Frederique Constant smartwatch review: Time-tested activity tracking in a beautiful Swiss watch

August 7, 2015

This gorgeous Swiss watch tracks steps and sleep, and promises two generous years of battery life.

Fanny packs. Dad jeans. Bright yellow mock turtlenecks purchased at the Gap circa 1991, and still worn defiantly, inexplicably, today. If you wear any of these items, feel free to accessorize your outfit with a touchscreen smartwatch. You’re already style-compromised, and the smartwatch can’t do any more damage.

But if your fashion tastes are a bit more—oh, I don’t know… discerning—then consider the new “horological smartwatch” from Frederique Constant. It’s a legitimate Swiss-made watch with a built-in accelerometer for step- and sleep-tracking. Like the other watches based on MMT’s smartwatch platform, it marries sophisticated aesthetics with the same MotionX algorithms you’ll find in a number of big-name activity-tracking wristbands. And battery life is rated for a full two years.

That’s 729 more days of battery life than today’s typical touchscreen smartwatch. That’s a really big deal.


The MMT watches don’t provide smartphone notifications like smartwatches from Apple, Pebble and all of Google’s Android Wear partners. And that’s also a really big deal. But the $995 Frederique Constant model I’ve been testing for the past week is packed with retro-mechanical intrigue. It doesn’t look like a toy, gadget or sci-fi movie prop. And its look aligns with my fashion sense, which errs toward heritage brands likeGustin and Billy Reid, not Daft Punk’s House of Cyborg Apparel.

Or the Gap of the early 90s.

The best smartwatches from the big consumer electronics companies have their place. But there’s just no replacement for the delicate moving hands, polished raised indices, and convex sapphire crystal of a traditional Swiss wristwatch.

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Mondaine Beats Tag Heuer To The Luxury Swiss Smartwatch Punch

July 31, 2015

While the world waits for the “first luxury smartwatch” to arrive by way of the much-anticipated Tag Heuer Carrera Wearable 01, Swiss rival Mondaine looks to have stolen an early march.

The Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart Watch has just been put up for pre-order, with a limited run of 1,957 models going on sale. Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger created the Helvetica font in 1957, in case you were wondering.


First announced back in March at the Baselworld watch expo, Mondaine’s smartwatch is technically more of an activity tracker than an Android Wear rival. It records steps, sleep and calorie burn and offers wearers smart alarms and activity alerts.

The Helvetica 1 Smart Watch is packed with Silicon Valley tech – Fullpower Technologies’ MotionX platform is the driving force behind the motion detection. MotionX is also built into the hugely successful Nike Fuelband, as well as a trio of different Jawbone devices.

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Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatches Now Available in Stores, Powered by Silicon Valley’s Fullpower Technology Platform

June 30, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – June 30, 2015) – Swiss watch manufacturer Frederique Constant and Fullpower Technologies from Silicon Valley are pleased to announce that the first Horological Smartwatches, luxury timepieces with connected functionality, are officially available in stores. The first watches have shipped from the Frederique Constant Manufacture in Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva, to customers in Switzerland and the USA. Shipments worldwide are starting as well.

After three years of research and development, in collaboration with Fullpower Technologies Inc. of Santa Cruz, California, and Manufacture Modules Technologies Sàrl, Frederique Constant was the first Swiss watchmaker to unveil the Horological Smartwatch, powered by MotionX®, last February. The MotionX platform provides the most accurate and advanced data regarding the quantified self, including sleep and activity tracking, all with over two years of battery life. After the enthusiasm generated by the initial launch, Frederique Constant presented four additional models for gentlemen during Baselworld in March.

The Horological Smartwatch has all the attributes of a beautiful Swiss watch fully integrated with Fullpower’s end-to-end MotionX® horological smartwatch technology platform. Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatches are currently available in five different styles, in the accessible luxury price range from $1,000 to $1,400.

“These Frederique Constant watches are beautiful, smart and connected with over two years of battery life and the most complete and accurate quantified self implementation,” said Peter Stas, CEO of Frederique Constant. “With their timeless, analogue dial designs, Frederique Constant has created a smartwatch that combines classical design that we love with the technical innovation that we want.”

“Frederique Constant did a magnificent job implementing the MotionX MMT Platform,” said Philippe Kahn, CEO and founder of Fullpower-MotionX. “These are wonderful horological smartwatches.”

The Frederique Constant Swiss Horological Smartwatches support the following functionality:

  • 2+ years battery life
  • Always-on time & date
  • MotionX® activity tracking
  • Sleeptracker® sleep monitoring
  • Sleep cycle alarms
  • Get-Active alerts
  • Dynamic coaching
  • Automatic Over-the-Air watch software updates are available on both iOS and Android


About Frederique Constant
Frederique Constant is a family owned watch manufacturer based in Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva, Switzerland. The company is involved in all stages of watch production, from initial design, to final assembly and quality control. Frederique Constant develops, manufactures, and assembles in-house calibers, 18 different versions since 2004. Frederique Constant watches are defined by their high quality and differentiation and precision in design and manufacturing. Their perceived value, through quality of design, materials, and manufacture, is a key component of their success. Each watch is assembled by hand, with the latest equipment and extensive controls, to ensure maximum quality and durability. The company embraces innovation to offer creativity and exceptional value. Its 32,000 square foot facility in Geneva is ultra modern and offers the best environment for its passionate watchmakers.

About Fullpower
Founded in 2003, Fullpower’s world-class team leads the wearable and IoT revolution. The MotionX platform includes a suite of tightly coupled and integrated firmware, software, and communication components that are the building blocks for new breakthrough non-invasive, wearable wireless and IoT devices with ultra-long battery life. The Swiss Horological Smartwatch is powered by Fullpower’s MotionX® technology platform and provides a comprehensive summary of its user’s daily progress, including activity and sleep. Fullpower drives wearable and IoT solutions for market leaders such as Nike, Serta, Simmons, MMT, Alpina, Frederique Constant, Mondaine, Jawbone, and others. The Fullpower wearable patent portfolio includes more than 100 issued and pending patents relating to sleep monitoring, activity tracking, bands, pods, smartwatches, eyewear, clothing, sensor-fusion technologies, health, medical applications, wellness, and machine learning.

About MMT
MMT (Manufacture Modules Technologies Sàrl) is a new Swiss joint venture formed by Fullpower Technologies, Inc. of Silicon Valley and the owners of the Frederique Constant Group. Its mission is to bring the MotionX-365® Horological Smartwatch Open Platform to the Swiss watch industry. Fullpower creates and licenses the schematic design, firmware, smartphone applications, and cloud infrastructure to MMT. MMT manages the development and production of Swiss watch movements (also referred to as modules) incorporating Fullpower’s technology, and licenses, and provides support for, the MotionX-365® Horological Smartwatch Platform to the Swiss watch industry. MMT’s headquarters are in Geneva.

Can big data help you get a good night’s sleep?

June 29, 2015

An employee of Fullpower Technologies, rigged for a sleep study in the ­company’s lab.

An employee of Fullpower Technologies, rigged for a sleep study in the ­company’s lab. Right: The “head box” transfers input from body ­sensors to a base station that processes the data to ­create a personal polysomnogram. Photographs by Ian Allen for Fortune

Large-scale computing power, combined with input from millions of fitness trackers, could help unlock the mysteries of our national insomnia.

I’m playing tennis with Marissa Mayer, and oddly, the Yahoo YHOO -2.07% CEO is wearing a pearlescent purple gown and sipping from a teacup. Her dress is just long enough to obscure her feet, so she appears to be floating across the baseline. As she strikes the ball, she tips her chin skyward and laughs in slow motion.

Meanwhile, I’m perched in the lotus position atop a manta ray that’s hovering above the ground like some kind of Landspeeder. And I’m panicking. How can I keep my balance and still hit the ball—especially with my shirt collar pulling at my neck the way it is? Can’t swing my racket. I jerk my head left. Then right. I claw at my jawline. The ball has cleared the net, and it’s headed my way. If only. I could. Just. Move. My head.

And poof. She’s gone. I open my eyes in a strange room. It’s pitch dark and completely silent, but I manage to find my bearings. Santa Cruz, Calif. Breathing heavily, I carefully disentangle a gaggle of wires twisted around my neck and roll over to glance at the clock. Just after 3 a.m.



This scene, I now know, was merely one of 18 REM-sleep interruptions that I experienced between 11:18 p.m. and 6:16 a.m. during one long February night. What a strange setting for the only dream I’ve ever had about a chief executive: in a laboratory, tethered to a byzantine apparatus designed to monitor my brain activity as well as every breath, eye movement, muscle twitch, and heartbeat.

Let me explain. Like you and probably everyone you know, I’ve always been confounded by my sleep routine. Why do I one morning rise ready to tackle the day and the next seem barely able to lift my head? How much rest can I be getting if I wake up sideways with the covers on the floor and my wife in the guest room? Most important, what can I do better? I don’t want a magic pill. I’ve tried those. I know the rules of thumb: less stress, more exercise, better diet, no afternoon caffeine, put down the damn phone. But I’d kill for a personalized formula.

So I subjected myself to a polysomnography test, or PSG, hoping to unravel some of the mysteries of the night. My procedure was administered in the offices of Fullpower Technologies, one floor down from where I had spent most of the evening talking with the company’s founder and CEO, Philippe Kahn.

A French expatriate who grew up in Paris, Kahn, 63, is a Silicon Valley oracle whose track record predates the web. He founded Borland Software (acquired by Micro Focus) MCFUF -1.09% in the mid-1980s, followed by Starfish software (Motorola) and LightSurf Technologies (VeriSign) VRSN -1.53% . In 1997, while anticipating the birth of his daughter, he paired a state-of-the-art Casio CSIOY 0.51% camera with a Motorola Startac and became, he claims, the first person to transmit a digital photo over cellular airwaves. He’s also been a leader in wearable technologies.

Philippe Kahn says Fullpower is “operating a huge sleep experiment unlike anything anyone has ever done.”

Philippe Kahn says Fullpower is “operating a huge sleep experiment unlike anything anyone has ever done.” Photograph by Ian Allen for Fortune

That’s precisely the focus of Fullpower, which licenses its software to other companies. Nearly five dozen framed patents for wearable-related software and devices hang on the wall in the company’s lobby. The oldest dates to 2005, long before tracking steps became such a phenomenon. In the conference room there’s an assembly of chairs and tables around a full-size bed, making obvious Kahn’s latest obsession.

Fullpower built the lab about a decade ago to capture data from sleep patterns. Of course, test subjects don’t typically snooze deeply with wires glued to their skulls, chests, legs, and arms. But almost everyone manages to at least nod off for a while, and the data that subjects generate are valuable and often surprising. “What we found early on is that sometimes you sleep less and feel more refreshed,” Kahn says. “It’s because you woke up in the light part of the sleep cycle.” The insight led him to develop a sleep-cycle alarm that could determine the best time to alert a person within a certain window. “Sometimes it’s better to get up at 10 of seven than at seven,” he says.

Kahn insists that he’s on the cusp of many more such discoveries, and he’s intent on dispelling some of the conventional wisdom that stresses people out. “People say that if you can’t sleep for eight hours without waking up, something’s wrong with you. That’s such a fallacy,” he says. “Before electricity, people used to sleep in two shifts. That’s how I behave. Sleep for four hours, get up and do an hour and a half of work, and then another four.” He’s also skeptical of the notion that a quiet room is the best environment for shut-eye and dismisses the perceived deleterious effects of repeated rousing. “The sign of good sleep hygiene may not be how many times you wake up, but rather how rapidly you fall back to sleep. Sleep should be like hunger. Eat only when you’re hungry and until you’re satisfied.”

Fullpower has oceans of data to back Kahn’s theories. The company provides the sleep-tracking and activity-monitoring software for the Jawbone UP and Nike Fuel NKE -1.09% wearable devices as well as a new line of Swiss-made smartwatches and the forthcoming Simmons Sleeptracker Smartbed. The products transmit a mother lode of information (with users’ consent) to Kahn’s team. He thinks that by combining qualitative lab data and quantitative real-world data with machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other analytics technologies, he can unlock the secrets that so many of us walking dead are looking for: a better night’s sleep. “We’re operating a huge sleep experiment, worldwide, unlike anything anyone has ever done,” he says. “We have 250 million nights of sleep in our database, and we’re using all the latest technologies to make sense of it.”

Kahn is not alone. He’s part of a movement of brilliant entrepreneurs, data scientists, engineers, and academics who are looking at demographics, geographies, and lifestyles, and even into our genomes. They’re the beneficiaries of a historic explosion in sleep data, and they’re using many of the same technologies that are busily decoding some of the world’s other great mysteries. Tiny sensors, big data, analytics, and cloud computing can predict machine breakage, pinpoint power outages, and build better supply chains. Why not put them to work to optimize the most valuable complex system of all, the human body?


It’s not an exaggeration to say lack of sleep is killing us. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls it a public health epidemic and estimates that as many as 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder. Sleep deprivation has been linked to clinical depression, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving causes 1,550 deaths and 40,000 injuries annually in the U.S.  There are 84 sleep disorders, and some 100 million people—80% of them undiagnosed—suffer from one of them in particular: Obstructive sleep apnea, generally indicated by snoring, costs the U.S. economy as much as $165 billion a year, according to a Harvard Medical School study. That’s more than asthma, heart failure, stroke, hypertension, or drunk driving. And the study doesn’t account for tangential effects, like loss of intimacy and divorce. BCC Research predicts that the global market for sleep-aid products—everything from specialty mattresses and high-tech pillows to drugs and at-home tests—will hit $76.7 billion by 2019.

The financial upside for anyone who can crack the sleep code is obvious. And so the race is on. “I believe that 15 years from now, if we do this right, we can actually tackle epidemics like obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and any number of lifestyle diseases,” says Kahn. “We’re going to help people live longer and better lives.”

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Fullpower Receives International Patent on Intelligent Waking for Mobile Devices

June 24, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (June 24th, 2015)- Fullpower® today announced it has been awarded an important international patent covering intelligent waking for mobile devices. This provides a method and system to wake up a device due to motion, helping to maximize battery life.


“This addition to the patents on the intelligent control of mobile devices, already issued in the U.S., further strengthens Fullpower’s mobile IP and patent portfolio,” said Philippe Kahn, CEO of Fullpower. “Intelligent control of mobile devices provides a combination of power conservation and immediate availability of mobile features for the user.”


This patent is part of an intellectual property portfolio from Fullpower that includes more than 100 issued and pending patents. Broad coverage for the MotionX® Technology Platform and Sleeptracker® technology introduces a new and necessary approach for continuous activity and sleep monitoring and analysis, with applications spanning a variety of smartwatches, activity trackers and the smart bed, as well as health and fitness, medical, business, lifestyle and navigation applications. Fullpower’s ongoing innovation translates into continually broadening and deepening of this sensor-fusion patent portfolio.


Important Links:


About Fullpower
Fullpower® provides the leading MotionX patented ecosystem for wearable and IoT sensor-based solutions supporting state-of-the-art sensor arrays. For the “Quantified Self”, Fullpower has developed the MotionX® Technology Platform for advanced wearables, smartwatches and the smart bed that include automatic activity and sleep monitoring. Fullpower drives wearable and IoT solutions for market leaders such as Nike, Serta, Simmons, MMT, Alpina, Frederique Constant, Mondaine, Jawbone and others.


US Patent 8,872,646: Method and System for Waking Up a Device Due to Motion


fullpower patent US887264F


Serta Simmons Bedding and Fullpower Technologies Announce Strategic Partnership

June 21, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO, (June 22nd, 2015)- Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC (“Serta Simmons Bedding”) and Fullpower Technologies, Inc. (“Fullpower”) announced today they have formed a strategic partnership to create a revolutionary new smart bed system leveraging Fullpower’s patented Sleeptracker® technology. This partnership brings together the iconic Beautyrest® and Serta® brands with Fullpower’s leading patented sleep technology platform, powered by data science and optimized with research from more than 200 million nights of sleep.


Fullpower Simmons Smartbed


“To build the smart bed, we evaluated many potential technology partners and Fullpower’s Sleeptracker technology platform stands out as the clear leader,” said Michael Hofmann, Executive Vice President of Research & Innovation for Serta Simmons Bedding. “The Serta Simmons Bedding and Fullpower teams immediately clicked.” Mr. Hofmann went on to say “If you’re serious about improving the quality of one’s sleep, you first must know how that individual is currently sleeping. Are they getting the proper amount of restorative sleep? Only then can you begin to add true value in helping them improve their sleep.”


“Every bedroom needs a smart bed, and with their reputation for innovation and quality, Serta Simmons Bedding is our ideal partner,” said Philippe Kahn, CEO of Fullpower. “Together we can help redefine the sleep industry.”


Additional details regarding features and availability will be announced soon.


About Serta Simmons Bedding
Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC (“SSB”) owns and manages two of the largest bedding brands in the mattress industry ­ National Bedding Company L.L.C. (the largest licensee and majority shareholder of Serta, Inc.) and Simmons Bedding Company, LLC. SSB is based in Atlanta and operates 36 manufacturing plants in the United States, five in Canada and one in Puerto Rico. Its subsidiary, National Bedding Company L.L.C., is based in suburban Chicago and markets a broad range of products under the Serta® brand, including Perfect Sleeper®, iComfort®, iSeries®, Sertapedic® and a portfolio of licensed products. SSB’s other subsidiary, Simmons Bedding Company, LLC, is based in Atlanta and markets a broad range of products including Beautyrest®, Beautyrest Black® and BeautySleep®. Both companies also serve as key suppliers of beds to many of the world’s leading hotel groups and resort properties.


About Fullpower
Fullpower® provides the leading MotionX patented ecosystem for wearable and IoT sensor-based solutions supporting state-of-the-art sensor arrays. For the “Quantified Self”, Fullpower has developed the MotionX® Technology Platform for advanced wearables and smartwatches that include automatic activity and sleep monitoring. Fullpower drives sensor-based solutions for market leaders such as Nike, MMT, Alpina, Frederique Constant, Mondaine, Jawbone and others. For more information, visit


Can the Swiss Watchmaker Survive the Digital Age?

June 3, 2015

Masters of one of the world’s most revered forms of analog craftsmanship take on the smartwatch.


Pim Koeslag designs and fabricates some of the world’s most complicated mechanical timepieces. Especially ambitious is his Grand Tourbillon Minute Repeater, created for Ateliers deMonaco, a watch company he helped start. When I visited his bright, sunlit factory in Geneva in May, he opened a refrigerator-size safe to show me one of them.


“If you want to go for the real complex stuff,” he said, “here it is.” The watch, a gorgeous chunk of white gold, includes more than 400 painstakingly machined, polished and hand-assembled parts. One of them is a circular metal gong, struck by small hammers that mark the time with two-tone melodies. The watch’s mechanisms — including its “balance wheel,” whose oscillation is visible through an opening in the watch face — are so precise that the device loses or gains only two seconds a day. The Grand Tourbillon Minute Repeater sells for just over $200,000, and Koeslag has made just eight of them.




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Deep inside the smart Swiss watches that challenge Apple Watch with analog panache

April 24, 2015

Philippe Kahn is a big man with a big personality and big feelings about Swiss watches. He’s got a massive Alpina model on his wrist, and he’s bragging about how the watch is water-resistant down to 100 meters, and can last more than two years on its built-in battery.


He hands me a different Alpina. This one is for women. It’s smaller and more delicate with hand-set diamonds. Next Kahn celebrates a trio of watches from Frederique Constant, another Swiss brand. Their aesthetic is more deliberately urbane than a snifter of brandy. The fanciest of the three models has rose-gold plating that’s been polished to a concours-level shine.


Kahn didn’t design the watches, but he’s helping to bring them to market—and he’s very, very eager to explain what they represent. He’s the CEO of Fullpower, the company that developed the MotionX activity-tracking algorithms for the Nike Fuelband and the first three Jawbone UP wristbands. And now Fullpower is aiming to bring that same step- and sleep-tracking technology to real Swiss watches.





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Fullpower Launches MotionX for the Apple Watch

April 23, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (April 23rd, 2015)- Fullpower® today announced the launch of the MotionX® Technology Platform for the Apple Watch with MotionX-GPS, the top selling off-road navigation app for the iPhone.


MotionX-GPS with Apple Watch


The MotionX-GPS Apple Watch interface enables users to quickly and conveniently:

  • Start/stop/pause recordings
  • View current speed, recorded distance, and ascent/descent while recording a track
  • View your current location on a map
  • Mark waypoints
  • View progress toward a waypoint destination

MotionX-GPS is immediately available for $0.99 from the App Store on iPhone or at


MotionX-GPS with Apple Watch


About Fullpower
Fullpower® provides the leading MotionX patented ecosystem for wearable and IoT sensor-based solutions supporting state-of-the-art sensor arrays. For the “Quantified Self”, Fullpower has developed the MotionX® Technology Platform for advanced wearables and smartwatches that include automatic activity and sleep monitoring. Fullpower drives wearable solutions for market leaders such as Nike, MMT, Alpina, Frederique Constant, Mondaine, Jawbone and others.


MotionX boss on creating a better future for wearable tech

April 8, 2015

And why he’s thankful the company stayed clear of the Jawbone UP3


MotionX boss on creating a better future for wearable tech And why he's thankful the company stayed clear of the Jawbone UP3


Philippe Kahn has been in the quantified self game longer than most. You may not have heard of MotionX, his activity tracking technology, but it’s been at the forefront of wearables since the very beginning.


MotionX was the brains behind the ubiquitous Jawbone UP24, and after powering Nike’s fitness tracking empire it’s now at the heart of the first Swiss-made smartwatches from Mondaine, Alpina and Frederique Constant.


So why switch from the likes of Jawbone to the Swiss watch old guard?


With twelve years of fitness science and 100 million hours of data, he believes Fitbit, Jawbone, and Apple are missing a trick.


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