The new Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture
Friday - 23 April 2021
A ground-breaking revelation – the new Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture houses the world’s thinnest and fastest oscillator crafted from pure silicon – a concept designed alongside experts at Flexous.
Although the Swiss watch industry is constantly unveiling new horological breakthroughs, it may surprise you to learn that the way in which mechanical watches are regulated has changed very little, if in fact at all, since the development of the Swiss lever escapement and the balance spring centuries ago. But all that is about to change...
Innovation is a word used all too often throughout the Swiss watch industry but the mechanism that Frederique Constant has just unveiled is most worthy of that description. The Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture is simply ground-breaking. It was born of a “less is more” concept – a message that couldn’t be any truer in all senses of the word. The very first in-house Frederique Constant mechanical movement began development during the year 2000 and became the beating heart to one of the brand’s timepieces in 2004. After this came a tourbillon, a perpetual calendar, a flyback chronograph and, of course, the first Swiss Horological Smartwatch – all developed in house by the Frederique Constant team. Now comes a new crowning glory to the manufacturer’s heritage, and It’s all about the oscillator…
The new Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture is a world premiere and is the company’s 30th manufactured movement to date. Its silicone oscillator, entirely anti-magnetic, replaces 26 crucial components normally found in a conventional mechanical movement. There are some fundamental benefits to note about this new oscillator. Its remarkably reduced design is tailored to fit inside a regular movement. To cope with its high frequency, specialists at Frederique Constant have developed a whole new calibre – the Frederique Constant Calibre 810.
Collaborating with Flexous experts
To create the oscillator for the new Frederique Constant Monolithic Manufacture – the company collaborated with Flexous – an independent horological technology company that specialises in developing flexible parts (AKA flexible compliant mechanisms) for mechanical movements. Using the manufacturer’s expertise combined with Frederique Constant’s traditional approach to authentic Swiss watchmaking - the flexible watch part works by deforming and manipulating itself flexibly, which in turn reduces friction and wear and tear. It has now been mechanically proven that this mechanism outperforms traditional mechanical movements. Made from one thin layer of silicon, the new development is monolithic and therefore eradicates the layer-upon-layer structure that is normally seen in an automatic movement, thus reducing its overall thickness.
Precision, accuracy and run time are all improved with the development of the debut Flexous component. You may as well consider intolerances virtually non-existent since both wear and friction on the movement have been eradicated with the design of the new Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture. There is also no energy loss with the implementation of the new Flexous silicone oscillator and the watch benefits from a longer run time. Without the axels and jewels of a traditional movement, the new oscillator is thinner and slimmer in build. Normally the additional components forming the heartbeat of the watch, for example, the Swiss lever escapement, introduce intolerances. More friction within the components of the escapement amount to wear and tear and therefore require regular cleaning and oiling. Not for the new Flexous monolithic oscillator.
288,000 beats per hour…
The clever geometry of the Flexous mechanism inside the new Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture contains four straight flexures and within these – an anchor. The oscillator moves with only 6 degrees of amplitude compared to the 300 degrees of a regular swiss escapement. This enables the frequency or speed to be increased to ten times faster – 288,000 beats per hour compared to 28,800! The 300 micron-thin oscillator is one layer of pure silicone as opposed to the various layers forming the balance wheel, the mainspring and the lever of a traditional mechanism. The regulation system also comprises weights that enable specialists at Frederique Constant to finely and meticulously adjust the oscillator very precisely to a hundredth of a second instead of a tenth of a second.
An 80-step second hand…
The anti-magnetic properties of monocrystalline silicon are a huge advantage to the watch industry. Coupled with its ultra-thin dimensions and therefore a construction that is lighter in weight - less power is required compared to a conventional movement. Less torque and friction means less wear and tear. The silicon oscillator is also less sensitive to temperature changes and gravity. To cope with this high-performance oscillator, Frederique Constant had to recreate the gear train inside a whole new movement. The Calibre 810 has a recalculated kinetic chain with an added wheel and in turn, this enables the movement to deliver an impressive 80-hour power reserve. The second hand on the dial of the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture watch moves at 80 steps per second as opposed to 8 in a traditional automatic watch– a motion that is impossible to detect under the naked eye. The rate of the new Calibre can only be recorded by a new laser measuring device developed in-house at Frederique Constant.
An overview of the Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture
The new Frederique Constant Monolithic Manufacture is a three-handed pointer date model confined to just 810 pieces worldwide. The limited-edition Slimline Monolithic watch is available in a silver and blue dial option adorned with Clous de Paris decoration and a steel casing or alternatively, a silver dial and 18ct rose gold version. All three models, with their three-part case construction, offer 30-meter water resistance and a sapphire crystal glass front and exhibition caseback. Their 40mm diameters are a comfortable size for the average wrist, securing with traditional alligator leather straps. The blue dial version is completed on a matching navy blue strap, whilst the silver and steel version boasts a classic black strap. The 18ct rose gold and silver version is finished on a brown coloured strap. All three secure with a folding clasp in materials respective of their cases.
Traditional, large-sized Roman numerals are used for the hour track in all three models. The numerals on the blue dial stand out with printed silver-coloured references, whilst the silver dial versions feature black printed numerals. The glimpse of the ground-breaking monolithic oscillator is granted via a circular open heart window at 6 o’clock, balanced by a date counter at 12 o’clock. The hands are finished in the tradition Breguet-styling and the famous “Frederique Constant” lettering has been relocated to the east side of the dial.
For more information on the limited edition Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture watches, you can call a member of our watch team here at Jura Watches on 01335 453453