Double Take: Frederique Constant Manufacture Heart Beat (Hands-On)

Frederique Constant Manufacture Heart Beat 3 - PerpetuelleIn a short span of only 20 years, Frederique Constant has come remarkably close to becoming a full-fledged manufacture for each and every one of its watches. Slowly but surely, the brand has supplemented existing production, which was initially based heavily upon ETA calibers, with works of art coveted by the watch community—that is, exclusive and lavishly decorated proprietary movements available at a reasonable price.

Many Frederique Constant models fare well next to the competition, but their manufacture collection presents a particularly fantastic value proposition. Much like Nomos, a brand revered for design prowess, integration, and innovation, Frederique Constant boasts similar achievements, though in a slightly different way. The brand dabbles in legitimate haute horology, for instance, through tourbillions, with clean design language and limited production numbers to boot. And, predictably, those carry a hefty price, but fear not; the tourbillons are merely a way to demonstrate dexterity and R&D as a relatively young brand, as technology and design trickles down to more affordable watches.

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The First Swiss Smartwatch Announced by Frederique Constant, Alpina and Mondaine, Powered by MotionX

Frederique Constant Swiss Horological Smartwatch with app - Perpetuelle

And so the Swiss battle for a claim of the “smart watch” market officially begins.  Though many were expecting the the first luxury Swiss-made smart watch to come from the Swatch Group or TAG Heuer (LVMH), it was announced this evening in San Francisco that Frederique Constant, Alpina, and Mondaine will be the first to market (ten models avail. June 2015) with what is being termed a Swiss Horological Smartwatch (more on this not-so-attractive term, below).  The Swiss Smartwatches (as I will refer to them) are born out of a new joint venture know as MMT (Manufacture Modules Technologies) headquartered in Geneva.

There are a lot of interesting elements to this announcement — and no doubt a lot of fierce opinion on the overall merits of it all.  As for me — well, I’ll tick through the deal, the pluses, and the minuses, below.

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The New Frederique Constant Worldtimer Manufacture “Blue”

Frederique Constant Worldtimer Manufacture Blue Caliber - Perpetuelle

This year, Geneva-based Frederique Constant will introduce a gorgeous new model in its Worldtimer Manufacture series.  As a brand that has invested and grown its way into a full blown manufacture over the last 10-15 years, Frederique Constant is well known for its classical and refined timepieces at sensible prices, even amongst its “manufacture” range.  This new reference in the Worldtime really stands out, thanks to its vibrant navy blue dial and anthracite grey world map.

42mm x steel case

Frederique Constant Worldtimer Manufacture Blue - Perpetuelle

This model is driven by the FC-718 Manufacture automatic caliber, completely developed in-house.  The mechanical genius of this caliber is that all functions are easily accessible through the crown, there are no extra push buttons sticking out on the sides of the case.  It is operated simply by selecting the desired city and placing it at the 12’oclock position on the dial.   Once the internal discs are synchronized, you will know what time it is in any of the various cities of the world. Furthermore, these discs also indicate if it’s the day, with the white disc or if it’s the night, with the blue disc.   There is a date aperture at 6’oclock.  It’s an elegantly executed complication at a relatively attractive price (I suspect it will price similarly to other worldtimer models (around 3,500 CHF).  I like it.

Frederique Constant Worldtimer Manufacture Blue theme - Perpetuelle


You can see the entire Frederique Constant Worldtimer collection right here>>>


Frederique Constant Classics Slimline Automatic

Frederique Consant Classics Slimline Automatic Collection

Last week was a big week for high-end watches here at Perpetuelle.  We featured numerous incredible pieces, including the first openworked dial from FP Journe, an insanely gorgeous (and ultra-exclusive) cloissoné enamel dial from Laurent Ferrier, some cloissoné dialed watches by Ulysse Nardin, a hands-on review of the RL67 tourbillon by Ralph Lauren, and yes even a one-of-a-kind solid gold “007 Goldfinger” Omega.  But let’s be real — these are rare and expensive watches that most can only dream of owning, let alone seeing in person.

So to start things off this week I’m going share with you a pair of new pieces from Frederique Constant, a brand known for delivering lots of watch for the money.
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