Marking a world premiere, Frederique Constant presents a silicon oscillator beating at an unprecedented pace of 288,000 vibrations per hour or 40 Hz. Redefining the principles of mechanical watch regulation, the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture ticks ten times faster than most mechanical movements. Thanks to its innovative design and reduced size, this revolutionary high-frequency silicon oscillator fits inside a traditional movement configuration. The 40mm Slimline Monolithic Manufacture is the proud recipient of this groundbreaking oscillator, the first watch in the world to boast a 40Hz frequency combined with a price that reflects the brand’s commitment to accessible luxury.
The Genesis – A Collaboration with Flexous
The idea behind the Monolithic Oscillator was born three years ago during an encounter between Peter Stas, co-founder and former CEO of Frederique Constant, and Dr. Nima Tolou, founder and CEO of Flexuous, an independent, innovative horology-oriented technology branch of YES! Delft is specializing in compliant or flexible mechanisms. Following their encounter, the Frederique Constant team commissioned Flexous to produce a unique, flexible oscillating system. The technical mandates were clear: a size comparable to that of a traditional balance, the highest possible frequency; an 80-hour power reserve; and a cost-effective formula allowing the manufacture of significant quantities at a reasonable price.
A Revolution in Precision Timekeeping – The Monolithic Oscillator
With the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, Frederique Constant replaces the 26 components of a standard assortment with a single component fitted with two regulation weights. Thanks to a new geometry of flexures and masses, the size of the oscillator (9.8mm diameter x 0.3mm thickness) was substantially reduced to match for the first time that of a conventional regulator. Another factor that kept the dimensions in check created an ultrathin oscillator and kept all functions in one thin silicon layer was integrating the anchor system in the flexures. The third innovation responds to the adjustment weights used to regulate the flexure oscillator (just like the system used in a traditional free-sprung balance). This feature allows watchmakers to fine-tune the frequency with exceptional ease.
The oscillator is made of monocrystalline silicon, a material that eliminates key weaknesses of traditionally sprung balances. Monocrystalline silicon is 100% anti-magnetic, resilient to oscillations in temperature, less sensitive to gravity, and four times lighter than a regular assortment. The absence of mechanical coupling means a lower generation of friction and wear on the parts. Consequently, less power is needed to drive the escapement wheel and the oscillating system. Finally, yet importantly, silicon does not require lubrication, enhancing the long-term reliability of the escapement.
The 30th Movement from Frederique Constant’s Manufacture
Because a traditional gear train cannot cope with the breakneck speed of a 40Hz regulator, Frederique Constant’s watchmakers designed a new base movement – automatic caliber FC-810. Capable of performing at the rate of the latest silicon oscillator, the caliber also delivers a substantial 80-hour power reserve.
Slimline Monolithic Manufacture
The Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, a three-hand with pointer date, is the first model to bear this groundbreaking oscillator. Presented in a 40mm round case, the new watch features an elegant, classic dial with a guilloché hobnail pattern, printed Roman numerals paired with Breguet-style hands. The pulsating oscillator of the watch is revealed in an aperture at 6 o’clock.
On the reverse side, an exhibition case back offers an unimpeded view of the automatic FC-810 caliber. Its traditional decoration combines Geneva stripes with perlage, and the oscillating weight is openworked.
The model is available in three limited editions: 810 pieces in stainless steel with blue dial and 810 pieces in stainless steel with a silver color dial with a retail price of EUR 4,495, and 81 pieces in 18k pink gold retailing for EUR 14,995.