Video Review of Frédérique Constant Open Heart Manufacture Moonphase ¶
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Not every watch manufacturer makes their watches from the ground-up. Many of the best known Swiss companies purchase ébauches, which are blank or unfinished, high-grade movements produced by third-party companies such as Sellita or E.T.A. Once a brand is able to create their own, in-house mechanisms, it enters a select circle of companies dubbed the Manufactures. A manufacture is able to control the quality and look of their watch mechanisms. This often leads to the creation of amazingly finished spectacles of horology in as the manufacturer attempts to distinguish them from the more common third party ébauches. Frédérique Constant is a remarkable case, because few companies serving the entry-price level luxury market have ventured into manufacture territory. In 2004 the company released an in-house movement with a skeletonized components allowing a clear view of the beating balance assembly, and giving it the name Heart Beat. Since then the Heart Beat has evolved into four distinct calibres including the automatic-winding moon phase version that is featured in the video below.
The first two Frédérique Constant watches featured in the video are Heart Beat Manufacture Moonphase and Date Automatic models. The first is fitted with a minimalistic dial that is almost completely cut out in order to display the bottom plate of the FC-935 calibre, in-house movement. The metal of the mechanism is carefully finished with Côte de Genèves and creates a fantastically raw, but elegant look that highlights the high-grade mechanical movement. The effect is hard to relay through images and video. Although watching the video below in Full 1080HD might give a good idea, this is a timepiece worth seeing live. Later in the video I compare the Côtes de Genève model with the standard model, which offers a smaller view of the finished movement. The phases of the moon and date are displayed very neatly in a subsidiary dial at Twelve o'clock. The overall look is very elegant and classic, capturing the essence of traditional watchmaking, but the Heart Beat Manufactures are far from boring or plain. The 42mm size and wide leather strap are contemporary. I am particularly fond of the round onion crown that Frédérique Constant uses. It is not as conspicuous as those found on Big Pilot style watches, but is a nice clin d'oeil to wristwatches of the Thirties and Forties.