No stranger to elegant dress watches, Frederique Constant has introduced a new open heart model for Geneva Watch Days, the Frederique Constant Classics Heart Beat Manufacture. While open heart dials are quite common these days, especially in more affordable brands, it was in fact Frederique Constant that introduced the look in 1994. Back then, several high-end brands were revitalizing the tourbillon—a mechanism that was by then nearly obsolete and had lain dormant for decades—in an effort to demonstrate watchmaking prowess and justify the existence of high-end mechanical timekeeping in the face of the vastly superior quartz that by then dominated the market. Similarly, Frederique Constant wanted to show off—and let customers show off—that its mechanical movements and how cool they were. The new Frederique Constant Classics Heart Beat Manufacture is a continuation of that open heart effort, presented in an all-new 39mm case in perhaps its most elegant execution yet.
The Classics Heart Beat Manufacture comes in the brand’s signature dress case design: a high-polish affair with straight lugs and soft transitions, newly offered in 39mm. For this model, a limited series of 93 pieces in 18k rose gold and 930 pieces in stainless steel will be available. Both options feature a domed sapphire crystal, a see-through caseback, and a pronounced pull-out onion crown with dramatic grooving for easy operation. Curiously, the rose gold features 30m of water resistance while the steel features 50m. With its modest diameter and just 10.39 thickness, this one is sure to wear easy on the wrist. The simple case lets the dial do the talking, though, and there’s plenty to say. The lacquered white dial has a double step, with a recessed center dial and an intermediate railway ring before giving way to the hour ring with a new “closed” Roman numeral font for the hours. All the markings are printed in black, which match the glossy black hands, with a heart-shaped hour hand and a leaf-shaped minute hand. Of course, it’s the 6 o’clock namesake Heart Beat that steals the show hear. Surrounded by a polished frame, the balance is on full display, with the center wheel peeking out at the top (I’d argue a matching frame would’ve been nice on the rose gold). The aperture has been maximized, pushing itself against the handset to allow for the fullest view possible.
Powering the new Classic Heart Beat Manufacture is the in-house FC-930-3 caliber, originally released in 2006, the brand’s first in-house automatic caliber released two years after the brand its first in-house caliber. The automatic movement is developed and designed by Frederique Constant, which also assembles all the movements (no word on where all the components are produced, though). It’s on display through a sapphire caseback, with perlage and Côtes de Genève striping, and an open-worked gold (possibly plated) rotor that’s brushed with polished beveled edges. The finishing is nice and about what I’d expect from a traditionally designed dress watch at this price point. The movement beats at 28,800 vph which results in a somewhat underwhelming 38-hour power reserve (given the lack of a seconds hand, I would have preferred a longer power reserve at a lower frequency).
While I don’t see Frederique Constant going full in-house with all its watches any time soon, if at all, the Frederique Constant Classics Heart Beat Manufacture continues the brand’s efforts to demonstrate its mettle as a serious watchmaker. As one of the finest executions of the open heart concept on the market, these new offerings go a long way to proving just that. The new Classics Heart Beat Manufacture is priced at $17,995 for the 18k rose gold case and $4,395 for the stainless steel, limited to 93 and 930 pieces, respectively. For more information, please visit the Frederique Constant website.