A BEAUTIFUL COMBINATION OF CLASSIC WATCHMAKING AND HIGH-TECH INNOVATION
Frederique Constant unveils a technological breakthrough in the field of precision timekeeping. Redefining the principles of mechanical watch regulation, the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture delivers industry-leading precision by ticking ten times faster than most mechanical movements.
AN ASTONISHING 288.000 VIBRATIONS PER HOUR
Frederique Constant replaces the 26 components of its standard assortment with a single component fitted with two regulation weights. Made of monocrystalline silicon, the Monolithic oscillator also integrates the escapement anchor in its flexible structure.
Thanks to the clever engineering of the oscillator’s flexures and geometry, Frederique Constant’s team reduced its dimensions to the size of a conventional regulator and increased its frequency for enhanced accuracy. While many traditional mechanical movements operate at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, the Monolithic Manufacture represents the first Swiss-made mechanical watch oscillating ten times faster at an astonishing 288,000 vibrations per hour, or 40 Hz. Despite this high-speed frequency, the efficiency of the mechanism delivers a substantial 80-hour power reserve.
A REVOLUTIONARY OSCILLATOR
Etched from silicon, its oscillator replaces an assembly of several parts and eliminates many of the major weaknesses of mechanical watches. Thanks to its specific design and reduced size, the revolutionary high-frequency oscillator has been designed to fit inside a traditional movement configuration. Housed inside a 40mm case with an aperture on the dial to view the oscillator, this cutting-edge technology is available at a price that respects the brand’s commitment to accessible luxury.
A COLLABORATION WITH FLEXOUS
The idea behind the Monolithic Oscillator was born during an encounter between Peter Stas, co-founder and former CEO of Frederique Constant, and Dr Nima Tolou, founder and CEO of Flexous, an innovative horology-oriented technology branch of YES!Delft, a leading Dutch tech incubator. Following their encounter, the Frederique Constant team commissioned Flexous with the production of a unique, flexible oscillating system with distinctive specifications. Gathering high profile, multi-disciplinary expertise, a joint project between the Frederique Constant and Flexous teams was launched.
A REVOLUTION IN PRECISION TIMEKEEPING – THE MONOLITHIC OSCILLATOR
The new topology of the flexures and masses has permitted the creation of an unprecedented compact size for a flexure pivot oscillator (9.8mm in diameter and 0.3mm in thickness). For the very first time, the anchor has been integrated within the flexure. The revolutionary design combines high-frequency (40 Hz) with low amplitude (6° versus ~300° for a regular balance wheel).
THE 30th MANUFACTURE MOVEMENT
It soon became apparent to Frederique Constant’s watchmakers that a traditional gear train could not cope with the breakneck speed of a 40Hz regulator. This led to the design of a completely new base movement – automatic calibre FC-810 – capable of performing with the speed of the new silicon oscillator. The entire kinetic chain had to be re-engineered, and the gear train was fitted with four wheels between the barrel and the escape pinion, instead of the three wheels found in a conventional movement. However, the efficiency of the regulator still manages to deliver a substantial 80-hour power reserve.
The choice of material for the oscillator eliminates key weaknesses of traditional 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.
INNOVATION ENCAPSULATED IN A BEAUTIFUL TIMEPIECE
Presented in a 40mm round case, the new watch features an elegant dial with a guilloché/stamped hobnail pattern, printed Roman numerals paired with Breguet-style hands. The signature Frederique Constant Heart Beat was the perfect model to showcase the pulsating oscillator of the watch in an aperture at 6 o’clock. The pointer date at 12 o’clock creates a classic counterpoint to the high-tech oscillator at 6 o’clock.
On the reverse side, an exhibition caseback offers an unimpeded view of the automatic FC-810 calibre. Its traditional decoration combines Geneva stripes with perlage, and the oscillating weight is openworked.