Classical Horology Meets Smart Technology
1 March, 2021
In 2015, Frederique Constant blazed the trail among Swiss watchmakers with the introduction of its first Horological Smartwatch. While other luxury watch brands have joined the fray since then, Frederique Constant has strived to remain on the cutting edge of the connected-watch category. The latest evidence came with the launch of the new Hybrid Manufacture, the first timepiece with an in-housemade mechanical movement with smartwatch functionality. Frederique Constant refers to the new timepiece – which is available in four references, all in 42-mm steel cases – as “Watch 3.0,” both because it represents the next step up technologically from the “2.0” models that debuted in 2016, and because of its trio of standout aspects – its smartwatch functionality; the fact that the movement, including the electronic parts, are made entirely in house at the company’s manufacture in Geneva; and its addition of a new “Caliber Analytics” function, a built-in algorithm that monitors and displays the movement’s rate, amplitude and beat error on a smartphone screen via the Hybrid app. Frederique Constant’s Hybrid is a connected watch with a mechanical heart. Frederique Constant’s Hybrid Manufacture Caliber FC-750, which the company says is developed, produced and assembled entirely in house, is at its base level an automatic winding caliber with a 28,800-vph frequency, 33 jewels and a 42-hour power reserve, with traditional haute horlogerie decorations including perlage and côtes de Genève. The watch’s main timekeeping functions – central hours, minutes, seconds, and date at 6 o’clock – are driven entirely by the mechanical components, and set by the crown at 3 o’clock. The electronic parts of the movement control the array of smartwatch functions, via Bluetooth, through a pusher on the left side of the case. As with previous iterations of the Horological Smartwatch, these functions’ readouts are visible both in analog form on the watch’s 12 o’clock subdial and in digital form on the Hybrid app. The challenge, according to the brand, of creating such a movement was in avoiding the negative effects of magnetic fields of the electronic parts and the mechanical ones – one that Frederique Constant met by designing a patented antimagnetic shield case around the minuscule electronic gearbox. The dial has a bi-compax arrangement, with the date, displayed by a pointer on a 1-31 scale, on the subdial at 6 o’clock, and the smartwatch functions represented in analog form on the subdial at 12 o’clock. These functions include activity tracking, sleep monitoring, a worldtime display and a “dynamic coach,” which digitally prompts the wearer to set and achieve fitness goals. In addition, the Hybrid features the aforementioned Caliber Analytics, which automatically analyzes, once per day at 4:00 a.m., the health of the mechanical movement. The watch is delivered in a wooden winder box that has a removable charger for the smartwatch functions (which have a seven-day battery life) and a traditional rotator to wind the movement’s mainspring. The charger can be removed and connected to a standard USB cable to charge the watch. The watch is offered in four versions. Two have polished stainless-steel cases with a silver- colored or a navy blue guilloché dial. The third has a rosegold-plated case with a silvered guilloché dial. A fourth, limited to 888 pieces, features a dark gray guilloché dial with silver applied indexes and luminouscoated silver hands. All have sapphire exhibition casebacks to show off the groundbreaking hybrid movement. Prices range from $3,495 to $3,795.