the calibre family based on the base FC-700, which came out in 2009. And compared to the last generation calibres, the FC-716 consists of several major upgrades.

First, the power reserve has been increased to 72 hours, almost doubling the previous autonomy time. This was achieved by accommodating a bigger barrel.

New decorations were also used on the movement, such as the fan-shaped côtes de Genève, which replaces the previous circular decorations and stands out compared to the more common Geneva stripes.

Lastly, this state-of-the-art calibre is well constructed, leading to an expanded 5-year warranty.

The Classic Date Manufacture

Also unveiled at Watches and Wonders is a new entry-level addition to the collection, the Classic Date Manufacture. And like its sibling with a moonphase indicator, this model shines with all the enhancements in the dial design and movement construction.

Furthermore, adorning the sunray dials are three new colors: a vibrant salmon, a sleek black, and a radiant silver, each instilling the watches with unique personalities.

Of course, salmon-colored dials have recently gained popularity among watch aficionados seeking a contemporary aesthetic. Meanwhile, the black dial exudes formal sophistication, and the silver dial offers versatile daily wear options, complementing various outfits effortlessly.

Driving the Classic Date Manufacture is the new FC-706 in-house movement, boasting a remarkable 72-hour power reserve and a 5-year warranty. The exquisite perlage and fan-shaped Côtes de Genève decorations adorn the movement, visible through the skeletonized gold-toned rotor.

Pricing & Availability

The Classic Moonphase Date Manufacture with either a blue or silver dial is priced at CHF 3,895, while the Classic Date Manufacture is priced at CHF 3,295. And with their appealing aesthetics and top-notch movements, these novelties present fantastic choices for watch enthusiasts seeking timeless Swiss craftsmanship.

For further details, please visit the Frederique Constant website.

(Images © Frederique Constant)

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