What can be seen now as a natural collection for Frederique Constant was not that of a gimmick and neither just another collection, back in 1994. When it has been introduced, the Frederique Constant HeartBeat was a sort of first of its kind. Showing the beating heart of a watch on the dial was not that usual, apart from the high-end tourbillon. This HeartBeat collection has expanded since then, and continues to do so this year, with two new references. Here are the 2016 Frederique Constant HeartBeat Manufacture Watches, with new dials and one edition with Date by Hand.
The Frederique Constant HeartBeat
The first Frederique Constant Heartbeat timepiece was launched in 1994. The purpose of the HeartBeat development was to show that these models were mechanical. With this in mind, the brand added an aperture at the position of the balance wheel to show the beauty of the mechanical movement, of its “heartbeat”. At the time, this was a very innovative creation – remember that in 1994, mechanical watches were only coming back, after decades of Quartz hegemony. Having a mechanical watch was still a privilege, something rather unusual and something that was reserved to limited amount of connoisseurs. So to say, it was something to be proud of. This is the reason why Frederique Constant chose to expose the balance wheel at 12, in an aperture on the dial.
An early Frederique Constant HeartBeat from 1994
The first Frederique Constant HeartBeat Manufacture (with the brand’s own movement) – 2004
The first Frederique Constant HeartBeat watches were based on an ETA movement, explaining the position of the balance wheel. In 2004, to gain in creativity and independence, the brand launched its first ever in-house movement, which happened to be a HeartBeat Manufacture movement. Major changes were applied to this new watch, such as shifting the “heartbeat” to 6 – and a wish to show the beating heart even more on the dial, with a dedicated bridge, widely opened, and a larger aperture on the dial. In the following years, several modifications were made to the original design, complications have been added and an overall of 9 models followed.
The 2016 Frederique Constant HeartBeat Manufacture Watches with Date by Hand
As you can see when comparing the 2004 edition to the present new watches, the concept has evolved smoothly, keeping the bases of what is a successful collection for the brand. The new Frederique Constant HeartBeat Manufacture for 2016 remain close in terms of design and mechanics and, of course, still expose proudly the balance wheel and the hairspring at 6. The aperture is here still surrounded by a drop-shaped bridge (which also serves as a cock for the balance), with polished bevels, blued screws and Geneva stripes – adding some mechanical and horological value to these watches. Within the years, the case has evolved, again quite slowly. It is now 42mm in diameter and shows more angular shapes, with straight lugs and flanks, while the bezel is still rounded and polished. The onion crown, again a hallmark of Frederique Constant, is still in position.
This watch having a manufacture movement, it allowed the brand to show the interesting parts on the dial side – fine regulation and spiral are now positioned on the reverse side of normal watches, thus being visible when worn. In the same vein, the bridge is opened and relatively thin to leave the view on the regulating organ free. Even some of the wheel that drive the hands are visible. No one will even have doubt on the mechanical pedigree of your watch. The 2016 editions of the Frederique Constant HeartBeat Manufacture also feature new dials, in two colors, however with different displays.
Both of them have a large hour track with Roman numerals and a railroad minute track on the periphery. In the middle, both have a herringbone pattern. What differs is that the blue one feature a date by hand at 12, while the white edition of the Frederique Constant HeartBeat Manufacture retain a classical 2-hand display (hours and minutes). These two watches rely on the automatic version of the HeartBeat movement, launched in 2006. The white one has the Calibre FC-930 and the blue one the Calibre FC-941. These movements (same base) beat at 4Hz and boast 42 hours of power reserve. As you can see on the photos, they now feature silicon escapements – visible with the violet / blue color.
These two new editions of the Frederique Constant HeartBeat Manufacture are now available in store and will be priced at 3,500 Swiss Francs (for the white dial, 2-hand version) and 4,590 Swiss Francs (for the blue dial, date-by-hand edition). More details here.
Specifications of the Frederique Constant HeartBeat Manufacture
- Case: 42mm diameter – stainless steel, polished – sapphire crystal on front and on the caseback – 50m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre FC-930-2 (white dial) or Calibre FC-941, in-house developed and manufactured – automatic winding – power reserve of 42 hours – 28,800bph – Hours, minutes, visible regulating organ (and additional date on the blue version)
- Strap: alligator leather on steel buckle
- Ref. FC-930MS4H6 (white dial) ref. FC-941NS4H6 (blue dial)