Truth be told, Frederique Constant wasn't a brand I typically found myself drawn to. However, in recent years, I've been thoroughly impressed by the brand's unwavering commitment to pushing the technical boundaries of watchmaking. Among their recent collection, one watch has truly captured my attention – the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture from 2021, which features an intriguing mechanism known as the monolithic silicon oscillator (more on this later).
Offered here today is a limited edition derived from the aforementioned model, thoughtfully enhanced with a few tasteful aesthetic tweaks. This is the Frederique Constant x Revolution Slimline Monolithic FP(S), a limited edition of 100 pieces worldwide made in collaboration with Revolution Magazine.
When I first held the FP(S) (which stands for: Future Past (Salmon)) in my hand, I was instantly struck by its unique and juxtaposed watch design. It seamlessly combines a classical dress-watch styling, boasting a slim 40mm x 11.4mm stainless steel case, with a daring horological innovation known as the monolithic oscillator.
To understand the advantages of the usage of this oscillator mechanism, we need to go back to the basics. For context, a conventional watch movement typically consists of approximately 130 parts, with around 30 of them forming the escapement mechanism. While I am well aware that collectors take pleasure in observing these components work in perfect synchronization, from an engineering viewpoint, it presents a notable challenge due to the presence of friction. Nevertheless, Frederique Constant has ingeniously addressed this by introducing the monolithic oscillator, effectively reducing those 26 individual components, along with all their friction, wear, and lubrication concerns, to one single unit. The oscillator, crafted from a singular sheet of silicon (hence, monolithic), possesses exceptional attributes: immunity to magnetism and thermal variation, the absence of moving parts (resulting in no friction), as well as the elimination of the need for lubrication or a shock-absorbing mechanism. Additionally, the oscillator's high frequency, beating up to 10 times faster than a standard 4Hz movement (read: 40Hz / 288,000 bph), allows it to average out a significantly greater number of timekeeping errors and executes a remarkable 80 ‘ticks’ per second via the seconds hand – an animation that is simply invisible to the naked eye.
Moving on to the captivating salmon-coloured dial of the FP(S), for those familiar with Wei Koh, it's well-known that he has a deep affection for salmon dials and has even poetically likened this dial's salmon hue to the colour of his beloved summer rosé, Domaines Ott. The dial also showcases a tri-sector layout with a variety of finishing techniques. The inner dial and outer minute track boast an aggressive frosted grené finish, whereas the middle section, adorned with applied Breguet numerals and hosts a set of hands, features a circular brushed pattern.
Turn the FP(S) over, and you will be greeted by Frederique Constant's beautifully decorated in-house Cal. FC-810, which is capable of holding an impressive power reserve of 80 hours and is responsible for powering the monolithic oscillator positioned prominently at the front of the dial at 6 o'clock.
In my opinion, the Slimline Monolithic stands out as one of the most captivating and enthralling modern watch designs I've ever come across so far. The fact that Wei Koh and Revolution embraced this remarkable template of a watch and infused it with their unique touch further elevates my admiration for its aesthetics and overall design. To me, the Slimline Monolithic (and the FP(S) limited edition), represents an intriguing exercise of watch design, skillfully striking a harmonious balance between contemporary and classic elements of watchmaking, all of which come together in a package like this incredible limited edition that is sure to resonate deeply with collectors from around the world.