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Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch Review

Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

One day, we are going to look back and not consider it an oddity that the Swiss luxury brands have smart watches that go up against the capabilities offered by those coming from technology companies. For now, though, the field is decidedly more narrow. One of the first luxury brands to offer a smartwatch was Frédérique Constant, made possible through a partnership that enables the platform (Ariel wrote more about that here). Since its introduction, we have been spending time with the Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch, and can now give you our full take on the watch.

Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

As far as smartwatches go, the Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch is very much the brand dipping its toes into the water, rather than diving in head first. I frame it this way because the functionality that is embedded in the watch is a bit more limited than those who have been playing with Apple and Android Wear watches might expect. Really, the best way to think about the Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch is that it is a classically designed luxury Swiss watch that has a Fitbit built into it.

Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Yes, the Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch does offer a bluetooth connection to your phone, but that is not used to get data from the phone to the watch (well, other than the time, but more on that in a bit). Instead, it is used to push the data (either steps taken or sleep records) from the watch to the phone. Limiting it this way – and keeping the sync to a manually engaged affair – allows the Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch to run on a standard battery, and not require constant recharging. That is a major benefit, especially for those who might prefer a quartz watch’s ability to “set it and forget it,” with the watch always running and having the accurate time.

Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Step chart

Since I mentioned a Fitbit, let’s talk a little bit about how the Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch stacks up to a Fitbit (as that is the tracker I regularly carry). They are comparable in that they both track steps and sleep patterns (though the Fitbit One offers additional things like stairs climbed and silent alarms). When I compared the records out of both, they were fairly close to each other. That is something I have noticed as I’ve been comparing the various fitness measures from different devices: none of them are identical, but they are reasonably close to one another. What this means is that, for the vast majority of us, these devices will be directionally (if not absolutely) accurate for what we are looking for out of them.

Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Sleep pattern

That is the other part of the equation – how you read the data coming from the Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch. As you might surmise, there is an accompanying app (from MotionX) that pulls the data out and displays the information, just like any other smartwatch or fitness tracker. That is where the extract stops, however – you can only see the data on your phone. I have become a bit spoiled, perhaps, by having the ability to see my data from the computer (not just via an app), and have become accustomed to being able to get disparate trackers to consolidate data into a single place. Perhaps, that consolidation is not as important, but keeping the data stuck on the phone is a little more of a stumbling block for me. Aside from not being able to see trends and the like on a bigger screen, it means that there is no backup in place. If the data file on your phone corrupts or is otherwise deleted, you have lost that history. The good news is that something like that would be relatively easy for the platform to add in to the app; hopefully, they’ll enable it to sync into established dashboards from other companies.

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Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

You can use the app to do some other interesting things with the Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch, as well. For starters, you set the time and date on the watch via the app. What looks to be a crown on the watch is actually a pusher; by default, then, any setting has to be done via the app. Past that, there are some other interesting capabilities. For example, you can enable a worldtimer (aka second timezone) feature. In the app, you select the city you are interested in, and then, via a triple-press on the crown, you will get about a 3-second check of the time in that second time zone. You also use the app to set alarms (only audible, not silent) for the watch, as well as reminders to get up and move. If you want to track steps from a specific activity (say, heading out for a run), you will need to use the stopwatch function in the app to denote the start and end of the activity, and catalog things that way. Perhaps not as intuitive for activity tracking, but you are limited by the form-factor a bit.

Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Speaking of form-factor, that is really where the Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch sets itself apart from the market of fitness trackers. Basically, if you did not know any better, this watch would look like a regular watch from the brand’s Classics lineup. In other words, this is an activity tracker that really just looks like a dressier analog watch. Frankly, I think that is the niche for the Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch. It is for people who like the classic look of a watch, and do not want to have another device on their wrist that is decidedly a gadget. With this platform, they get a classically styled watch that gives you the basic information (time and date), and packs in the extra tracking.

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Comments

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  • word-merchant

    My Rolex has similar functionality – if I’m not active enough it stops.

    • David Williams

      Ha – very good! Your wise comment transforms every automatic and kinetic watch into a motivational activity prompter, immediately rendering all other fitness gadgets pointless!

    • iamcalledryan

      Yes alternative indicators are:

      1. Not fitting into your trousers
      2. Huge bags under your eyes
      3. The doctor telling you that you are not getting enough sleep or nutrition

      • And solutions to these indications are:
        1. Buy larger pants
        2. Wear large sunglasses
        3. Don’t ever see your doctor

        • spiceballs

          – just nod to the wife/partner and smile?

          • Wife – my dermatologist once asked me if a mole on my back I told him about was discovered by my “partner”. My wife was also a patient of his so I thought his politically correct/neutral term was odd to say the least.

      • spiceballs

        plus your wife/partner reminding you of all of the above?

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Keep that on any longer Patrick and you’ll loose blood flow to your hand.

    • pkansa

      Ha! Just the way it looks in the pictures, I tend to like a tighter fit on my bracelets.

  • Wish they had not done baton makers for 3, 9 and 11 that look like a roman numeral one. Nice enough looking for a fitness/activity oriented watch. Just not something I look for in a watch. But I like so much of what FC does overall that I’m always interested in their watches.

    • David Williams

      Mark – Aloha, I agree! The batons are, rather confusingly, equivalent to a Roman numeral ‘one’, which is a bit of a design faux pas – all-Roman or all-baton for me. Also, the Roman IV is a little clunky – a reminder why, for visual balance with VIII, four is customarily represented as IIII. The dial isn’t too crowded for VIII, so why not IIII – trying too hard to be different, perhaps?

      Interesting watch-related event in Hawaii soon – the Omega-sponsored Solar Impulse 2 will be resuming its solar-powered flight around the world.

    • pkansa

      Good call!

  • Roman

    I won’t look toward smartwatches until Patek Philippe makes such watch.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      it’ll be a cold day in hell before that happens.

      • Roman

        That’s just it. If it happens it will be the beginning of smartwatches era and we’ll just have to learn to live with it.

        • Raymond Wilkie

          That will be a very sad day indeed.

        • SuperStrapper

          Whys that? Patek did it, so I guess we have to like it?

      • Marius

        Don’t be so sure about it. Modern-day Patek is more about making money than purely focusing on horology. Moreover, Patek already offers a quartz watch in the form of the Patek Twenty-4, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if they added some apps to it.

        • Roman

          Aaahh! Hell! It has already started! What do we do?!

  • I’ve never met anyone who counts their steps. Least of whilst wearing a dress watch. Who are these people? (Jerry Seinfeld voice).

    • pkansa

      Ah, sir, then you have never met me! Then again, my step counting most frequently comes in the form of a Fitbit in my pocket, or via a Garmin while at the gym.

      • iamcalledryan

        I see a genuine value in tracking your distance and calories over the course of a run, which is why I own a Garmin. But was makes the Garmin valuable to me is the GPS, it actually knows the distance and the speed and based on my profile it knows the calories. The fitbit/activity tracker makes a guestimate – I can make a guestimate!

        When I get home from the run the Garmin comes off – it’s job is done. No app to study on a requisite phone. If you want to remain fit by only walking then you need to do serious walking, and that should not be measured in estimated steps but in ‘wow, I just walked from A all the way to Z!’

        Outside of an exercise environment I see the activity tracker as a sad form of bondage – this poor soul is bound by the sense that they are a few steps or an hour extra sleep away from something that will change things for the better. The estimated achievement of such a soft task is a false summit if ever I saw one!

      • spiceballs

        – – or via the phone in my pocket – yes I walk a lot.

  • iamcalledryan

    For argument sake I am going to initially ignore that this is electronic. As a standalone ‘complication’ the ‘percentage-completion meter’ is way down the list of things I would want my watch to indicate. It is creating a need for something that many people view as a fad. It’s the stairmaster of the app-generation. Our problem is not that we can’t track our activity and our sleep, it’s that we don’t get enough of either! Obsessively counting steps and winks is not going to improve your life, it will just act as another excuse to play with a gadget instead of look someone in the eye and live.

    Then there is the more technical issue. Even if the watch genuinely counted steps (rather than wrist shakes) or genuinely tracked sleep (rather than the absence of movement) I find myself asking ‘so what’? I have never needed to know how well I slept last night because I can answer that myself. I can’t tell you how many steps I have taken today but I can tell you if I have had enough exercise or not. But technically this does not even very well indicate those two things, so the argument drops before you even get to it.

    You could argue that this is no less utilitarian than a chronograph to the average user. But that is where the mechanism comes into play. Clicking the buttons, the snap of the reset, it’s an aesthetic experience regardless of functional value. There is no joy in use here, and the data is mundane and approximate. Give me a thousand moonphases before you tell me I need to get up and walk 20 paces to gain my watch’s respect.

    • Ah, but leaving the watch on the nightstand while you sleep will “record” lots of quality sleep for you. You’ve just discovered how to game the system (and still sleep no better).

      • iamcalledryan

        And during the day you can leave it on the washing machine to record thousands of steps!

        • So glad you did not go with self-abuse.

          • iamcalledryan

            Only because it’s exercise…

    • Berndt Norten

      Good points. Now please cast your critical eye upon bling watches. Just let your (not) love flow. Like a mountain stream….

      • spiceballs

        – – that’s the reason 😉

    • Roman

      You stole my words.

  • Marius

    Counting steps — a rather absurd app. A watch with a very classic and elegant design used as an activity tracker — even more absurd. I mean, if you are an athletic person and work out regularly — as I do — you would be interested in watches such as Garmin and the like. On the other hand, if you are not a very active person, how is this watch going to improve your physical condition? By counting your steps? If your “physical activity” allows you to wear such a watch, it’s not really a proper work out. If you want to be as good looking and fit as I am, you need to forget about counting steps. Just go to a gym, find a good personal trainer, and start working out. That’s the real SMART thing to do.

    • DanW94

      Agree with you about the watch. but the line, “as fit and good looking as I am” tells me your head is as big as your avatar’s fingers are small : )

      • Marius

        But I am fit and good looking! You know what they say: facts are facts.

        • Berndt Norten

          If the glove does not fit. …

  • funkright

    Sometimes tracking what you do provides incremental motivation to keep doing what needs to be done, at least this is what keeps me going in the fitness realm. That said, this isn’t a watch I would wear. Currently, I am wearing my Apple Watch more often than not (it does what I need it to do right now). I’d like to go back to the few nicer watches that sit stagnant in my watch box, but there’s gotta be something better than this watch coming soon. I like the Breitling Exospace B55 watch (although it doesn’t do HRM), but I think something slim that attaches to the back of the watch (they are out there, but what they track is very limited) which tracks HRM and the biometric items is what will move this area forward.

  • IG

    A solution looking for a problem.

    • DanW94

      Or, an answer to a question nobody asked…..

  • spiceballs

    Nice but I prefer the Alpina look. For what these are/do I’d stick with Fitbit

  • peter_byford

    A Tissot Le Locle with an added ‘ complication’ lol !? How DO the designers get away with it ?
    There comes a point where plagiarism applies, even in watch-making, surely ? In the smartphone world, Apple would sue the pants of anyone daring to copy it’s product, so why don’t watch Co’s do the same ?

    • Marcos Caetano

      if it was a technology issue, apple could sue for copyright; however as a jewellery issue copyright laws are very difficult to enforce unless the design goes completely beyond abstract. unfortunately for apple, watches have existed for a very long time and as such most styles and designs will be reused and embellished.

      • peter_byford

        Yes, I find the laws of copyright both intriguing & inconsistent lol ! The Beatles Bubble, …Michael Jackson’s wealth & influence lobbying for an extension to his music library etc, etc. I assumed, maybe erroneously in light of what you say, that Co logo’s & designs were both registered & copyrighted as any other ‘intellectual property’…..eg Doxa paying to use the brand name on current watches even though the Co has no real historical link ( DNA lol ! ) to the Co of old ? Rolex Datejust dates back to 1945, so even if covered under copyright laws, it could well have expired. It would be an interesting precedent case if Rolex ever bought to book every copycat Co……………Anyways, I still wonder how ‘design studios’ earn their keep when they blatantly draw on the efforts of others lol !

        • Marcos Caetano

          the major problem with copyright law is precedent; lets just say omega decides to release an identical watch to the 1945 date adjust, if another manufacturer piaget for instance, released an identical model in the 70s or 80s and rolex never filed against piaget, omega could have the copyright case thrown out of court; due to rolex never claiming copyright issues against piaget.

          • peter_byford

            Ah, so you have to be on your toes in this copyright palaver lol !
            Slip up once & it can open the door for abuse . Sounds like a lawyer specialising in copyright could earn good money ha ha !

          • Marcos Caetano

            really good money; in fact there is one law firm based out of new york, which directs all of their resources towards breaking copyright and proceeds to blackmail competing companies to pay for the removal of said copyright. the only group truly safe from copyright is fine artist”, their work has copyright for the duration of their lifespan plus fifty years from their death.

  • CatLady Laura

    A thousand dollars for a watch with Roman numerals on the face? Seriously? Perhaps a watch that tells you this is the 21st century would be more useful! I’d not be foolish enough to waste my money on this junk!

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