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Frédérique Constant - At the heart of the Smartwatch debate

Frédérique Constant At the heart of the Smartwatch debate


The new Vitality Smartwatch of Frédérique Constant puts modern lifestyles at the centre of its development.

It’s been five years since Apple released their smart watch and so-called experts and industry insiders predicted the collapse of the market for traditional wristwatches. Well, we’re still here. I’ve said this several times since 2015: smart watches will not replace mechanical watches. They are not the same thing, any more than a digital photograph is the same thing as an oil painting. They don’t do the same thing, they don’t have the same purpose, and people want them for completely different reasons.

At the heart of the Smartwatch debate

Smartwatch Vitality © Frédérique Constant

However, that doesn’t mean that smart watches won’t push mechanical watches off the wrists of a lot of people out there, simply because that real estate is highly limited. We have two wrists. No one wants to be that guy walking around with two watches — it took ages before everyone stopped making fun of people who go around wearing Bluetooth headsets (some would say it hasn’t stopped) and the guy-with-two-watches is in prime position to take over that position of ultimate ridicule magnet.

Therefore, if you wear a smart watch primarily for fitness tracking reasons, there is very little incentive to strap on an additional mechanical timepiece, even if you adore fine watchmaking. There is in fact, significant disincentive, if you’re the kind of person who generally tries to avoid being the focus of half-joking-but-mostly-sarcastic observations from people around you. What solution, then, do we have for the smartwatch conundrum?

At the heart of the Smartwatch debate

Smartwatch Vitality © Frédérique Constant

Here is the thing: do not make consumers choose between smart watches and traditional watches (whether mechanical or quartz). If we set this up to be some kind of high-stakes, binary, A or B choice, everyone loses. Customers, even those who love traditional watches, will overwhelmingly choose convenience over pleasure, not because they particularly want to, but because 21st-century lifestyles oblige us to prioritise time-efficient technologies. In the first place, however, the premise of this choice is a completely false dichotomy. Why should we have to choose between a smart watch and a regular, classic looking timepiece? Why can’t we have both? Why can’t they be the same thing?

At the heart of the Smartwatch debate

Smartwatch Vitality © Frédérique Constant

This is the question that Frédérique Constant have been trying to answer since 2015, when they unveiled for the first time their Horological Smartwatch. Over the years, they’ve continued in this direction — with the Horological Smartwatch Notify following in 2016 and the Classic Hybrid Manufacture in 2018.

This year, Frederique Constant launches its new connected watch, the Smartwatch Vitality. Its great novelty? The integration of a heart rate sensor, developed by Philips, the expert in the field. With the launch of this Vitality Smartwatch, Frédérique Constant have taken one step closer to reaching their version of the perfect answer to the connected watch dilemma. From a distance, the Vitality seems like any other timepiece from one of the classically elegant collections of the Geneva manufacture. Even upon closer inspection, the hand-finished applied Roman numerals and delicate leaf-shaped hands give nothing away — the Vitality is every inch a finely proportioned traditional watch. Upon pushing the crown, however, the dial comes alive; a digital screen is positioned just under the dial, which allows the light of the screen through when it is activated.

At the heart of the Smartwatch debate

Smartwatch Vitality © Frédérique Constant

Apart from being an intermediary between the wearer and a personal device such as a smartphone, the Vitality has an additional feature that sets it apart from its connected predecessors. The Frédérique Constant Vitality incorporates a sensor developed by the Wearable Sensing Technologies department at Philips that allows for advanced health and fitness monitoring functions.

At the heart of the Smartwatch debate

Smartwatch Vitality © Frédérique Constant

Of course, the standard complement of features still applies — message notifications, activity tracking and alarms, not to mention features more familiar to watch lovers such as a chronograph and second time-zone indication. Furthermore, the Smartwatch Vitality is connected to the Frederique Constant Smartwatch application - available for iOs and Android - which allows the user to set the watch's functions and objectives, for optimal monitoring of its performance. Available in both feminine and masculine versions, the Frédérique Constant Vitality Smartwatch offers the best available option to those who are still torn between the elegance of a traditional timepiece and the convenience of a smartwatch. Why choose when you can have it all?

 

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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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