Last night in New York City, Frederique Constant unveiled a timepiece that they dubbed as a “revolution” in the Swiss watch industry. Personally, I think “unprecedented” is a more apt description.
Basically, the Swiss-based company has taken one of their signature 42 mm steel cases, with a traditional analog watch dial, and one of their in-house automatic mechanical calibers, and merged it with an electronic assortment that consists of an electronic step motor, printed circuit board, Bluetooth antenna, accelerometer, analytics module, and a 3V rechargeable battery.
The result is a mechanical timepiece that has smartwatch type functions such as activity and sleep tracking, which are viewable via a smartphone using the custom-built app.
Interestingly, in addition to past traditional watches with smart functions that the company has launched, thanks to the analytics module, the watch can also measure the beat rate, amplitude, and beat error of the mechanical movement.
The launch of the Hybrid Manufacture FC-750 caliber is an interesting achievement for sure. However, at the end of the day, the watch requires a smartphone to view the different tracking functions as the dial of the watch does not have a touchscreen. For those looking for a traditional looking, and functioning watch, but that also want to track an array of things such as sleep, and the functions of the mechanical watch, this may be the ticket.
Of course, one of the best functions of a full-featured smartwatch is its touchscreen which allows viewing and control of the smart functions, often without needing a smartphone nearby. This could be something they add in the future I suppose, but for now, you don’t get a screen.
As a watch enthusiast, the element that I like the most about the new Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture is the ability to track the beat rate and amplitude of the mechanical movement. That is just cool. The part that would irk me the most, is that a way to use the automatic rotor to power the rechargeable battery (think Seiko Kinetic) has not been achieved, at least yet. So you’ll have to charge the battery every 7 days to use the smart tracking functions.
Retail prices range from $3,495 to $3,795 for the four variations.
Learn more at Frederique Constant.