Regardless of their differences, virtually all mechanical watches use some form of the lever escapement — a technology that was invented over 250 years ago. Minor modifications to the escapement show up from time to time, but the innovation seen in the new Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture is a major breakthrough.
Frederique Constant’s new in-house movement is seriously revolutionary, utilizing a brand-new kind of escapement that completely forgoes all traditional aspects of a mechanical escapement. There is no mainspring, no balance wheel, no pallet fork. Instead, a total of 26 parts have been replaced by a “Monolithic Oscillator” — a single thin piece of silicon fitted with two adjustable weights — that acts as the escapement. This oscillator vibrates at an insane 288,000 vibrations per hour — ten times the rate of a normal mechanical watch — making for a perfectly smooth seconds hand sweep. FC says it will also cut down on wear and repairs due to having fewer parts and the lack of friction, and it should also theoretically help accuracy, though FC isn’t making any claims in that department yet. This impressive new movement can be found in the Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, which goes on sale soon.
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