Geneva Watch Days: Hands-On with Frederique Constant’s New Classic Power Reserve Big Date Manufacture
Frederique Constant’s latest elegant timepiece, which packs its 31st in-house-developed calibre, boasts a trio of complications that, until last week, was unprecedented in the Geneva brand’s collection.
Known for its classically styled dials and cases, as well as its in-house developed movements, packaged together at a fair price point, Frederique Constant unveiled yet another belter at Geneva Watch Days last week with the launch of a brand-new timepiece, the Classic Power Reserve Big Date Manufacture.
As its name implies, this new addition to the brand’s Manufacture line-up boasts power reserve and big date displays, which are neatly balanced out on the dial by a poetic moonphase indication – the first time the watchmaker has combined these three complications.
Powered by the new, in-house-developed automatic calibre FC-735 (the company’s 31st manufacture movement), all the indications are presented on a clean, harmoniously laid-out dial – as you would expect from Frederique Constant – framed by a universally wearable 40mm round case.
To cater to varying tastes and budgets, the Plan-les-Ouates outfit – which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year – has released the Power Reserve Big Date in four different editions: a 35-piece platinum limited edition with navy blue meteorite dial, a 350-piece limited run with rose gold case and anthracite dial, and two more accessibly priced non-limited polished steel editions, with either a blue or silvered sun brushed dial.
Design-wise, the Citizen Watch Co.-owned brand has got the Classic Power Reserve Big Date Manufacture spot on, with the 50-hour power reserve indicator displayed on a railroad arc at 9 o’clock, big date in a double window between 2 and 3 o’clock, and the moonphase indication featuring a starry blue background at 6 o’clock. All of which is arranged around a central hour, minute, and second hands.
For a touch of finesse, the slim applied hour markers and hour and minute hands are diamond-faceted and hand-polished, while the three-part case, which hits a sweet-spot diameter of 40mm, benefits from the brand’s recent design revamp, including re-dimensioned lugs and contours.
Meanwhile, the transparent caseback affords views of the new calibre FC-735, including a gilded winding rotor, a perlage-finished balance wheel recess, and a mainplate decorated with circular Geneva waves.
On top of the winning aesthetic, the Power Reserve Big Date has been designed for supreme ease of use. As such, the trio of complications plus a time-setting function are all adjusted using the easy-to-grip onion crown at 3 o’clock, eschewing the need for pushers, correctors, and the like.
Dressy yet Contemporary
Of course, all four versions of the Classic Power Reserve Big Date Manufacture strike a dressy yet contemporary tone, but their prices vary wildly depending on the model. That is because each is priced according to the rarity of the materials used and number of pieces available.
At the highest end of the price range, the 35-piece meteorite-dialed limited edition costs $27,995. The second most expensive model is the 350-piece limited edition made from rose gold, which lists for $19,995. Meanwhile, both of the non-limited steel editions, whether with a blue or silver dial, have an impressively accessible price tag of only $4,995.
Lastly, the new Classic Power Reserve Big Date Manufacture is delivered on a blue alligator leather strap, except for the rose gold version. That model comes on a brown alligator strap.
As you can see from our hands-on pics, the silver-dialed steel edition is a real looker on the wrist, representing fantastic value for a sub-$5,000 dress watch.
And while it is $23,000 more expensive than the steel editions, the platinum version’s price is justified by the superb execution of the meteorite dial. For example, the intersecting bands of nickel-iron crystal, known as Widmanstätten patterns, are pronounced enough to catch the eye but not so busy as to detract from the dial’s overall sobriety. Its blue tone also really hits the spot.
Moreover, technically, each meteorite-patterned dial will be unique. Therefore, each platinum Power Reserve Big Date will be unique, though, to its credit, it’s not an aspect that the brand has tried to play up in its promotion of the watch.
For more information, please visit the Frederique Constant website.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)