It seems, at least to my informal surveys on the topic, that smart watches are rather a polarizing sort of a watch. There are those who just love them (as evidenced by the number of Apple Watches that I see around my office) while others (myself included) just do not see a good use case for them. Frederique Constant has had a few iterations now of looking to make a smart watch that looked more like a traditional watch (classic lines, analog dial, etc). Now, with their third iteration, the Frederique Constant Hybrid Smart Watch, things are going in a decidedly more interesting direction.
What is interesting here on the Frederique Constant Hybrid Smart Watch is the ‘hybrid’ part of the name. What it means is that you’ve got a traditional movement (in this case, an automatic mechanical, rather than the quartz in their previous models) paired up to a smartwatch module. In other words, when FC was bought last year, MMT did not stand still (and they are actually still independent, I believe). This is an approach that, well, just makes sense. So long as you can shield the movement from any electrical fields the “smarts” might be putting out, well, why not?
On the mechanical side of the equation, the Frederique Constant Hybrid Smart Watch definitely has got some chops. The FC-750 movement is considered to be in-house developed, produced, and assembled. Along with the automatic rotor, you’ve got the main time and date functions, as well as a 42 hour power reserve; you’ll be able to see the decoration and rotor on the movement via the exhibition case back.
On the other side of the movement powering the Frederique Constant Hybrid Smart Watch is where you’ve got the electronics wizardry. Along with all of the normal activity and sleep tracking info you’d expect, there are some additional tricks coming along. For starters, you’ve got a world timer function. Even more interesting are the bits that tell you what’s going on with the mechanical movement (rate, amplitude, and beat error). That is a nice bit of functionality getting packed into a pretty classic-looking watch.
As you might suspect, all the capabilities require a battery. While previous smart watches from Frederique Constant have not needed to be charged (they relied on standard coin cells), the Frederique Constant Hybrid Smart Watch does indeed need to be charged. Fortunately, the specs call out a 7-day battery life, so it won’t be an every-day thing.
Then again, you might, since the brand also came up with a clever watch winder and charger for the Frederique Constant Hybrid Smart Watch. Pop the watch in, let it wind the movement up, as well as charge up the power pack. Not too shabby. Oh, and if you want to travel, the charging bit can be taken out and be powered on a standard usb connection.
All in all, there’s a lot packed into here, and I think that the Frederique Constant Hybrid Smart Watch is a great next step for the line. All of this innovation doesn’t come cheaply, though. The line starts out at $3,495, then there’s a LE model that hits at $3,595, and finally there’s the range topper in rose gold at $3,795. Yes, that’s a lot to pay for a connected watch, but for a Swiss (though Japanese-owned by Citizen) luxury watch with an in-house movement, it doesn’t sound too crazy. One hopes though, at those prices, that some R&D went into the app, as that has been a weak point in the prior models. All in all, I like what I see, and I think it’s good to see FC continuing to try and push these connected watches in other directions. frederique-constant.com
Tech Specs from Frederique Constant
- Case Polished stainless steel 3-parts case, diameter of 42 mm
- Convex sapphire crystal
- See-through case back
- Water-resistant to 5 ATM
- FC-750 Manufacture Hybrid caliber, automatic with date adjustable by crown and connected counter adjustable by pusher
- Perlage & Circular Côtes de Genève decoration on the movement
- 33 jewels, 42 hours power reserve, 28’800 alt/h
- 7+ days battery life
- Decoration guilloché and silver applied indexes
- Hand polished silver hands with white luminous
- Date counter at 6 o’clock
- Connected counter at 12 o’clock
- Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date by hand, connected counter
- Connected functions
- Activity tracking
- Sleep Tracking
- Dynamic coach
- Worldtimer (2nd time zone + local 24h time)
- Analytics (Measure mechanical movement : Rate, Amplitude, Beat Error)
- Pusher settings (24h display | Battery indicator | Chronometer | Worldtimer |Activity/Sleep | Workouts | Nap)