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Smart and Mechanical

Frederique Constant’s new Hybrid Manufacture 3.0 melds electronic and mechanical features.

As one of the very first Swiss watchmakers to take the electronic smart watch seriously, Frederique Constant has been updating its Horological Smartwatch since 2015. That collection, which the company also expanded to its Alpina brand, adeptly combines app-based fitness and activity tracking with a classic Swiss watchcase and dial design. But within its traditional, screen-free, round case it remains a purely quartz/electronic affair.

This year the Geneva-based watch manufacturer is enlivening the interior of its silicon-chip smartwatch with an in-house mechanical watch caliber and then connecting the pair with newly developed technology it calls Caliber Analytics.

The resulting watch, dubbed the Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture 3.0, combines an automatic FC-750 caliber, which mechanically powers three-hand time and date functions, with an in-house electronic element. Frederique Constant has now attached the mechanical movement to the electronic element, programming the latter to monitor the watch’s mechanical and electronic functions as well as provide app-based activity tracking for the wearer.

Hybrid Manufacture-FC-750 showing both mechanical and electronic elements.

In other words, The Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture 3.0 is a true hybrid of traditional Swiss watchmaking and high-tech smartwatch technology.

According to Frederique Constant, one of the more pressing concerns it had while developing this hybrid was the potential effects the tiny amount of magnetic force emanating from the smartwatch portion of the watch could have on the timekeeping functions of the mechanical caliber. As you likely know, magnetism and micro-engineered watch components are mortal enemies.

The electronic components and the dial/case parts.

Led by head watchmaker Pim Koeslag, Frederique Constant’s technical team solved this potential problem by creating a solid anti-magnetic shield around the electronic components (see diagram).

How does it work?

The electronic portion of the Hybrid movement is enclosed in an anti-magnetic box (31 and 35).

All the basic timekeeping functions are set just as you’d expect from any three-hand automatic watch with a date. But using the Frederique Constant Hybrid App on any new smartphone allows the wearer to extend those functions just a bit. You’ll also be able to see a worldtimer (2nd time zone and local 24-hour time) and use a timer. Each of these will be visible on the counter at 12 o’clock as well as in the Hybrid App.

For the horlogically inclined, however, the new Hybrid App offers a gold mine of figures and facts about the performance of the automatic FC-750 caliber. The app’s newly devised Caliber Analytics function will measure the caliber’s rate, amplitude and beat error. Results are communicated to the Hybrid App via Bluetooth and can be seen in the form of graphs over time—not unlike reading taken by a watchmaker.

Frederique Constant's Hybrid Appscreen analytics

Once per day (at 4 a.m.) the Analytics function will analyze automatically (no requested action from the user) the health of the mechanical movement. Once analyzed, at the bottom of the screen a color-coded summary is displayed on the movement’s health check. Green means all is well and red means you may need to have the watch checked for service. If it appears that the mechanical caliber has an issue, you’ll get a notice via the app as well as through another cloud-based method of your choosing.

Frederique Constant's Hybrid Appscreen Display Settings

For those who also would like to use the Hybrid’s activity functions, the wearer need only press the pusher on the left side of the case to again choose from among the activity options, which include Activity/Sleep, Workouts, Chronometer, Powernap and Battery Indicator).

The Hybrid Manufacture is delivered with a wooden winder box with a removable charger for the electronic Smartwatch functionality and a winder rotating box that charges the mainspring in the mechanical caliber. The removable charger itself is mobile and can be taken out for traveling and used via a USB cable.

FC Hybrid Manufacture charger

Frederique Constant is offering four steel-cased versions of the 42mm Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture 3.0. Three feature dials with Roman numerals while a limited edition (of 888) offers only markers and a black dial rather than Roman numerals. One of the three models with Roman numerals and a silvered dial features a rose gold plated steel case. Prices range from $3,495 to $3,795 for the rose-gold-plated version.

Specifications: Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture 3.0.

CASE • Polished stainless steel 2-parts case; One model with rose-gold plate over steel.
• 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 activated 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

• Two with silver color and one with blue plus guilloché decoration and black printed indexes, and a limited edition model with one with dark grey dial
• Hand polished black, white or silver hands
• Date counter at 6 o’clock
• Connected counter at 12 o’clock

• Black alligator strap

• Hours, minutes, seconds, date by hand, connected counter

• Activity tracking
• Sleep monitoring
• Dynamic coach
• Worldtimer (2nd time zone + local 24h time)
• Analytics (Measure mechanical movement: Rate, Amplitude, Beat Error).
• Pusher settings (24h display, Worldtimer, Activity/Sleep, Workouts, Chronometer, Nap, Battery Indicator)

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