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Frederique Constant makes technological breakthrough with Slimline Monolithic

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Frederique Constant says it has made a technological breakthrough in the field of precision timekeeping.

It did so in presenting a silicon oscillator beating at an unprecedented pace of 288,000 vibrations per hour, or 40 Hz.

Designers say it redefines the principles of mechanical watch regulation, with the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture ticking 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 and 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 idea behind the Monolithic Oscillator was born 3 years ago during an encounter between Peter Stas, co-founder and former CEO of Frederique Constant, and Dr Nima Tolou, founder and CEO of Flexous, an independent innovative horology-oriented technology branch of YES!Delft which specialises in compliant or flexible mechanisms.

Following their encounter, the Frederique Constant team commissioned Flexous with the production of 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.

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 and create an ultrathin oscillator and to keep all functions in one thin silicon layer was the integration of 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), a feature that allows watchmakers to fine-tune the frequency with exceptional ease.

Looking at the movement more closely, 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 calibre FC-810.

Capable of performing with the speed of the new silicon oscillator, the calibre also delivers a substantial 80-hour power reserve.

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 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.

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 colour dial with a retail price of £3,995 and 81 pieces in 18k pink gold retailing for EUR 14,995.

Find out more HERE.

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