Unique, technical, Monolithic: Only Watch 2021, Frederique Constant unveils its Highlife Monolithic Manufacture
Frederique Constant is pleased to announce its participation to the 2021 edition of the Only Watch auction, which will take place on November 6th, 2021, and for which the proceeds will be donated to the Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophy. This year, Frederique Constant is unveiling an exclusive timepiece, unique in every respect and a first for the Brand: the Highlife Monolithic Manufacture. Housed in a 41mm case in 18K pink gold, its revolutionary escapement beating at 40 Hz is housed within a dial open to the FC-810 movement bearing hand-polished chamfers on the bridges and Côtes de Genève decoration.
Traditionally, the Only Watch charity auction is based on a simple principle: each participating brand donates a unique piece. The proceeds of the auction are then donated to a research fund dedicated to the fight against Duchenne muscular dystrophy. To mark its commitment to this cause, which mainly affects children, the Frederique Constant Manufacture has decided to strike hard.
For the 2021 edition, the Brand is offering a Highlife Monolithic Manufacture, an exclusive and unprecedented creation, the one and only one equipped with the Monolithic oscillator housed in a dial open to the Manufacture FC-810 movement, all wrapped in an 18K pink gold Highlife case.
A step towards the watchmaking of tomorrow
The eye is immediately drawn to the dial opening at 6 o'clock. Watches with open dials, which Frederique Constant made famous with its Heart Beat design, generally place their balance wheel there. Generally speaking, the Fine Watchmaking Brands like to display their tourbillon there. But Frederique Constant goes beyond all these conventions with the unveiling of a revolutionary 21st century escapement in serial production: the Monolithic escapement.
This is the 30th Manufacture movement produced by Frederique Constant - a significant number for a brand that recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Based on a flexible monobloc oscillator, it was developed – in collaboration with the Dutch company Flexous - with four objectives in mind: a size comparable to that of a traditional balance wheel, the highest possible frequency, a power reserve of 80 hours and a solution allowing the production of significant quantities at an accessible price.
A subtle interplay between complexity, simplicity and accessibility
Last March, Frederique Constant revealed the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, the first timepiece in the world to benefit from such a technical solution and such a small size. Entirely monobloc and made of silicon, it is insensitive to magnetic fields and temperature variations. Of the 26 components of a standard assortment, there are now only three, spread over a single level. Thanks to its frequency of 288,000 vibrations per hour (40 Hz), it drives a seconds hand that takes 80 steps per second. Imperceptible to the naked eye, they offer the rendering of a perfectly fluid and continuous movement.
The world's first Highlife Monolithic Manufacture
Until now, the Monolithic oscillator had only been offered in the Slimline Manufacture line. This choice demonstrated both the power of Frederique Constant's R&D department and the ability of this invention to blend into a very refined case, in keeping with the traditions of Fine Watchmaking.
Today, the Brand is presenting this concept in its Highlife collection for the first time. This choice was made in order to promote the Only Watch auction in the best possible way. A charity action so dear to Frederique Constant's heart, and in which the Manufacture has participated for 14 years without interruption.
This aesthetic choice confirms the versatility of the Monolithic concept. The revolutionary escapement naturally finds its place in the 41 mm case with interchangeable bracelet. Its proportions harmonise fluidly with its soft curves, and the balance between the date counter at 12 o'clock and the escapement at 6 o'clock is fair and proportionate. The dial reveals the finely angled movement enhanced by elegant and intense blue Côtes de Genève.
According to the finest watchmaking tradition, this remarkable creation bears chamfers on the bridges that have been hand polished - a degree of finishing that only a few watchmaking manufactures can still boast. Not only expressing ultimate watchmaking mastery, it also illustrates the Brand’s fundamental concern and core value to allow its watchmakers to pass on their DNA to the product, thus shaping the Maison’s identity.
In the centre, we find the two pink gold-plated hands, imprinted with luminescent material and characteristic of the Highlife collection. They echo the applied hour-markers designed in the same way, arranged along a silvered flange. Like all Frederique Constant Manufacture creations, the Highlife Monolithic Manufacture also features a crystal caseback - a way of opening-up the view of its angled and circular-grained movement, as well as the future of watchmaking.
Only Watch: more than a sale, a journey
Only Watch, as an exceptional event held every two years in Monaco under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco, has over the years become a global concept, under the impetus of its founder Luc Pettavino.
The sale itself is preceded by a travelling exhibition of all the pieces, starting at the Monaco Yacht Show (September 22th - 25th) and ending in Geneva (November 6th). It will allow collectors, amateurs and enthusiasts, as well as media representatives, to discover the creations. In between, Asia, the Middle East and the American continent will host their own stages, the dates of which will be announced in the coming days.
On Saturday November 6th, 2021, brands, partners and donors will be invited to the Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues in Geneva. The auction, organised with the support of Christie's, will start at 2pm (in the room, online, over the phone and by purchase order) and will end around 4pm. The funds raised will be donated to the Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophy, perpetuating the humanist and altruistic spirit that has governed its destiny since 2005.