Wearables

Mechanical and smartwatch design come together in Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture

Mechanical and smartwatch desi...
The Hybrid Manufacture and app
The Hybrid Manufacture and app
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The Hybrid Manufacture electronic module in exploded view
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The Hybrid Manufacture electronic module in exploded view
Movement showing the electronics module
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Movement showing the electronics module
Movement showing the rotor
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Movement showing the rotor
The Hybrid Manufacture combines mechanical and digital electronic components
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The Hybrid Manufacture combines mechanical and digital electronic components
Hybrid app activity monitor
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Hybrid app activity monitor
Hybrid app watch analytics
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Hybrid app watch analytics
Hybrid app knowledge base
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Hybrid app knowledge base
Hybrid app coach graph
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Hybrid app coach graph
Hybrid app activity graph
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Hybrid app activity graph
Hybrid app sleep graph
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Hybrid app sleep graph
Hybrid app settings page
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Hybrid app settings page
Hybrid app activity monitor
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Hybrid app activity monitor
The Hybrid app 
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The Hybrid app 
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Hybrid app world time
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Hybrid app world time
Hybrid app world time selection
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Hybrid app world time selection
The Hybrid Manufacture disassembled
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The Hybrid Manufacture disassembled
The Hybrid Manufacture and app
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The Hybrid Manufacture and app
The Hybrid Manufacture 
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The Hybrid Manufacture 
The Hybrid Manufacture rotor box
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The Hybrid Manufacture rotor box
The Hybrid Manufacture FC-750DG4H6
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The Hybrid Manufacture FC-750DG4H6
The Hybrid Manufacture FC-750MC4H4
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The Hybrid Manufacture FC-750MC4H4
The Hybrid Manufacture FC-750MC4H6
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The Hybrid Manufacture FC-750MC4H6
The Hybrid Manufacture FC-750MCN4H6
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The Hybrid Manufacture FC-750MCN4H6
The Hybrid Manufacture combines conventional and smartwatch features
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The Hybrid Manufacture combines conventional and smartwatch features
The Hybrid Manufacture has an automatic movement
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The Hybrid Manufacture has an automatic movement
The Hybrid Manufacture in rose gold
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The Hybrid Manufacture in rose gold
The Hybrid Manufacture is available in a number of variants
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The Hybrid Manufacture is available in a number of variants
The Hybrid Manufacture in stainless steel
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The Hybrid Manufacture in stainless steel
The Hybrid Manufacture has a basic analog dial
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The Hybrid Manufacture has a basic analog dial
The Hybrid Manufacture with blue dial
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The Hybrid Manufacture with blue dial
The front and back of the caliber
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The front and back of the caliber

If you can't decide between an upmarket luxury watch and a smartwatch, Swiss watchmaker Frederique Constant is splitting the difference with its new Hybrid Manufacture. Unlike previous attempts to combine the digital and conventional in a wristwatch, the Hybrid Manufacture places an emphasis on classical watchmaking principles by integrating digital circuitry directly with the mechanical movement.

When the first quartz wristwatches were marketed in 1969, Switzerland was the dominant watch manufacturer holding solidly to 50 percent of the world market in all price ranges. Though a Swiss consortium and Seiko were behind the development of the quartz watch technology so familiar today, only a handful of Swiss firms took more than a mild interest in making and selling the new timepieces.

The sad result of this was that the watch market was flooded with increasingly sophisticated, accurate, and (above all) dirt cheap quartz watches from the United States, Hong Kong, and Japan, which precipitated what was called the "quartz crisis." By 1983, the Swiss watch industry had imploded with companies closing and consolidating at an alarming rate, and the survivors only holding on thanks to massive government subsidies.

Eventually, the Swiss managed to pull through by inventing the inexpensive fashion watch market and investing hard in very high-end luxury watches costing well into six figures. Now, smartwatches are on the scene and though the jury is still out as to whether they'll really catch on, some watchmakers are keen to avoid making the same mistake of underestimating a new potential threat.

The front and back of the caliber
The front and back of the caliber

There have been a number of attempts to blend the mechanical and smartwatch, but these have been more like smartwatches with some mechanics thrown in or clumsy add-ons. The Hybrid Manufacture takes a new tack. Outside, it looks like a fairly conventional watch with the basic functions of recording hours, minutes, seconds, and date, but inside Frederique Constant's FC-750 caliber includes an electronic module specially shielded to prevent magnetic interference between the electronic and the mechanical.

The electronics are connected to the Hybrid app via a Bluetooth transceiver activated by the watch's pusher. This acts as the control and readout for they watch's smart functions that include activity tracking, sleep monitoring, analytics to keep the mechanical movement accurate, a world time function, dynamic coach, and battery monitor. The analytics function is automatic and at 4:00 am each day it analyzes the watch's oscillations to measure its rate, amplitude, and beat error, which are displayed as graphs on the app or as an alert if it detects a fault.

The Hybrid Manufacture FC-750DG4H6
The Hybrid Manufacture FC-750DG4H6

The Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture FC-750 automatic.28,800 vph caliber has Perlage & Circular Côtes de Genève decoration on the movement, 33 jewels, and a 42-hour power reserve. The rechargeable electronics module has a seven-day battery life. It's packed in a 42-mm case available in polished two- or three-part stainless steel or three-part rose gold with a convex sapphire case and see-through back water resistant to 5 ATM (50 m, 164 ft). The silver, navy, or dark grey dial with guilloché decorations and black printed indexes has black, white, or silver hands. It's all topped off with a black, dark brown, blue, or dark grey alligator strap.

To keep everything running, the Hybrid Manufacture comes with a wooden winder box with a built-in removable charger for the electronics.

The Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture is available in reference FC-750MC4H6, FC-750MC4H4, FC-750MCN4H6, and FC-750DG4H6, with the latter in a limited edition of 888 units. The price is between US$3,495 to US$3,795, depending on the option chosen.

Source: Frederique Constant

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