Open heart designs offer a rare middle-ground option in luxury watchmaking. While most timepieces firmly commit to one style or another, an open heart dial allows a watchmaker to add some of the intrigue and visual complexity of a skeleton dial without fully sacrificing an otherwise traditional look. Frederique Constant is a longstanding advocate of open heart design, first introducing the style in its catalogue back in 1994. For its first major release of 2022, the brand returns to this best-of-both-worlds concept with a new iteration, combining a classically handsome profile with an intricate look into the inner workings of its movement. The new Frederique Constant Classics Heart Beat Automatic offers a cleanly executed traditional design with a touch of skeletonized drama.
Frederique Constant takes a simple and dressy approach to the Classics Heart Beat Automatic’s 40mm stainless steel case. With narrow tapering lugs, a slim smooth bezel, and a manageable 10.5mm overall thickness, this case is handsomely discreet in images, keeping visual focus squarely on the dial. To complement the open heart window on the dial, the caseback features a curiously small sapphire display window as well. Frederique Constant rates the watch for a slightly underwhelming 50 meters of water resistance.
For the dial of the Classics Heart Beat Automatic, Frederique Constant blends an ornately classical base design with a bold central open heart window. Available in either black or silver, the base dial showcases a broad range of finishes in initial images, from a clous de Paris guilloché central section to a deeply grained sunburst hours ring bordered by fluted guilloché accent rings. Coupled to Breguet hands and printed roman numerals in black or white, this intricately finished dial offers an attractively traditional look in images without coming off as overcomplicated or baroque. Naturally, however, the real visual centerpiece is the 12 o’clock open heart window. By distilling its scope down to the balance wheel and a complex skeletonized balance bridge, this approach allows Frederique Constant to preserve the traditional overall style of the watch in images while adding a left-field modernist accent. The dial’s intricate finishing continues through this window as well, with cleanly executed perlage atop the balance bridge.
Frederique Constant powers the Classics Heart Beat Automatic with the Sellita SW300-1 based FC-310 automatic movement. As with the dial, the brand pays close attention to the FC-310’s finishing in images, with blued screws, sunburst and colimaçon on the nearly full bridges, and a signed rotor topped with Côtes de Genève. In terms of performance, the FC-310 offers a slightly below-average 38 hours of power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. To complete the traditional look, Frederique Constant pairs the watch with a classic crocodile pattern strap in black calf leather.
By balancing traditional watch design cues with a dramatic partial skeleton flourish, the new Frederique Constant Classics Heart Beat Automatic offers a compelling middle-path approach that should delight open heart fans. The Frederique Constant Classics Heart Beat Automatic is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for this model stands at €1,295 as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.