Frederique Constant is happy to announce its participation to the 5th edition of the Dubai Watch Week, taking place from November 24th to 28th, 2021, in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). On this occasion, Frederique Constant will release new exclusive limited-edition timepieces, and will also present the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture via the Creative Hub and educative masterclass sessions. The year 2021 also marking the UAE’s golden jubilee celebrations, Frederique Constant will pay tribute to this milestone with an exclusive Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture “Year of the Fiftieth” limited edition, designed in collaboration with the watch retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons.
Founded in 2015 by the pioneering watch retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, and under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the Dubai Watch Week will experience its fifth edition this year. From November 24th to 28th, 2021, at The Gate, in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the five-day physical show brings together members of the watch industry and watch aficionados across the UAE to share knowledge, build connections, bridge communities, and celebrate this meticulous art.
After a successful first participation in 2019, Frederique Constant is delighted to take part in this year’s fair, slated to be one to remember. Constantly evolving, the Dubai Watch Week is introducing several immersive and interactive concepts with stakeholders across the industry such as thought-provoking series of panel discussions and hands-on workshops led by expert artisans.
Diving into 21st Century Watchmaking
On this occasion, Frederique Constant will present the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture timepiece via the Creative Hub – a space dedicated to dialogues and conversations that are designed to foster creativity, champion innovation and celebrate the industry. In addition, the Brand will also invite guests to share an exclusive moment with its duo of Watchmaker and Master Watchmaker, who will give them the chance to experience a watchmaking workshop to discover the heart of the revolutionary high-frequency FC-810 Monolithic Manufacture calibre.
Ticking ten times faster than most mechanical movements (4 Hz), the FC-810 Monolithic Manufacture calibre beats at an unprecedented pace of 288,000 vibrations per hour (40 Hz). Etched from silicon, the Monolithic oscillator replaces a standard assortment of 26 components by one layer only, thus redefining the principles of mechanical watch regulation.
Year of the Fiftieth
The year 2021 also coincide with the UAE’s golden jubilee celebrations. To commemorate this milestone, Frederique Constant developed the exclusive Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture “Year of the Fiftieth” limited edition, released in 50 timepieces and designed by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons – which will be available for purchase at Seddiqi & Sons exclusively.
A unique model within the Highlife collection and a first for Frederique Constant, the Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture “Year of the Fiftieth” is fully made of titanium, from the case down to the integrated bracelet. Featuring a turquoise blue dial contrasting with dark grey subdials, the famous ‘Yas’ blue colour adorning the Circuit’s run off areas was chosen as the shade most closely resembling the seas of the Gulf. The Highlife’s emblematic globe decoration elegantly spreads its circles in the background.
Keeping with the sleekness of design, all of the perpetual calendar’s correctors have been integrated, lending emphasis to the lone crown at 3 o’clock. Powered by the Manufacture FC-775 self-winding mechanical movement, the Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture “Year of the Fiftieth” beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph and has a power reserve of 38 hours. For collectors and connoisseurs of fine watchmaking, the movement, featuring intricate perlage and Côtes de Genève decoration, can be admired through the sapphire crystal caseback. The watch is delivered with an extra dark grey rubber strap.
Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture Year of the Fiftieth
In 2021, the United Arab Emirates are celebrating their 50th Anniversary. From April 6th, 2021, until March 31st, 2022, official national celebrations will take place and governed by the UAE Golden Jubilee Committee. As part of the celebrations, Frederique Constant and the famous watch retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons are unveiling a remarkable Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture “Year of the Fiftieth” limited-edition of 50 timepieces, made of titanium – a first for the Brand.
Along the Eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula are the United Arab Emirates, seven emirates united under one federation since December 2nd, 1971. Fifty years later, the UAE are celebrating their Golden Jubilee, starting from April 6th, 2021, until March 31st, 2022.
An historic Milestone
Declared “The Year 50” by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the celebration includes a series of initiatives to behold the UAE’s revered history, noble values and unique achievements. These initiatives help delineate the future as the nation is heading toward its Centennial.
Until March 31st, activities marking “the Year 50” intend to engage all those who consider the UAE their homeland and aim at calling upon all UAE nationals to contemplate the values and achievements of the past in acknowledgement of the UAE Founding Fathers. Last but not least, they are meant to inspire young people to build their ambitions for the next 50 years, while supporting them to make quality national achievements.
Year of the Fiftieth
To commemorate this milestone, Frederique Constant developed the exclusive Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture “Year of the Fiftieth” limited edition, released in 50 timepieces and designed by the watch retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. A unique model within the Highlife collection and a first for Frederique Constant, this timepiece is fully made of titanium, from the case down to the integrated bracelet – and will be available for purchase at Seddiqi & Sons exclusively.
For this model, Frederique Constant and Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons opted for an eye-catching turquoise blue dial, an unprecedented colour in the Maison’s history. Contrasting with dark grey subdials, the famous ‘Yas’ blue colour adorning the Circuit’s run off areas was chosen as the shade most closely resembling the seas of the Gulf. Called pantone 321, the colour is unique to Yas Marina Circuit.
In the middle of the dial proudly stands the globe decoration, emblem of the Highlife timepieces, whose legibility is ensured by the sapphire crystal’s anti-reflective treatment on both sides. Every finishing touch is enhanced by amazing reflections – like the 41 mm case, with its alternating polished and satin finished surfaces. . Keeping with the sleekness of design, all of the perpetual calendar’s correctors have been integrated, lending emphasis to the lone crown at 3 o’clock.
As sought-after as it is technical
As a perpetual calendar timepiece, the Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture “Year of the Fiftieth” is a testament to the savoir-faire that Frederique Constant has patiently amassed over the past 30 years. The Brand is one of very few to be able to design, produce, assemble and test its own watches internally, within its own Geneva-based manufacture. From the design to the final quality control, each and every step involved in making this is carried out in-house.
Powered by the Manufacture FC-775 self-winding mechanical movement, the Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture “Year of the Fiftieth” beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph and has a power reserve of 38 hours. For collectors and connoisseurs of fine watchmaking, the movement, featuring intricate perlage and Côtes de Genève decoration, can be admired through the sapphire crystal caseback. To celebrate this historic 50-years milestone, Frederique Constant and Seddiqi & Sons have engraved the oscillating weight with the “Year of the Fiftieth UAE” inscription.
Delivering the watch with an extra dark grey rubber strap, Frederique Constant allows wearers to change the strap as often as an outfit, occasion or mood dictates, helping them overcome the challenges of daily life and be fulfilled.
Slimline Monolithic Manufacture – 40Hz
Frederique Constant unveils a technological breakthrough in the field of precision timekeeping. Redefining the principles of mechanical watch regulation, the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture delivers industry-leading precision by ticking ten times faster than most mechanical movements. 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 revolutionary high-frequency oscillator has been designed to fit inside a traditional movement configuration. Housed inside a 40mm case with an aperture on the dial to view the oscillator, this cutting-edge technology is available at a price that respects the brand’s commitment to accessible luxury.
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.
|The basic principle behind a mechanical watch is as follows:
Energy → Transmission → Escapement → Oscillator
The energy (stored by a coiled spring in a watch) is released in discrete bursts by the regulating organ, which is comprised of an escapement and an oscillator. The escapement transmits impulses to the oscillator (the balance wheel for the vast majority of mechanical wristwatches). The escapement, in turn, is regulated by the oscillator. Each oscillation, therefore, allows the gear train to advance or “escape” a determined amount.
Compliant or flexible mechanisms are the next big thing in watchmaking and open a new realm of possibilities. Given the elastic properties of certain materials like silicon, it is possible to create compact, precise monolithic single-piece components to replace some of the assembled mechanical parts. Frederique Constant now uses these flexible, jointless structures in the design of its revolutionary oscillator. A groundbreaking concept and a breakthrough in the field of precision mechanical timekeeping, the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture is equipped with a movement ticking at an astounding 288,000 vibrations per hour, ten times faster than most mechanical watches!
Frederique Constant replaces the 26 components of its standard assortment with a single component fitted with two regulation weights. Made of monocrystalline silicon, the Monolithic oscillator also integrates the escapement anchor in its flexible structure. Three novel innovations distinguish the oscillator:
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.
The Genesis – A Collaboration with Flexous
The idea behind the Monolithic Oscillator was born during an encounter between Peter Stas, co-founder and former CEO of Frederique Constant, and Dr Nima Tolou, founder and CEO of Flexous, an innovative horology-oriented technology branch of YES!Delft, a leading Dutch tech incubator. Following their encounter, the Frederique Constant team commissioned Flexous with the production of a unique, flexible oscillating system with distinctive specifications.
Gathering high profile, multi-disciplinary expertise, a joint project between the Frederique Constant and Flexous teams was launched. The distinctive technical objectives for an innovative flexure oscillator were straightforward:
- A size comparable to that of a traditional balance to fit inside a standard movement with minor adjustments
- The highest possible frequency
- An 80-hour power reserve
- A cost-effective formula that would allow the manufacture of significant quantities at a reasonable price
A Revolution in Precision Timekeeping – The Monolithic Oscillator
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. This results in reduced 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.
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.
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. It delivers the smoothest possible motion of a seconds hand as it ticks faster than the eye can see!
Slimline Monolithic Manufacture
The Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture is the first model to bear this groundbreaking movement.
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. 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.
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 openworked.
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.
In conclusion, the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture is a beautiful combination of classic watchmaking and high-tech innovation.
In the words of 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.”
Dr Nima Tolou, CEO of Flexous Mechanisms, comments: “We are very proud of this exciting result and all done in only about two years, from concept to a product in a selling watch. We are proud of the synergy achieved in this unique Frederique Constant-Flexous project.”
About Flexous Mechanisms
Flexous Mechanisms is an independent horology technology company specialized in the design and development of flexible watch parts with the focus on mechanical watches. Flexous was founded in 2012 in Delft, The Netherlands, as a spin-off of an internationally leading group in the field of flexible mechanisms at Delft University of Technology. We develop and produce custom-made innovative watch parts from concept to product. Working together with like-minded watch brands and watch part producers, we bridge the fields of traditional watch making and 21st century flexible mechanism design. We strive to become the most forward-thinking innovative technology provider in horology. Our vision is to eventually provide flexible watch parts for the main components in a watch and set new world boundaries for accuracy, precision, and runtime with a highly innovative approach.