Exclusive Pics: Frederique Constant’s Slimline Monolithic Manufacture Makes Its First U.S. Appearance
Watchonista shares exclusive details and photography from the first U.S. spotting of the new ground-breaking Slimline Monolithic Manufacture timepieces from the Swiss watchmaker.
Frederique Constant has established its watchmaking elan by bringing expertly created in-house movements and often lofty and rarer horological complications to the wrists of more and more watch fans with a bold new level of accessibility. While many watchmakers reserve this level of inner workings to full noble-metal encasement and approaches (and prices), your investment in a Frederique Constant goes to the exquisite classical presentation and deft movement craftsmanship within, not necessarily the value of the metal without.
That isn’t to say Frederique Constant eschews the use of noble metals. Its timepieces are often expertly plated with gold and other elevated materials and occasionally rendered in the same. But in the new Slimline Monolithic Manufacture pieces that Watchonista spotted at the recent COUTURE Show in Las Vegas, Frederique Constant has chosen unadorned, gleaming stainless steel to deliver the estimable appeal of its FC-810 manufacture calibre and massive, innovative silicon oscillator (a pink gold version will follow shortly).
But before we get into all that, let’s dust off our old loupe and focus on some of the telling details of the new watches.
The Appeal of the Classic...
At 40mm, the new Slimline Monolithic Manufacture timepieces are unapologetically classical in nearly every respect. Gorgeous guilloche work on the dial leaves behind the age-old Clois de Paris “hobnail” texture around the center of the dial. The pattern is framed by a circle that bisects both the date sub-dial at 12 o’clock and the housing of the “beating heart” oscillator at 6 o’clock, giving way to a clean-slate dial featuring Roman indices and a gauged outer edge.
The date sub-dial, itself something of a rarity/throwback to horological classicism, is easily set by the crown. With dials available in either deep blue or a silvered hue, the wonderful visual impact of the silicon oscillator takes center stage without breaking the sublime classic presentation.
...With a Dose of the Modern
That oscillator, beating at an unprecedented 288,000 vibrations an hour, about 40Hz, brings a motherlode of modern innovation to such a classic execution. At that rate, the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture ticks at 10 times the speed of most mechanical movements.
Moreover, CEO Peter Stas collaborated with Dr. Nima Tolou of the experimental component maker Flexous to create an oscillator with such precision to conform to a size appropriate for a wristwatch and to still enable an 80-hour power reserve for the timepiece. The process took about three years of development, and the new Slimline Monolithic Manufactures are the first wristwatches to sport the new approach.
The new movement replaces 26 traditional movement components with a single machine fitted with weights. The flexibility and practical application of microcrystalline silicone allowed for a 9.8 by 0.33mm oscillator at the targeted rate, the size of a conventional regulator.
But the new material is 100% anti-magnetic, very resistant to temperature change, lighter, and therefore, less influenced by gravity, all of which adds to the overall precision beyond the blazing speed of its inherent oscillation. Plus, the new oscillator does not require lubrication, and its light weight draws less power than conventional oscillators, allowing for the beefy power reserve.
Classic package, cutting-edge insides, accessible price... Frederique Constant at its best, once again.
Pricing & Availability
Three limited edition versions are or soon will be available at Frederique Constant retailers globally. The stainless steel execution with either a blue dial or silvered dial, each limited to 810 pieces, list for $4,795. Meanwhile, only 81 pieces of the forthcoming pink gold version will be available. They will list for $15,995.