Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture – 40Hz

With this technical masterpiece, Swiss watch maker Frederique Constant redefines the principles of mechanical watch regulation. This watch is equipped with a revolutionary high-frequency oscillator that beats at the rate of 40Hz (288,000 vibrations per hour).

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture - 40Hz

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 oscillator has been designed to fit inside a traditional movement configuration. The high-tech, yet reasonably priced luxury watch features a 40mm case with an aperture on the dial to view the oscillator.

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture - 40Hz

The high-frequency oscillator of the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture watch was developed in partnership with Flexous, an innovative horology-oriented technology branch of YES!Delft, a leading Dutch tech incubator.

The way mechanical watches are regulated has not changed during the last three centuries. The invention of the sprung balance in the 17th century has exerted a lasting influence on mechanical watchmaking. Since then, mechanical watches have relied almost exclusively on the sprung balance.

Consisting of a thin, coiled spring attached to the balance wheel, it allows the balance to oscillate back and forth at a constant frequency. In doing so, it controls the speed at which the gears of the watch rotate and influences the rate. Although it has been improved over time, the principle of the sprung balance has remained unchanged and virtually unchallenged for over three centuries.

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture - 40Hz

In this new timepiece, Frederique Constant replaced 26 components of its standard assortment with a single component fitted with two regulation weights. Made of mono crystalline silicon, the Monolithic oscillator also integrates the escapement anchor in its flexible structure. Three novel innovations distinguish the oscillator:

1. A revolutionary small-size one-piece oscillator. Thanks to the geometry of flexures and masses, it is possible to produce for the first time a flexible pivot oscillator in the footprint of a traditional balance wheel

2. An ultrathin oscillator with a new anchor system. The escapement anchor is incorporated into the oscillator and, for the first time, its function is integrated into the flexures allowing a substantial reduction in size while keeping all the functions in one thin silicon layer

3. Adjustment weights to regulate the flexure oscillator just like those used on a traditional free-sprung balance. Watchmakers can easily fine-tune the frequency and precision by simply turning two weights

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture - 40Hz

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.

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture - 40Hz

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 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. It reduces force between the components: 2.5 times less torque/couple is generated. In particular, the energy waste related to the stop and go motion of the Swiss lever escapement are eliminated. Finally, yet importantly, silicon does not require lubrication. This enhances the long-term reliability of the escapement and avoids the oiling demands generated by high frequency.

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture - 40Hz

The rate regulation is performed using adjustment weights, just like the system used in a traditional free-sprung balance. The setting system is extremely precise, dividing time intervals in hundredths of a second versus tenths of a second for regular mechanical movements running at a 4Hz frequency.

Given the innovative design of the escapement, the traditional devices to measure the rate of the movement (which rely on the ticking sound of the movement) are inoperative. To calculate the average rate in seconds per day, laser cameras taking 250,000 images per second were used.

This is the 30th Movement from Frederique Constant’s Manufacture. 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.

In a regular mechanical movement beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour, the seconds hand makes eight moves to complete one second. With the FC-810 Monolithic Manufacture calibre, the seconds hand performs 80 moves per second.

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture - 40Hz

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.

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture - 40Hz

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.

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture - 40Hz

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 open-worked.

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture - 40Hz

The model is available in three limited editions: 810 pieces in stainless steel with a blue dial, 810 pieces in stainless steel with a silver colour dial and 81 pieces in 18k pink gold.

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture - 40Hz

Technical details

Model: Slimline Monolithic Manufacture

Functions
Hours, minutes, seconds, date

Movement
FC-810 Manufacture caliber, automatic, Heart Beat, silicon monolithic oscillator, date adjustable by the crown
Perlage, circular satin-finishing, anglage and circular Côtes de Genève decorations
80-hour power reserve, 288’000 alt/h, 40HZ
130 components including 19 jewels

Versions

Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, Reference FC-810MC3S9

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, Reference FC-810MC3S9

Case
Polished 18K rose gold 3-part case
Diameter 40 mm
Front convex sapphire crystal
See-through case-back
Water-resistant up to 3 ATM

Dial
Silver color dial with guilloche clous de Paris decoration and printed black roman numerals
Hand-polished black hands
Date counter at 12 o’clock
Open heart showing the oscillator at 6 o’clock

Strap
Brown alligator leather strap

Limited edition
Limited to 81 pieces

Recommended retail price
14’995€

Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, Reference FC-810MCN3S6

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, Reference FC-810MCN3S6

Case
Polished stainless steel 3-part case
Diameter 40 mm
Front convex sapphire crystal
See-through case-back
Water-resistant up to 3 ATM

Dial
Blue dial with guilloche clous de Paris decoration and printed white roman numerals
White hands
Date counter at 12 o’clock
Open heart showing the oscillator at 6 o’clock

Strap
Navy blue alligator leather strap

Limited edition
Limited to 810 pieces

Recommended retail price
4’495€

Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, Reference FC-810MC3S6

Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, Reference FC-810MC3S6

Case
Polished stainless steel 3-part case
Diameter 40 mm
Front convex sapphire crystal
See-through case-back
Water-resistant up to 3 ATM

Dial
Silver color dial with guilloche clous de Paris decoration and printed black roman numerals
Hand-polished black hands
Date counter at 12 o’clock
Open heart showing the oscillator at 6 o’clock

Strap
Black alligator leather strap

Limited edition
Limited to 810 pieces

Recommended retail price
4’495€