In 2015, Frédérique Constant became the first traditional Swiss watch company to embrace the coming of wearable tech. Its Horological Smartwatch was a stylistic departure from tech-company products like the Apple Watch, with a classical analog dial that could be used to display app-connected functionalities like sleep monitoring and activity tracking. This year, the company will launch the second generation of Horological Smartwatches — including its first ladies’ version, which will be represented in a new campaign by Academy Award-winning actress Gywneth Paltrow, a Frédérique Constant “Global Brand Ambassador.” The collection’s official launch was at a cocktail event this week in New York City, where Paltrow joined Frédérique Constant CEO Peter Stas in unveiling “Horological Smartwatch 2.0” to a crowd of VIPs and members of the press.
Frédérique Constant’s new Horological Smartwatch collection includes five new men’s models and five ladies’ models. All are equipped with new movements, developed jointly with the Swiss brand’s partner in its wearable tech venture, Geneva-based Manufacture Modules Technologies Sarl. (MMT), which also co-produced the movements for the original Horological Smartwatches and developed the patented MotionX activity-tracking platform on which they are based. Unlike the original movements in the still-produced “1.0” versions, they allow the watches to indicate notifications, like SMS and chat messages or phone calls from contacts, via vibrations.
The men’s version features an updated, more streamlined design than its predecessor. Gone is the subdial at 6 o’clock, a hallmark of the first-generation version, which provided data on sleep hours, daily steps, calories burned, distances, et cetera, on demand and in analog form, with a small set of hands pointing to a scale. In its place, on a simpler, two-handed dial with Arabic numerals replacing the original’s Roman numerals, is a central 1-to-100 scale in the dial’s center, and tiny icons at the 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 o’clock positions on the main dial to represent, respectively, call notifications, sleep monitoring, activity tracking, and text notifications. Pressing the push-button in the crown brings up the various data displays, as now indicated on the inner scale by the two main hands, which then return to their timekeeping positions seconds later. The new MMT-282 quartz movement module powering the array of functions boasts a four-year battery life, doubling the battery life of the module in the original, while the dimensions of the stainless steel case remain the same, at 42 mm in diameter (two models are rose-gold-plated). The men’s watches also display an even greater range of dial and strap colors, with dials in navy blue, black, and silver, and straps in black, blue, dark brown and light brown.
The ladies’ models, in 34-mm cases, offers a similar two-handed dial layout but adds a variety of feminine touches on their dials, including versions with guilloché, mother-of-pearl accents, white diamonds, and applied Roman numeral indices. Three of the watches are in all-steel and two combine steel with rose-gold-plated bracelets. The quartz module in these models is the MMT-281, smaller than the MMT-282 in order to fit comfortably in the ladies’ watch case dimensions and, accordingly, storing a shorter but still substantial battery life of two years-plus. The theme the brand has given the Horological Smartwatch for Ladies is “Move More for Charity,” a reference to the watch’s health-related functions such as sleep cycle alarms and get-active alerts, and to the charitable organization DonorsChoose.org, which partnered with Paltrow and Frédérique Constant for the launch. A portion of the proceeds from sales of ladies’ Horological Smartwatches will be donated to the charity, which supports education for children by raising money for school supplies, books, and trips for classrooms in need.
The full range of functions on both the men’s and ladies’ versions includes an “always-on” time display, activity tracking, sleep monitoring, sleep-cycle alarms, get-active alerts, dynamic coaching, cloud backup and restore, world timer with 24 time zones, and call and message notifications. The new MMT-365 app, which connects a smartphone to the watches via Bluetooth, is available on both iOS and Android systems.