For the Frederique Constant brand, so much has happened so quickly that it can be hard to believe that (a) the husband and wife owned and managed company has only been in exisitence since 1998 and (b) they have come so far in that time, despite entering the market without having a formal or generations-long background in watches or horology. Peter Stas and his wife Aletta Bax shared a passion which would consume a large part of their lives, but which, thanks to an innate belief and astute business acumen, has matured into a solid and vibrant watch company with international representation and which can even boast it’s own in-house manufacture movement.
Baselworld 2014 sees the Frederique Constant team in celebratory mood as they mark the tenth anniversary since the debut of the pride of their range, the Heart Beat Manufacture model with its signature dial aperture revealing the front positioned balance and escapement assembly.
Central to the 2014 Frederique Constant Heart Beat Manufacture anniversary is, not surprisingly, the all new FC-945 Silicium Heart Beat Calibre automatic self winding movement, which thanks to two years work by the R&D department has seen the redesigning, development and overall refinement of its 126 components as well as the introduction of the hard wearing metalloid silicum (more widely known as silicon) for the escapement.
Addressing the problem of reliability and in particular the requirement to keep the critical components lubricated, Frederique Constant have opted to replace steel with silicon for the escapement wheel, a component which can be prone to wear due to friction resulting from the constant ticking interaction between the teeth and the pallet. Silicon requires no lubrication so thereby ultimately reduces the likelihood of wear and the possibility of eventual component failure.
It may be a minor detail, but if the use of silicum/silicon can increase durability and extend the period between costly services then it can only be a good development with obvious advantages and one which is increasingly appearing in various applications from a growing number of watch brands.
Of course the watch has a role to perform for its owner and functions for this the Frederique Constant Heart Beat Manufacture bring together a shared sweep date and moonphase display with new for 2014 gmt/second timezone subdial at the 9 o’clock position, and Breguet style hours and minutes against applied numerals in a silver dial with contrasting guilloche finishing and Côtes de Genève decoration.
Presented in a tasteful 42mm classically styled case with oversized onion-ish crown and transparent exhibition caseback and set upon alligator leather strap with tang buckle the Heart Beat Manufacture will be available only in limited editions of 188 pieces in 18Kt rose gold or 1888 in polished stainless steel.