Previously sold only in an impressively oversized stainless steel case more than 45 millimeters in diameter and over 11 millimeters thick, the 2010 Ebel Classic Hexagon Retrograde Power Reserve is finally available in a lot more expensive 18-karat rose gold body of the same dimensions. From where I sit, the move seems risky given the relatively low market strength of Ebel as a brand (I wonder how many wealthy customers will be ready to part with more than €15,000 to get one of these,) but something tells me that the decision-makers at the Swiss watchmaking brand probably have a dissenting opinion on this matter.
Anyway, let’s try to get down to reviewing this new specimen.
Designed primarily as a dressy timekeeper with a nice sporty aura about it, the Hexagon Retrograde Power Reserve tries to pack the best of both worlds into its expensive hexagonal body.
Measuring 45.40 millimeters in width (the winding/setting crown not included,) it takes the better part of your wrist’s width, yet, measuring just 11.20 mm from sapphire top to sapphire bottom, makes it comfortable if you plan to wear it with a formal suit. Despite its relative thinness, the inside of the rose gold case still leaves enough space for the Soprod 9094 automatic movement, which is based on the well-known ETA 2892 but includes a retrograde date and power reserve complication module.
Successfully combining a satin-finished body (bear in mind that keeping the finish in good shape may be a bit problematic since it’s not as easy to repair a scratched satin-treated surface than a normal polished one) with polished bezel and screws, the Hexagon Retrograde Power Reserve looks dressy and refined. Especially, with the brown leather strap that almost reaches the bezel, gently hugging the wrist and making the case look less massive.
Okay, the five screws on the frontal part of the body leave somewhat mixed impressions, since you usually expect this kind of design from sportier, more “technocratic” watches.
Also, I don’t understand whether the screws serve any functional purpose or are here just for decoration. I guess the latter is true: Ebel’s designers probably simply wanted to emphasize the unusual hexagonal shape of its body.
The main problem here is the unbalanced dial. While in most cases a face with the deliberately asymmetrical layout of sub-dials usually gives the dial an interesting, eye-catching appearance, the way this one is done makes it look somewhat silly.
The day of week indicator at 9 o’clock has a rose gold rim and is “heavy” compared to the retrograde date indicator at 3 o’clock, drawing to0 much attention to itself. Consider this a personal opinion, but they really should have turned the date display 90 degrees clockwise moving the scale closer to the Hexagon’s center of visual gravity and give it a more, um, sober appearance.
With the way the indicators are positioned now, the face looks like that of drunken Kung Fu Panda that is about to take a beating of a lifetime. I mean, seriously: just look at it for a second. Yet, like the same animated character, the gadget is extremely likable even despite (or, perhaps, because of) its apparent flaws.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Ebel Classic Hexagon Retrograde Power Reserve specification
Price range: $17,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Soprod 9094 (base caliber ETA 2892), automatic, Swiss Made
Functions & Complications: Hours, minutes, seconds, day of the week, power reserve, retrograde date
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: 18K-750 4N rose gold, satin-finished
Transparent back: Yes, sapphire crystal
Size: 45.40 mm
Case height: 11.20 mm
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Hand-stitched brown alligator leather strap, Ebel pin buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective