For Frederique Constant, which has been a disruptor in horology, innovation is in its DNA.
For years, it has been offering watches with decorations that are far more lavish than their price tags suggest.
It was back in 2015 that the brand debuted the Horological Smartwatch, which tracks sleep patterns, counts steps taken, among others.
The second generation was launched last year with added benefits of displaying call and text message notifications.
These models took a hybrid approach shared by many who tried to bridge the traditional and the smart.
Fitting a quartz movement with some electronics for its “connected” characteristic, some lamented the perceived half-baked execution.
A universally approved implementation seemed elusive.
One of the most glaring visual differences between a quartz watch and a mechanical watch is the motion of the second hand.
The smooth sweep of the second hand on a mechanical watch evokes a sense of tranquillity and is curiously hypnotising like when one gazes at Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.
Some quartz watches do exhibit this quality such as Bulova’s Lunar Pilot Chronograph, but these remain exceptions rather than the rule.
That, however, is fundamentally transformed by Frederique Constant with the Hybrid Manufacture.
The brand dubs it the “world’s first 3.0 watch”.
The breakthrough comes from the in-house Hybrid Manufacture FC-750 calibre that boasts equal parts automatic and electronic.
The Hybrid Manufacture is very much the first to evolve to form its own subspecies.
There is the automatic movement that provides a sweeping second hand as well as the electronic counterpart that communicates with the smartphone via Bluetooth.
It has a gold rotor like an automatic watch, yet it has a built-in accelerometer that keeps count of your daily activities.
On the one hand, it has a mainspring that stores 42 hours of power reserve when fully wound, on the other hand, it has a rechargeable battery that powers the circuit board.
Devising a complex calibre like this wasn’t without its challenges.
One of the primary concerns was how these two halves would interfere with each other magnetically.
To solve the conundrum, an anti-magnetic shield case was fitted to the movement to nullify the negative magnetic effects.
Another solution to charging the watch both mechanically and electronically was to provide a charger that does both.
The Hybrid Manufacture is delivered with a wooden winder box equipped with a built-in removable charger and a watch winder that rotates to wind the mainspring.
The watch’s Breguet-inspired hands and the date are driven by its automatic movement.
The sub-dial that bisects the Roman numerals of one and 11 showcases its smarts.
Syncing the watch via Bluetooth with the proprietary Hybrid App, currently limited to Apple’s iPhone, is done by pressing the push button on the left side of the watch case.
Select an activity such as walking and set the objective such as the number of steps, the sub-dial will indicate progress in percentage.
On top of that, you can also set a second time zone with ease through your smartphone.
The calibre performs its own diagnosis whereby the mechanical movement is analysed and the result is subsequently displayed in the Hybrid App, including rate, amplitude and beat errors, as well as if you are required to send the watch for servicing.
A total of four 42mm variants were launched but only one is a limited edition.
The FC-750DG4H6, differentiated by its dark grey dial, is produced in 888 pieces.
The other two stainless steel models, one has a navy dial, while the other has a silvery dial.
The final model is rose gold plated.