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Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch ‘2.0’

Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch '2.0' Wrist Time Reviews

A bit over a year and a half ago, I got to review the initial version of the Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch. I was curious about it, as it was not so much a smartwatch as it was a fitness and sleep tracker hiding in a nice-looking Swiss dress watch. At the conclusion of that review, I was wondering how it would be received by consumers. It must have been considered a success, as Frederique Constant has released a new version. Today, we’ll be having a look at what the latest version, the Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch “2.0,” has on offer, including a refreshed dial, more functionality, and better battery life.

Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch '2.0' Wrist Time Reviews

There is quite a lot that’s the same between the two models, such as the 42mm-wide case size and general interaction via the single “crown” pusher. You also have the requisite app to install on your phone, and the battery life is longer, at 4 years with no charging required, which is double the previous 2-year battery.

Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch '2.0' Wrist Time Reviews

Rather than being displayed on a sub-dial, you now have the smart functions indicated by four icons around the dial. A single press will show you progress in the mode the watch is in; a double-press shows the other mode’s progress. As how it is shown, the hour hand will move to the appropriate icon on the dial (in the outer railroad track), and the minute hand will indicate the progress. Sleep and step monitoring icons show up at 4 and 8 o’clock, respectively.

Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch '2.0' Wrist Time Reviews

At 10 o’clock, you have the chat bubble to indicate messages, and over at 2 o’clock is a phone icon which indicates incoming calls. I eagerly looked forward to these particular items, as I find the vibrating alerts on my wrist much easier to notice when I have the phone in my pocket and I’m walking about. Unfortunately, I never had the Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch alert me to text messages. This could be due to my particular phone issues, but I was also never successful in enabling the message alerts in the MMT app, though I could turn on the phone alerts.

Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch '2.0' Wrist Time Reviews

One note on that mobile app that I do want to point out. When I installed it on my phone, I had quite a difficult time getting it to recognize the watch. After trying out all manner of things, and just about to get on a phone call with Switzerland, I tried something my other (true) fitness watches needed – I turned the location on on my phone. And, lo and behold, there went the syncing. Why it is this way, I have no idea. As a counterpoint, I put the app onto the family iPad as well, and it picked up the watch very quickly and cleanly (no location dependency there). So, Android phone carriers, just be aware that you might need to fiddle around with things a bit.

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Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch '2.0' Wrist Time Reviews

Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch '2.0' Wrist Time Reviews

As you might surmise, all of these different alerts and the removal of the subdial is the result of a different movement in this 2.0 version of the Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch. While the original used the MMT-285, this one uses the MMT-282. It is, of course, still a quartz movement, and it packs in the functions we’ve discussed. As to additional details about it, the brand has been a bit quieter. Whether this is due to (presumed) increased familiarity with smartwatches and fitness trackers, or the new corporate parents (Citizen) tightening up the information flow, I do not know. That said, we really don’t need a lot of details – it’s not like we need to know the particular chip(s) being used, and the like. Just whether or not it will do what it’s supposed to.

Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch '2.0' Wrist Time Reviews

Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch '2.0' Wrist Time Reviews

The wrist notifications were a mixed bag (again, I’m willing to peg it on my phone at this point), but the tracking worked as it should. As with my original review, I will say the step and sleep measurements were not exactly what I had recorded on my Fitbit. However, so long as you stick with a single device, you will have a feel for the trends, and that’s what is more important with a device of this nature. I do also like how there is an additional world time mode built in. The city (or time zone) you’re tracking is set in the app, and then a triple-press of the crown will display that for a few seconds.

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  • ??????

    Citizen Holdings have some little but important presence in the market of quartz watches with augmented functionality. Take this FC or Alpina – they provide some tiny bit of additional functionality (maybe useless for some, but..) which puts them on level above other quartz watches ~1k+/-. I think this is an important first step towards new watch reality, no matter we like it or not. Other groups and brands, especially those having presence and relying on <1k range, will have to embrace it.

    The watch itself is classy, handsome, and maybe somewhat boring – as 99% of FC line, actually. Having said all the above, I can't consider myself a potential customer right now since I don't see any scenario of my life where these features would be helpful. I can frankly say that I won't use them, actually. Maybe once, for fun, and then forget. If I were for somewhat special quartz I'd better save for GS – yes, they are a very different thing, but they look superior to this FC in both design and finishing. At the same time, I'll keep my eye on what is happening in the segment of quartz watches with augmented functionality, since they have a potential to become game changers in the segment.

    • Seems like you are asking for a more classicly styled Tissor T-Touch sans the digital displays. With decent sized hands of course.

      • ??????

        Yup, more or less. I appreciate T-Touch, actually, but have always found it so disproportionate, hands so tiny and overall style truing too hard to look hi-tech. This FC looks good, but I see no useful functions for me…

        • Yeah the short hands on the T-Touch are a shame. Seems to be a mass issue when the have to rotate them “quickly” during mode changes. The older models had deathly slow hands. The latest ones (which we saw at BaselWorld) moved much faster. But they still need to be longer. Then an analog only T-Touch could do the stuff we’d like (except for some of the bio sensors) and have solar charging to boot. Cheers.

          • ??????

            Hm, I never thought why they were making them so short. Now I see it must be a motor limitation. Hope they can improve it.

  • Aside from the fact that this is a pretty nice looking watch, I am fundamentally confused about the value of an activity tracker – it’s not particularly smart if that is its main function.

    Seeing all of these 1-100 scales I really don’t get the use of analogue smart watches – I can tell you right now if I have walked enough today, I don’t need to refer to anything. Is there anyone here that uses these and can enlighten me a bit as to their value? I get the sense that there is a lot of potential in this realm, but that the analogue smart watch world is becoming a hive of the same vanilla offering – alerts and step counts – it just ain’t smart enough!

    Someone needs to come up with something more fun. Like a watch that comes with RFID tags that you can attach to the car keys, the remote control, and when they get lost you press the watch and the hands guide you to them. Or ones that use WIFI to constantly update timekeeping and using a mechanical city selector and aperture you can get absolute times in all time zones.

    Are they not being creative enough or am I not paying enough attention?

    • DanW94

      No, they’re not and I believe you’re paying exactly the right amount of attention : )

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Just tell me the bloody time !

    • I think it does, actually :0)

  • Love the watch! Don’t care about the extra functionality though.

  • I quite like this watch, I think it is very well done.

    “if a casual observer saw the watch on my wrist, they would not know that there were smarts packed in under that sapphire crystal”. That’s one of the problems of these things isn’t it. We sort of feel we are going to be regarded as snobbish or pretentious if we are seeing wearing a smartwatch. Specially if we are above a certain age. Seems like smartwatches are more of a thing for youngsters.

    Also I was wondering: is this “Swiss Made” as in 2017 legislation Swiss Made?

  • Yojimbo
  • Sheez Gagoo

    Beautifull watch. Lovely. But for a Smartwatch spectacularly useless.

  • What I find most interesting about the recent explosion of smartwatches in the market is the fact that regardless of how limited they are in functionality, for many manufacturers, its a foregone conclusion that the products absolutely must be introduced to market. 20 years from now, the vast majority of the population will be wearing connected devices on their wrists, there’s really no debating that. And 20 years from now, these devices will be practical, stylish, and brimming with the exact same technology that their hand-held devices contain. In order for most watch manufacturers to ensure that they stay relevant for the smartwatch revolution, they have to continually pump out pieces like the above in order to keep their foot in the market.

    There’s nothing particularly spectacular about this FC offering, and for the most part, it’s completely useless. If I get a text message alert on my watch, I still have to take out my phone to answer it. And counting steps? Let’s all stop pretending that this is some sort of useful fitness metric – it’s a novelty built around the constraints of the current technology. Is it pleasantly designed? Sure- classic lines, conservative size, can be paired with almost any fashion – and it’s sufficiently unisex to boot. Is there any reason to buy this over any of FC’s other, more horological offerings? None. But for brands like FC, they absolutely HAVE to offer a smartwatch if they’re going to survive in the next generation market. Same goes for brands like Tissot and Hamilton that are just barely holding their ground and even brands like TAG and Breitling that, despite their current market position, can absolutely not afford to rest on their laurels. Patek does not have to offer a connected watch in order to maintain their market share in their particular demographic. But Alpina does. Rolex absolutely does not need to develop a connected device to remain the de facto king of luxury brand recognition (even though they most likely will anyway). But Omega does.

    The smartwatch revolution will be bigger and more threatening to the luxury watch market than was the quartz revolution. I just don’t think it’s worth buying into it right now.

    • “The smartwatch revolution will be bigger and more threatening to the luxury watch market than was the quartz revolution.”

      Why do you think that? They can still offer some smartwatches in their stable — they do not need to go full digital.

      • Depends on how deep the stable is. TAG and brands with their revenue and depth of products will easily be able to develop and offer both, but how is a small market brand like, say, Edox, going to survive in 20 years? It brings in $10 million in revenue a year and end up on close-out websites at 70% off MSRP. Their best survival strategy would be to pump funds into smartwatch R&D, and partnering with tech companies.

        • Well, they can offer more quartz options — not necessarily smartwatches

  • SuperStrapper

    I like that this one looks so little like a smartwatch, but with this feature set and display, it’s barely hanging one as a smart watch. Does FC really need to make sure they have a smart watch entry to survive? If so they’re doing something wrong.

  • Jlh5683

    hate it

  • Roman

    I weared watches 24/7 in my boyhood days until 16 years. I thought it was cool. And now it’s kind of tough to sleep wearing a watch.

    • WINKS

      Very much like underwear…

  • otaking241

    I’ve seen a lot of talk comparing the advent of smartwatches with the quartz crisis, but I think that comparison is flawed for a number of reasons. Quartz watches were a technologically superior way of providing what people really needed–a way to tell time–and the “crisis” occurred because the watch industry couldn’t compete on the same playing field with traditional watchmaking. Survival hinged on reinventing the mechanical watch as a luxury and status symbol. For men, a watch is about the only universally acceptable piece of jewelry one can wear, and the watch industry moved to provide to men what women have had available from the much broader jewelry industry.

    The main differences I see with smartwatches is 1) smartwatches are not a monolithic technology–there is a broad range of capabilities that appeal to different consumers for different applications; and 2) both the industry and consumers are still trying to figure out what those are. Because of that you see brands taking very different approaches to smartwatches, both in designing them di novo and implementing the technology in traditional watches.

    I would argue that smartwatches are not really a threat to the luxury watch industry because they’re really not in the same business. The luxury watch industry is really a specialized jewelry and accessory industry for men. As such, there should be room for models like this FC that incorporates some smart technology in a package that looks like a watch.

    Everyone here decrying the “smart” aspects of the watch sound like guys on the auto forums railing against the automatic transmission–enthusiasts do not represent the buying public at large. Personally I’ve been interested in getting a Fitbit but don’t want to give up my watch or *cringe* double up, so this watch could work for me, and at this price point is an attractive compromise. I hope to see more like it going forward, especially from more of the heavy hitters in the luxury segment.