The Heart of The MatterBy Bhanu Chopra
Flexous and Frédérique Constant
YES!Delft — a leading Dutch tech incubator for startups and entrepreneurs tackling some of the most challenging technical problems in several industries — is an inspiring concept. Supported by YES!Delft, Flexous is an independent horology-oriented company that specializes in the design and development of innovative flexible mechanisms. With a monolithic flexible design, a timepiece can be built with fewer moving parts, thus reducing complexity in assembly as well as long-term care and maintenance.
When the founder and CEO of Flexous, Dr. Nima Tolou, had an encounter with the co-founder and former CEO of Frederique Constant, Peter Stas, the two left with a new idea: to create a timepiece with the highest possible frequency for ultimate stability to combat drift, an 80-hour power reserve, and a size that compared favorably to traditional watches — all while keeping the price reasonable.
Dr. Tolou comments: “We are very proud of this exciting result, all done in only about two years, from concept to product. We are proud of the synergy achieved in this unique Frederique Constant-Flexous project.”
The Monolithic Oscillator
Within three years, the partnership yielded a new kind of flexible oscillating system. While it’s not the fastest timepiece on the market (TAG Heuer’s Carrera Mikrogirder holds that record as of this writing), Frederique Constant’s Slimline Monolithic Manufacture beats at a staggering 288,000bph — that’s nearly 10 times faster than standard mechanical timepieces, and they managed to offer it at a very accessible price point. The Monolithic Oscillator takes pride of place beneath the hands at six o’clock with a unique industrial-style aperture. It adds an element of the unexpected to a classic case and dial design.
Made of monocrystalline silicon, a material that is 100 percent anti-magnetic, the oscillator is resilient to temperature changes, four times lighter than a regular assortment and less sensitive to the effects of gravity. Without a mechanical coupling, there is less wear and tear on parts due to friction, and therefore less power is needed to drive the escape wheel and oscillating system. One of the great benefits of silicon is the elimination of the need for lubrication, which means less maintenance is required to maintain precision over time.
A New Movement
To handle the high speed of the oscillator, the watchmakers at Frederique Constant created a new base movement, the FC-810 — incidentally, their 30th in-house movement — which maintains an 80-hour power reserve.
The Slimline Monolithic Manufacture is the first model to feature the FC-810 with the new innovative oscillator at six o’clock, a three-hand central timekeeping, and a pointer date subdial at 12 o’clock. The exhibition caseback affords a clean view of the movement, beautifully decorated with Geneva stripes and perlage, and an openworked oscillating weight.
A Timepiece with Timeless Style
The designers adopted a 40mm round case with an old-world, timeless style for the dial and finishing touches. The dial features a gorgeous guilloché hobnail pattern, Breguet-style hands and Roman numerals.
Fascinatingly, all the old-world charm is offset in the lower half of the dial by the modern pulsating oscillator, which showcases how watchmaking capabilities can progress with innovation, yet remain firmly rooted within the traditional style.
According to Niels Eggerding, Managing Director of Frederique Constant: “The new Slimline Monolithic Manufacture embodies Frederique Constant’s visionary spirit, determination and passion for watchmaking know-how.”
The Slimline Monolithic Manufacture is available in three references. The already sold-out FC-810MC3S9 has an 18K rose gold case, white dial, and is paired with a brown alligator leather strap for a more understated elegance. The FC-810MCN3S6 has a rich blue dial in a contrasting polished stainless steel case, and is paired with a navy alligator leather strap for a noticeable masculine appeal. The FC-810MC3S6 offers a more versatile style with a white dial in a polished stainless steel case, and a black alligator leather strap for a classic timeless charm.
The Perfect Sports Watch
The Slimline Monolithic Manufacture carries a host of technical innovations for shock resistance, reliability and long-term life with low maintenance. This makes for a fantastic sport or travel watch that can be dressed up or down with ease and serve as a handy conversation starter when others notice the unique oscillator in its aperture. The rose gold FC-810MC3S9 is available in a limited edition of 81 pieces, while the stainless steel FC-810MCN3S6 and FC-810MC3S6 are limited to 810 pieces each.
Case: 40mm; 18K rose gold (FC-810MC3S9) or stainless steel (FC-810MCN3S6 and FC-810MC3S6)
Movement: FC-810 self-winding movement, 80 hours of power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Strap: Alligator leather strap in brown (FC-810MC3S9), navy blue (FC-810MCN3S6) or black (FC-810MC3S6)
Availability: 81 pieces in 18K rose gold case (FC-810MC3S9); all sold out. 810 pieces each in stainless steel case with blue dial (FC-810MCN3S6) and silver dial (FC-810MC3S6)
Price: USD 15,995 (FC-810MC3S9) and USD 4,895 (FC-810MCN3S6 and FC-810MC3S6)
Visit the Frederique Constant website to discover the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture timepiece.