Geneva- December 2008- After a great success met with his Manufacture Tourbillon, edited in limited series of 188 pieces in rose gold, and unveiled in world-wide preview during Baselworld 2008, Frédérique Constant is very honoured to present you the new edition of his Manufacture Tourbillon, now limited of 88 pieces in white gold, and always endowed with its henceforth very famous Silicium Escapement Wheel.
Based on its award-winning Heart Beat Manufacture Calibre, Frédérique Constant developed its Tourbillon, completely conceived within its Workshops to Plan-les-Ouates and that presents several specific features, which gives a conception innovating and unique to this Tourbillon: a Silicium Escapement Wheel, a Smart Weight Balancing, a Fast Oscillation at 28’800 BpH, and a Tourbillon Cage individually numbered.
The technical innovations:
The Silicium escapement wheel, particularly useful in a Tourbillon mechanism, and already used in a limited series “Heart Beat” in 2007 presents 3 major advantages: Lubricant-free running – avoids the risk that oil spreads to other parts of the movement, and that thus avoids the age’s effects – Very light (low inertia) – the lower weight Silicium escapement wheel has lower inertia, increasing energy efficiency – Good friction properties – lower friction reduces loss of energy, hence the energy requirement for the Calibre is lower. As a result, the Frédérique Constant Tourbillon with Silicium escapement wheel has amplitude of over 300 degrees in dial-up and dial-down positions. Even in the crown-down position, it is over 275 degrees, which is substantially better than the performance of other high-end Tourbillon.
Smart Weight Balancing: the Frédérique Constant Tourbillon Cage consists of 80 parts. Each of these parts is produced to the highest possible tolerance, with a precision of 1-2 micron (0.001-0.002 mm), on Frédérique Constant’s ultra precise CNC machine in Plan-les-Ouates. Even with such a high degree of precision, it is impossible to have a 100% equal distribution of weight in the individual parts; for a Tourbillon to run accurately, an equal distribution of weight is essential. Frédérique Constant solved this problem by a “Smart Screw” system on the outer edge of the Tourbillon cage. At first, the Tourbillon cage is constructed with a slight over-weight opposite the Smart Screw system on the main Cage Wheel. Thereafter, a highly skilled watchmaker is able to balance the weight into the center of the Tourbillon cage by adding or exchanging tiny metal rings under the two screws on the main cage wheel. Typically, 8 hours are required for a watchmaker to adjust the tiny rings and balance the weight perfectly for the entire Tourbillon cage.
Fast Oscillation: the Frédérique Constant Tourbillon runs at 4 Hertz whereby the balance wheel beats 28’800 times per hour. Hence, in a Frédérique Constant Tourbillon, the balance wheels swings 28,800 times an hour and the gear train moves forward 691,200 times in 24 hours. In four years, this represents over one billion impulses. Most competing Tourbillons run at 3 Hertz only. The higher ‘Beats per Hour’ (BpH) enable a higher accuracy of the Tourbillon calibre. The higher oscillation also makes the calibre less susceptible to gyration effects.
Individually numbered: each Tourbillon cage is individually numbered to show the Limited Edition of 88 pieces. The minuscule top plate in the center of the Tourbillon cage is sequentially numbered and match with the Limited Edition number on the case, making the combination of calibre and case unique.
The Tourbillon is one of the most valued and sought-after complications by collectors and aficionados of premium timepieces alike. A Tourbillon mechanism is extremely complex to manufacture due to the required accuracy of all the parts involved, and requires highly qualified and experienced watchmakers to be able to manufacture the Tourbillon Calibre. Through allying technical complexities, to the aesthetic value that contributes to the charm of this timepiece, Frédérique Constant presents thus the one of its more beautiful creations…
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