With its new Frederique Constant Heart Beat Manufacture GMT (ref. FC-938WR4H6), the Swiss watchmaking brand has made yet another resolute step towards becoming a real Manufacture, which is capable of making its own calibers.
I must admit that I was somewhat surprised to know that the Swiss watchmaker again decided to make its own manufacture-grade caliber to power this watch.
Perhaps, Frederique Constant plans to become a full-fledged Manufacture in order to lower its dependence on external suppliers of assembled movements.
Given the fact that ETA will gradually stop selling their ebauches to third-party buyers that compete with other watchmaking brands working under the Swatch Group umbrella, the move is only just.
Built on 27 jewels and beating at a standard pace of 28,800 vibrations per hour, the new Caliber FC-938 automatic movement not only tells current time, but also features a useful second time zone display with a nice and handy day/night indicator, which is placed at 8 hours.
Significantly increasing the movement’s desirability, Frederique Constant decorated the caliber with a circular-grained motif, as well as adorned the chamfered and rhodium-plated balance bridge with the famous Geneva stripes pattern (although, to my taste, they should have chosen some other decor for this part, as small as at is.)
The balance wheel of the ref. FC-938WR4H6 is perfectly visible through a large aperture at 6 o’clock. To my taste, there is nothing really to look at this cheap imitation of a much more expensive (and also a lot more difficult to make) tourbillon escapement.
I truly hope that one day FC will reach the level of technical expertise when it will be able to produce real tourbillons of its own.
Since the watch features an easily recognizable vintage design, the dial of the Frederique Constant Heart Beat Manufacture GMT is not simply painted, but is enameled in a kind of off-white color that serves as a very good background for the large Roman numerals painted in black ink.
The black oxidized hour and minute hands are well-proportioned and, too, are contrast enough to be perfectly visible in broad daylight (like most of other vintage-styled timekeepers, the new watch also lacks any lume on its hands, so you won’t be able to read time in total darkness.)
Being 42 millimeters in diameter, the watch is large enough to bear a kind of presence, but is still quite compact to be worn with formal attire.
According to the Swiss watchmaker, the watch will be issued as a limited edition model and will be available in two cases: stainless steel and gold limited to 1888 and 180 pieces respectively.
Photos: Frederique Constant
Frederique Constant Heart Beat Manufacture GMT Automatic (ref. FC-938WR4H6) specification
Price: $5700 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber FC-938, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 27
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: Circular-grained
Functions: Hours, minutes, GMT (second time zone)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 11.00 mm
Dial: White enamel
Hour markers: Black
Hands: Black, oxidized
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Brown alligator leather strap with buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, convex
Back: Transparent, 8 screws