It’s kind of odd that 24-hour dial watches are a rarity. Sure, in the US, we say X am or X pm, but globally, many countries use the 24-clock as a reference. Moreover, unless your watch has a secondary 24-hour complication or an am/pm indicator, the latter of which is rarer still, a 12-hour dial does nothing to indicate what part of the day you are in! Yes, you could look outside, but what if that wasn’t an option? What if you were in a cave? Or underwater? Or in a casino with no windows? The point is, 24-hour dials get around this issue by design. Oh, and for those of us who are all-to-used to 12-hour time, when traveling a 24-hour reference is incredibly helpful.
Well, if you find yourself aching for time on the 24-hour scale, you’ll be excited to see Frederique Constants’ newest offering, the Classics Automatic 24HR. Based on a line of, as you likely guess, classically inspired watches that seem to mix a little bit of everything into admittedly handsome packages, the new 24HR model takes a decidedly sportier approach.
At 43mm with lumed Alpha hands, the 24HR seems a bit more like it belongs in the Alpina collection than Frederique Constant, but is very handsome nevertheless. In addition to an appealing Clou de Paris texture, the dial features applied markers at cardinal positions and contrasting printed indexes that imbue an overall technical feel. The standout detail is the printed 24-hr index, which is positioned on a ring of contrasting brushed metal. The hands perfectly align with the inner ring and outer index in a satisfying manner. Missing is a date window, which is a bit of surprise given the travel-ready implications of the 24-hr watch.
Overall, it’s a very appealing design that plays off of vintage gentleman’s sport-watches while not feeling like retro pastiche. The textured dial, in particular, brings to mind the honey-combed watches of the mid-twentieth century. While a bit on the large side for my tastes, a handsome, 24-hr dial watch that can be used for travel, business or just as an everyday piece would be welcome in many collections.
Powering the Classics Automatic 24HR is the FC-332 (rebadged Sellita or ETA), automatic caliber with 24h function, 38-hour power reserve, 26 jewels, 28’800 bph. The watch will be available in Silver or Dark Gray for $1,195, which isn’t a bad deal at all. Frederique Constant