News: Out With The Old, In With The New – The Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture
The sprung balance is a staple of any mechanical watch. Invented in the late 17th century, the sprung balance is—for those that don’t know—a coiled spring attached to a balance wheel. The pair work—oscillating back and forth at a consistent frequency—to control the speed of the gears and influence the rate of the watch. Over the few hundred years since its inception, the sprung balance hasn’t seen much change—until now, that is. Allow me to introduce you to the new Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture.
The Slimline Monolithic Manufacture on the surface is like any other watch. It has a 40mm stainless steel case with the option to upgrade to a more exotic 18K rose gold—for another €10,000, I might add. It’s got a blue or silver dial that is beautifully decorated with clous de Paris guilloché and features Roman numerals, black polished Breguet-style hands and a date indicator at 12 for extended functionality. All pretty normal, right? Well, it is until you notice the aperture close to 6—giving you a glimpse at the Calibre FC-810 and its not so ordinary beating heart.
Intrigued? Well, you should be. The Calibre FC-810 has kicked the traditional sprung balance to the curb in favour of a brand new, all-silicon oscillator. Due to the elastic properties that make silicon look like Playdough when compared to steel, Frederique Constant has been able to replace 26 parts of the traditional balance—including what would have been the balance wheel itself—with just a single monolithic monocrystalline silicon piece—this along with the incorporated escapement anchor makes the escapement more compact.
Thanks to the reduced size, Frederique Constant has been able to increase the frequency—and therefore accuracy—of the watch to a whopping 288,800 vph—which is ten times faster than most mechanical watches on the market. Being that the escapement is entirely made from silicon, you can enjoy less regular service intervals thanks to silicon being less prone to wear and its natural anti-magnetic properties.
Spec-wise, the Calibre FC-810 is impressive too. Of course, it’s got that 288,800 vph beat rate, but despite that, the watch still manages to have a power reserve of 80 hours. Like the dial, the movement is also decorated. It has perlage, circular satin-finishing, anglage and circular Côtes de Genève—all this works to make a movement that is not only technically brilliant, but one that is beautiful too.
This watch is an incredible blend of watchmaking past and future. “But what does it cost?” I hear you ask. Guess…I’ll wait. 10,000, 100,000? How about €4,495—not bad at all considering you are getting a brand-new innovative in-house calibre fitted to a gorgeous traditionally designed watch.
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Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture
Case | Stainless Steel Or 18K Rose Gold
Dimensions | 40mm Diameter
Dial | Blue Or Silver (Steel), Silver (Rose Gold)
Crystal | Sapphire Crystal
Movement | FC-810 Manufacture Caliber, Automatic, Heart Beat, Silicon Monolithic Oscillator
Frequency | 288,800 vph
Power Reserve | 80 Hours
Strap | Leather – Black (Silver Stainless), Blue (Blue Stainless), Brown (Silver Rose Gold)
Functions | Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Date
RRP | €4,495 (Steel), €14,995 (Rose Gold)
Limited Edition | Yes, 810 Pieces (Both Stainless Models), 81 Pieces (Rose Gold Model)