Introducing: The Frederique Constant Classic Power Reserve Big Date Manufacture
Frederique Constant is about Swiss craftsmanship within a value-driven price band that can inspire a new, younger clientele to value wristwatches. And with this new creation, the brand invites us into a world of complicated, asymmetric dial designs and some pretty impressive features. The Frederique Constant Classic Power Reserve Big Date Manufacture could very much have what it takes.
But this time, we are treated to a big step up in both materiality and complications as well as two of four models in precious metals. It is also the first time we see Frederique Constant catering to the top-tier collecting community with a limited 35-piece edition in platinum.
Frederique Constant Classic Power Reserve Big Date Manufacture — First impressions
What first catches your eye is the accomplished design that makes asymmetry balanced. Coming up with something like this is not an easy task. But with the Classic Power Reserve Big Date Manufacture, Frederique Constant does it while offering a lot of detail to distract you from the actual time. And therein lies its charm, both in the suave standard model with its dark blue dial and the two grail-like versions. Details that we are used to from Glashütte-based companies like Lange and Glashütte Original offer a charming package on a busy dial. And except for the pure pizzazz of a star-spangled moon phase, they are very useful. I know, if I were a surfer or fisherman, I’d appreciate the moon phase. I do now but on a purely aesthetical level.
A classic case with a charming crown
This watch series sees the debut of the new FC-735 caliber, the brand’s 31st manufacture movement. This is the first of those to offer the tantalizing mix of a split-window big date, moon phase, and a power reserve indicator, and I enjoy the look. We’ve seen the split-window big date before, and within this timeless reference, it works on many levels. The case itself is part of the Classic range, with a 40mm diameter and timeless proportions. It is a dressy proposition, but for me, the charm level is turned up by the big onion crown. Its round, wind-friendly shape works as a nice partner to the sleek case, and it’s got my attention. The case has been through a recent redesign. It now exhibits redimensioned lugs and a well-defined beveled profile to frame the four complex dials.
The standard models
In this new series of the Classic Power Reserve Big Date Manufacture, there are two rather nice standard models and two surprisingly top-tier grails. I do love a nice blue dial, and Frederique Constant has equipped the watch with a hand-sewn alligator strap, working its tonal charms with the sunray brushed blue. The applied indices have become slightly elongated and match well up to the sleek spear hands. But what pops out immediately is the brash double window between 2 and 3 o’clock. Some might find its crisp white background disturbing, but this is why I love it. It’s a quirky focal point with big functionality.
The rest of the dial is the ABC of symmetry. There’s a gorgeous light blue moon phase above 6 o’clock and a big, arc-shaped power reserve indicator for after you leave this suave number in your wardrobe for sportier activities. The silvery-white version makes for a calmer dial mix, leaning more toward classicism with its crisp, reserved style. Both of these standard versions will retail for €4,795 and make for a difficult choice
The grails in precious metals
This is where the new Classic Power Reserve Big Date Manufacture knocks on the door of some serious collectors. It’s hard not to get blown away by the deep navy-blue meteorite dial of the platinum version. Sure, this is vastly over the budget for most FC clients. But can it be good enough to move the brand up to another tier in the Swiss game? With a dial made from material older than Earth and a fully polished platinum case, it’s got all the prerequisites for grail success, even at €25,995. Its glitzy brother, available for 350 select customers, is the rose gold version with a dark gray dial. This color, as opposed to black, works exceedingly well with the warm gold, and at €17,995, this version makes for a rather suave dress companion. With the complex automatic in-house caliber, the prices are high for a Constant, but in the grand scheme of things, they represent value when compared to the established big guns.
Is there a massive gap in price between the two timeless base models and the precious metal elegance? Yes, there is, but the Frederique Constant Classic Power Reserve Big Date Manufacture will appeal to two very different audiences. I have faith. But we’ll see if the ADs and marketing department manage to mark the two distinct tiers, as the platinum version certainly has the eye-catching details in place. And even with this close-to-€30K version, my favorite big date window remains fresh and white. And to be honest, under €26,000 represents good value for a platinum multi-complication piece. That is irrefutable.
What do you think, Fratelli? Has the Frederique Constant Classic Power Reserve Big Date Manufacture got what it takes? It needs to capture the €20K–30K audience with the platinum version, but is that a big ask? Let me know in the comments, and find more information on the Frederique Constant website.