A horological breakthrough from Frédérique Constant

The Swiss watchmaker has taken the world by surprise with the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture. Presented as a revolution in a voluntarily conservative universe, this watch could give Frédérique Constant a definite edge. SoBARNES explains why.

At first glance, the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture doesn't look particularly revolutionary. And yet... If you look closer, its open heart at 6 o’clock offers a view of a groundbreaking piece of technology: Frédérique Constant has replaced the 26 components of a standard oscillator with a single silicon oscillator, baptised the Monolithic. Not sure what an oscillator is? The answer is simple: it’s the part of the watch movement that divides time into equal units. In other words, a key element when it comes to the reliability and precision of a watch.

So what does this world premiere from Frederique Constant bring to the table? Its one-piece design, the fruit of three years of work, allows it to oscillate at a high frequency, around 10 times faster than a standard movement (at 40Hz and 288,000 vibrations per hour, if you really want to know). Which should make the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture more accurate than all its rivals, but we’ve yet to confirm.

Our favourite #SoBARNES detail, you ask? The motion of the second hand: given that the Monolithic Oscillator beats 10 times faster than a traditional movement, the second hand performs 80 moves per second instead of eight. The result is an almost continuous motion, compared to the slight jolting of a classic mechanical watch (admit it, you looked at your watch to check).

And because it never rains but it pours, the monocrystalline silicon is 100% anti-magnetic, resilient to oscillations in temperature, less sensitive to gravity and four times lighter than a regular assortment. In terms of style, however, it remains extremely classic, with Breguet-style hands, printed Roman numerals, a guilloché hobnail pattern on the dial (silver or blue), and a date counter at 12 o’clock. Combined with a 40mm case, the automatic calibre specially developed for the model can be admired thanks to the see-through case-back. And even more impressive is its 80-hour power reserve.

The Slimline Monolithic Manufacture is available in a limited edition of 810 pieces in stainless steel with blue dial, and 810 pieces in stainless steel with a silver colour dial. But the best surprise of all is their price tag: €4,495, with the pink gold version, limited to 81 pieces, retailing for €14,995.

Did somebody say “collector’s item”?

laurent@sobarnes.com

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Infos : Frederique-constant.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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