The 2011 Heart Beat Manufacture GMT (ref. FC-938WR4H6) is Frederique Constant’s yet another resolute step towards becoming a true Manufacture, which is capable of making its own calibers.
I was somewhat surprised to know that the Swiss watchmaker again decided to make its own manufacture-grade caliber to power this new model. I mean, the move is bold because it not only requires a significant amount of cash to be invested into buying the necessary hardware but also because you need the expertise to design and build the mechanisms from scratch.
Perhaps, Frederique Constant has finally decided 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 blank calibers to third-party buyers that compete with other watchmaking brands working under the Swatch Group umbrella, other watchmakers haven’t been given a lot of moves to choose from, have they?
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 it is.)
The balance wheel is perfectly visible through a large aperture at 6 o’clock. To my taste, there is nothing to look at this cheap take on 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 is not simply painted but is enameled in a kind of off-white color that serves as a 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 the other vintage-styled timekeepers, this new ref. FC-938WR4H6 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 modest enough 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 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: 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