Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture review

    The Frederique Fixed Hybrid Manufacture is what occurs when a conventional Swiss watchmaker sits up, pays consideration to know-how firms parking tanks on its superbly manicured Genevan garden, and does one thing about it.

    It will not be the whole-hog method taken by Tag Heuer, maker of the Linked vary of smartwatches with touchscreens and Intel processors. As an alternative, the Hybrid Manufacture is the results of Frederique Fixed discovering a strategy to mix the centuries-old method of utilizing jewels, mainsprings and a stability wheel, with Bluetooth, step-counting, and a chargeable battery.

    There’s nothing fairly so vulgar as notification alerts and a loudspeaker. As an alternative, it is a hybrid smartwatch which presents a possibility for mechanical Swiss watch followers to dip their toes into the smartwatch waters, whereas sitting firmly on the shores of Lake Geneva.

    Frederique Fixed Hybrid Manufacture value and launch date

    • Priced from £2,995 to £three,295 ($three,495 to $3795, AU$5,300)
    • On sale now

    We really feel that value wants explaining proper off the bat, as a result of common TechSwitch readers will possible balk on the concept of a smartwatch (truly, a half-smart hybrid watch) costing three grand. That is what occurs when the Swiss get entangled with making related watches; they leap from the pages of shiny way of life magazines full of yachts and personal jet constitution firms, they usually find yourself mixing it with us know-how folks. 

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    We expect it is a good factor, and are thrilled that the smartwatch business has precipitated the Swiss to vary their centuries-old methods, even when solely barely. But it surely means us accepting that they promote an awesome many mechanical watches with 4, 5, even six-figure value tags with out batting an eyelid. It’s difficult, due to this fact, to check the Frederique Fixed Hybrid Manufacture with the smartwatches which usually grace the pages of TechSwitch. 

    Frederique Fixed sells watches for between roughly £1,000 and £three,500, so at a fiver below £three,000, the Hybrid Manufacture matches into the vary in the identical method a Galaxy S9 does over at Samsung.

    Design and show

    • Basic Swiss watch design with metal case and alligator strap
    • Water-proof to 50 meters
    • Further sensible dial at 12 o’clock can provide three completely different items of knowledge

    The Hybrid Manufacture has an analogous design to different Frederique Fixed watches, with a chrome steel physique (rose gold is obtainable as an choice), black alligator strap, and a big however not overbearing 42mm case. Regardless of its smartness, the Hybrid Manufacture is sort of precisely the identical dimension and weight as our common non-smart watch, a Tissot PRC 200, and thus felt very acquainted as quickly as we put it on. 

    That’s to say, as soon as we had switched the strap for one which fitted higher. This author’s slim wrists couldn’t fairly be accommodated by the smallest choice on the Frederique Fixed’s strap, but when we had purchased this watch ourselves, an additional gap might simply be stamped into the strap. The strap itself is smooth, supple and has a safe clasp mechanism with the Frederique Fixed brand on the surface. 

    The case is roughly 11mm thick (the identical because the Apple Watch 3), however tapers at the back and front so feels nearer to 8mm or so, protecting it according to different non-smart watches with 42mm-wide instances. This compactness makes the Hybrid Manufacture really feel virtually dainty in comparison with the cumbersome Tag Heuer Connected Modular 41 we reviewed just lately. 

    There are 4 variations of this watch, however solely three can be found within the UK on the time of writing. These are the metal with silver dial and black alligator strap as seen on this evaluate, plus a mannequin with a rose gold plated metal case, silver dial and darkish brown alligator strap, and a metal mannequin with darkish gray dial and matching alligator strap with distinction blue stitching. A metal mannequin with navy dial and blue alligator strap is proscribed to pick out European markets. 

    Mechanical watch followers can admire the Hybrid Manufacture’s FC-750 motion by way of the sapphire crystal again. Designed and constructed in-house, the motion contains 33 jewels and has a 42-hour energy reserve, which means it’ll preserve time for nearly two full days of not being worn. An anti-magnetic defend within the case prevents the electronics from interfering with the mechanism. 

    The self-winding mechanism is activated at any time when the watch strikes, nevertheless it additionally comes with a show case with built-in rotating charger, which spins the watch to maintain it working when not worn. The case, which plugs into the mains, additionally adjustments the watch’s battery by feeding energy by way of a button on the 10 o’clock place – extra on this later.

    Sapphire can be used on the entrance of the watch, and the face consists of Roman numerals, plus a second dial at six o’clock displaying the date. A 3rd dial at 12 o’clock could be configured to point out quite a lot of issues, reminiscent of your day by day exercise, a second time zone and the watch’s battery stage, or begin a stopwatch for a run. 

    We’re followers of the Roman numerals and textured guilloche detailing within the centre of the dial. The second and third dials additionally have a look at residence right here, though the sensible dial and its varied readouts takes some getting used to. 

    The face might look cluttered at first, however every factor is thoughtfully laid out and serves to make the watch really feel extra compact than it truly is. It’s a satisfying factor to have a look at and doesn’t seem overly massive, even on smaller wrists. 

    The dial reveals three items of knowledge by displaying one always, then one briefly with one press of the 10 o’clock button, and a second briefly with two fast presses. We set the watch so it at all times reveals our day by day exercise progress, then one press shows a second time zone and two presses reveals the standing of the battery.

    That battery, by the best way, solely powers the watch’s sensible features and Bluetooth connection. If it runs out (after between six and 7 days), the time and date will proceed to perform as regular, and could be adjusted by way of the crown within the typical method.

    We have been much less impressed with the ‘Hybrid’ motiff on the face, because it reminds us of when producers slap ‘Turbo’ on a product for no cause in any respect – like on a pair of sun shades. Granted, that is genuinely a hybrid watch, however the badge ever-so-slightly cheapens the look of the timepiece, no less than to our eyes.

    To the untrained eye, there is no such thing as a cause – other than that Hybrid badge – to imagine that is something aside from a phenomenal, mechanical Swiss watch. We applaud Frederique Fixed for that, and it excites us to assume what different Swiss manufacturers (cough, Rolex…) might do by mixing a touch of tech with their traditional recipe.

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