Alpina watch

Alpina’s new smartwatch

Frederique Constant, its sister brand Alpina, and Mondaine have all launched their first smartwatches today. But these are smartwatches with a difference. Gone is the LED or LCD screen usually associated with smart technology and in its place is something that looks like a well-designed Swiss timepiece.

The only clue as to its capabilities is the sub-dial at six o’clock that all these watches share.

This isn’t a small-seconds or an annual calendar, but an analogue representation of the smart technology that is at the heart of this timepiece.

Frederique Constant watch

The Frederique Constant smartwatch showcasing the sub-dial

Inside this watch is the latest in smart technology focused on monitoring activity and sleep, featuring MotionX® activity tracking, Sleeptracker® sleep monitoring, Sleep cycle alarms, Get-Active alerts and Smart coaching – all the data from which can be backed up and stored in the MotionX cloud.

It uses the Fullpower MotionX Technology Platform, which manages the bi-directional communication between the watch and whichever device, be it phone or tablet, it is connected to via the downloaded app. In complete contrast to other smart devices, where the data is shown digitally on the watch, the information is read in an analogue fashion via the sub dial.

This technology has been made possible thanks to Peter Stas, CEO of the Frederique Constant Group, and Philippe Kahn, founder of Fullpower Technologies and the first man who, back in 1997, managed to instantly upload a camera phone picture to a public network thanks to the technology he created.

The two men have set up Manufacture de Movements et Technologies (MMT) a Swiss-based company, operating out of Plan-Les-Ouates, dedicated to creating watches that straddle the two worlds of horology and technology. Along with Frederique Constant and Alpina, Mondaine is currently the only other brand licensed to use this groundbreaking quartz calibre, which has a battery life of two years – a dramatic improvement on most smartwatches.

Mondaine watch

Mondaine has housed the technology in its Helvetica watch

Mondaine has chosen to place the technology in its Helvetica watch, which was launched last year at Baselworld. Frederique Constant and Alpina will house the smart capabilities in a new collection. The former will comprise four men’s watches in rose-gold plate, steel, bracelet or strap, based on the FC-285 quartz calibre and in 42mm case.

Alpina will have a women’s version, in a 39mm case using the AL-285 quartz calibre with diamond markers, but the option of having diamonds on the bezel or not. There will be a men’s version but that will be unveiled at BaselWorld. The other models will also be shown at the fair and will be available to buy later on this year.

With the Apple Watch supposedly launching in March as well, it will be interesting to see whether consumers opt for something overtly “smart”, or decide to covertly display their smart credentials.

Either way, this is an interesting development for the smart sector and one that puts as much emphasis on the word “watch” as the word “smart”, which we certainly haven’t seen before.


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