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Frédérique Constant is Keeping Up With the Times with the Horological Smartwatch

Le 5 February 2016

Even before it’s release, the Swiss manufacturer’s smartwatch intrigued us, and so we decided give it a go and check it out. Even though we often times openly criticize smartwatches, it’s always necessary to try out the product before such criticisms are uttered. Watches are kind of like music. It’s impossible to fully appreciate different musical compositions, be it a John Coltrane improvisation, a Wagner opera or Public Enemy flows, without a minimum of knowledge and education on the subject. That’s why we’re obliged today to make an effort and step outside the box…

Frererique Constant Horological Smartwatch

But first and foremost : playing around with fashion codes

Wearing a classic watch isn’t necessarily synonymous with being classic. Picture a long raw denim jacket, basketball shoes, edgy sunglasses… What better than a completely unconventional look to modernise the watch and make it pop?

The “smart” part of the watch

We open up the box, we discover the watch and… we’re lost. Thankfully, a manual filled with diagrams and large font takes us through each step of this discovery that has been throwing us off. Getting this smartwatch to work and most importantly, understanding how it works is a challenge for fervent defenders of traditional watchmaking. So let’s try to simplify all this.

Available on iPhone or Android, the app that pairs with this watch hybrid is smooth and user friendly. Once the watch and your phone are paired, all you need to do is enter simple data such as your sex, age, weight and daily activity and sleep objectives. The watch takes care of the rest and calculates whether you’ve reached your objectives or not based on the data it records each day while on your wrist.

Let’s quickly recap the connected functionalities of the watch :

  • exercise monitor (observed through a display window containing the evolution of your activity from 0 to 100%)
  • sleep monitor (observed through the same display window. Well, if you’re sleeping, there won’t be much tracking going on… but anyway…)

You can sync your progress to your smartphone for these two categories by double pressing the crown.

Along with those two features, there’s also:

  • time synchronisation with your smartphone in order to always have the correct local time, wherever you are in the world (sweet)
  • recording of the number of steps, calories burned and distance walked each day
  • recording of your sleep cycle information (deep sleep, REM sleep or awake)
  • a smart alarm: once the alarm is set on the application, the watch will wake you up on time or slightly before, whenever an optimal waking time is detected (really sweet)
  • a “get active” alert can be personalized in the app: for example, after every 60 minutes of inactivity, the watch will ring
  • smart coaching tips in order to improve your activity and especially your sleep cycles according to your inserted objectives
  • a data save in the cloud

A bevy of possibilities and features for this smartwatch which can be quite useful, notably the ones concerning sleep cycles (the ones that interest me the most and have in my opinion the greatest added value…).

I know what you’re thinking… but what about naps? Simple, there’s also the possibility to let your smartwatch know that a nap is scheduled via the application.

The important part now is not forgetting your phone charger somewhere, or else your watch would risk becoming “just” a watch again…

Now what about the watch itself ? 

What a pertinent question! What about the watch, amidst all this technology? Frédérique Constant hasn’t lost his watchmaking touch, thank goodness. And that’s the only reason why this watch is quite attractive in the end.

This model is made of an elegant rose gold-plated, two-part stainless steel case, 42mm wide and with convex sapphire glass. That looks like true watchmaking, right? It does indeed, and that’s not all!

The case is waterproof up to 50 meters, so no need to take it off (and lose precious data) when doing a few laps around the pool. The FC-285 quartz caliber has a nice two-year autonomy, which is really refreshing compared to other connected objects, many of them needing a daily charge.

The silver dial is dressed with classic and pleasant rose gold-plated roman numeral hour markers across which the leaf-styled hour and minute hands travel. At 6 o’clock, we find the unique display. At first glance, it can be mistaken for an old-fashioned date window or maybe a seconds indicator. De not be fooled, the display indeed shows the date, but more importantly tracks the advancement of your goals. Keep in mind that the watch is connected and that you’ve inserted your daily activity and sleep objectives. So there is an indicator, an activity indicator of sorts, which shows the percentage completed of your goals, whatever they may be.

It’s a very pretty display, with traditional Dauphine hands, one of them blued in order to adapt the type of activity you want to calculate. The technique: if the blued hand is on the date side, the watch will monitor your physical activity. Press the crown for 3 seconds and the hand will place itself on the moon crescent at 12 o’clock and track your sleep cycles.

The verdict :

A pretty finish and a classic and refined style for a smartwatch that doesn’t overdo it, and most importantly is a watch first, and a smartwatch second. No need to charge it and your smartphone dying won’t make your watch become instantly useless. We also like that a lot.

Concerning all the features, they’re connected enough to satisfy the interactive appetite of a young generation that isn’t used to wearing watches, and have enough functional utility to awaken the interest of some of my colleagues who are less open about the whole smartwatch idea… So all in all, a mostly positive experience! It must be said that being woken up gently in the morning followed by a checkup of the advancement of a certain inputted activity or sleep feature is much more useful than knowing the number of steps we walked today or answering a text message on a 3.5cm screen… But that’s just my humble opinion…

Frererique Constant Horological Smartwatch

… And if on top of it all, this Swiss manufacture version of a smartwatch will help your connected friends, young or old, to develop an interest in watchmaking and become aware of classic codes and beautiful finishes, leaf-style watch hands and detailed indexes, then thank you Frédérique Constant…