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Frédérique Constant - Horological Smartwatch : the litmus test

Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch : the litmus test

Since 1988, Frédérique Constant has been following luxury trends while making them accessible to a wider public. In 2014, the brand set the trend with a connected watch announced as beautiful, functional, intelligent and affordable. So does it live up to these promises?

The Horological Smartwatch is very much a Frédérique Constant model, with a subdial and an overall structure similar to that of the Slimline models, although with Roman numerals. Nonetheless, beneath the dial hums a state-of-the-art connected brain. Even more importantly, when it comes to the intuitive, easily understandable and user-friendly nature that is key to a successful product, Frédérique Constant has set the bar extremely high.
Once removed from its packaging, five seconds are enough for the user to grasp the fact that a single pusher controls everything. Another minute to download the app to your smartphone, two more to configure it, and less than ten seconds to pair them. What else? Nothing. Impressive indeed…

The watch that lets you sleep
The watch has two hands in addition to the timekeeping function. The first indicates the progress towards activity goals, and the second those related to sleep. A long (three-second) press changes the function and either starts recording these times or simply shows the date.
In a nutshell, the Horological Smartwatch follows just two activities: diurnal and nocturnal. The first is determined in relation to a goal set by the user – such as 10,000 steps per day. As the day goes by, the watch recognises when the wearer is walking and counts each step. The activity hand thus moves forward as time goes by across a scale running from 0 to 100% of the target.
At night-time, the same principle applies. You can either keep your watch on your wrist, or leave it under the pillow, although the analysis will of course be more detailed on the wrist, displaying periods of light and deep sleep and their respective durations.
As the icing on the cake, given that the Horological Smartwatch ‘listens’ to your sleep cycles, it ‘knows’ when to wake you up! Simply indicate your approximate desired wake-up time, and if you have slept soundly, your alarm will be able to ring before then and you will wake up feeling great. If sleep is deemed insufficient, your Horological Smartwatch will grant you one more dream…

Does it actually work efficiently?
The activity tracking is excellent. Walking and rest phases are all duly recorded. If the latter last too long, your watch will make a discreet beeping sound to remind you that it’s time to get on the move.
Its efficiency is however relative, in that phases of total inactivity are rare: get up, have a coffee, answer the phone, move to another office, and the stationary period will be interrupted. These ‘smart alarms’ are an entertaining idea in theory, but not particularly useful in practice.
As far as sleep is concerned, the quality monitoring is smart but somewhat obscure. It’s hard to understand how everything is recorded, and there are inevitably mornings when one will be in complete disagreement with the watch! Nonetheless, the recordings provide a lot of useful information and consulting them soon becomes one of the first daily reflexes.
Two last points are worth mentioning: all the data is stored on the watch and the phone, so unless users lose both at the same time, they will be able to recover said data. Finally, the app can handle several watches, a useful feature for those who might for example also wish to acquire the sportier version of the Horological Smartwatch by Alpina.  Both will be synchronised on the same phone.

Autonomy and simplicity are the hallmarks of the Horological Smartwatch
So should one consider the Horological Smartwatch a connected watch? Technically speaking, yes, since it works as an interactive duo with a smartphone. From a commercial standpoint, not really. Its functions are basic and cover only a tiny part of the capacities of an Apple Watch, an LG G Watch or a Samsung Galaxy Gear – which is also why it has a two-year autonomy compared with 24 hours for the aforementioned options. In a word, the Horological Smartwatch is far more “watch” than “smart”.
That is precisely what makes it so relevant and appealing to fans of traditional watchmaking. The latter may own a smartwatch for the sheer pleasure of it, on weekends, but would never dream of wearing it 24/7, year-round, whereas the Horological Smarthwatch is designed for daily wear. The product is attractive, perfectly finished, intelligent, simple, intuitive, reasonably priced (at 1295 euros). Rather than releasing yet another attempt at a hybrid watch, Frédérique Constant has clearly chosen the right camp with this Swiss Made connected timepiece.

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Frédérique Constant has made a successful business out of offering affordable luxury, experiencing growth rates well above the industry average. The owners have a clear mission to make fine watchmaking available to the largest possible audience of watch enthusiasts at sensible prices.

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