For 2015, MCT presents their second major watch collection – the Frequential One, as a new piece next to the existing Sequential One and Sequential Two watch families. The MCT Frequential One F110 also represents a new entry-level price-point for the brand, coming in at about half the price of a Sequential Two S200 timepiece. With a movement that is more traditional than the Sequential series, the Frequential One nevertheless, offers an exciting and highly visual mechanical experience for those looking to wear a luxury watch that is clearly outside of what one might consider ordinary.
When I first started writing about watches back in 2007, it was the high-point of what I’ll call the “independent watch renaissance” – a time when luxury consumer enthusiasm and willingness to try new things prompted an unprecedented explosion of investment into small high-end watch brands. That period didn’t last very long, however, because when the economy sank, so did consumer spending on new, untested brands. MCT originally began in 2009, but later changed ownership. Later, under new ownership and with stable funding, MCT continued its life by releasing the Sequential One S110 watch. A year later, the MCT Sequential Two S200 watch (hands-on here) was released. For 2015, the Frequential One adds a new element to the promising brand.
I visited MCT’s HQ in Geneva earlier in 2015 to get a glimpse of the Frequential One F110 watch and concept. With a price around $100,000 for the Sequential Two watch, MCT wanted a lower-priced model as well as something more “technically accessible” compared to the very complex Sequential movement that uses areas with pivoting prisms to tell the hours and a traditional minute hand. While the remarkable MCT Sequential One (originally developed by watch designer Denis Giguet) still holds a top place in my heart, the Frequential One F110 watch is a welcome addition to the brand.
The core concept of the Frequential One watch, was to place a balance wheel in the center of the dial with the hands underneath it. In execution, the concept appears simple, but it is an engineering challenge. Thus, you have the regulator system as the primary area of attention of the dial, with the hour and minutes hands underneath it, which stick out to the sides. Under 12 o’clock is a useful power reserve indicator – a feature I welcome on all manually wound movements. Designed by Fabrice Gonet, the Frequential One F110 case and dial evoke a contemporary sense of mechanical complexity which I like, and that most of the traditional brands tend to shy away from, due to their conservatism.
The movement inside the MCT Frequential One, is the MCT-F1.0 with 279 parts and a frequency of 18,000 bph (2.5Hz). This slower rate allows for a better view of the oscillating balance wheel. A logical parallel would be to compare the Frequential One to the MB&F Legacy Machine LM1 (hands-on here) from 2011. Both of these watches offer raised central balance wheels that appear in the center of their dials. While the LM1 is more retro in its appeal, the Frequential One is decidedly more forward-looking. Each of the watches have balance wheels operating 18,000 bph as well.
Reading the time on the MCT Frequential One F110 watch is not incredibly easy because the hands are not the primary focus and much of them is obstructed. What I feel might have helped was designing the hour and minute hands to be actually different looking versus just different lengths. This isn’t a huge issue and I feel that one might get used to reading the Frequential One F110 after living with it for a while.
Those familiar with the original MCT Sequential One case design, will recognize it here in the Frequential One – albeit slightly smaller. The cushion-shaped case will be 42mm wide by 42mm tall and 14mm thick. The case will be produced from grade 5 titanium and here seen DLC-coated black. I believe a few different color versions of the MCT Frequential One F110 watch will be available for 2015. The case is produced from 45 pieces with sapphire crystals and it is water resistant to 30 meters. With the slightly smaller (but not small) size and still unique shape the Frequential One should be rather comfortable on the wrist.
As an alternative to an older, more traditional brands, companies like MCT offer wonderful choices. Statistically speaking, high-end watch customers don’t go straight to niche brands like MCT. It is only after exploring products from the major brands, do some customers then discover the appeal of the edgier, more unique companies. With the Frequential One F110 watch, that leap isn’t “as” difficult as before, given the lower price-point, but this is still very much a high-end luxury watch. I will get some hands-on time with the MCT Frequential One F110 watch soon. Price is 44,500 Swiss Francs. mctwatches.com