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2023 marks Frederique Constant's 35th anniversary and the 15th anniversary of its iconic Tourbillon calibre. For the occasion, the Maison has unveiled a Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture in platinum, featuring a meteorite dial and limited to only 35 pieces. This is an absolute first, as each individual timepiece is entirely finished by hand: an undertaking entrusted to two watchmakers from the Manufacture whose only mission was to achieve the highest degree of hand-finishing possible on the movement.
However, the most important aspects are less immediately visible. Only a closer and more knowledgeable eye will be able to detect something that has never been achieved before on a Frederique Constant watch: the entire hand-finishing of all the components of the movement. This exceptional and unprecedented achievement is the work of two watchmakers specialising in the Maison's Manufacture and complication movements.
Using traditional instruments and tools, working by hand, they spent weeks on the meticulous finishing of each of the components: a buff file for bevelling, a hammer and punch for hand-punching, and 9-micron sandpaper for charbonnage of the frame (bridge) and the base of the tourbillon cage, reproducing the aspect of the meteorite dial. A single bridge alone requires between two and three days of work.
The meteorite dial is a precious testament to exceptional craftsmanship: a fragment of space that fell to Earth in a happy and rare occurrence in Gibeon, Namibia offers a perfect illustration of the relationship between humankind, the universe, and the astronomy of which watchmaking is a direct offshoot. At the same time, this piece of celestial history is also the subject of a veritable exploit in terms of craftsmanship: chiselling a meteorite dial, full of metals, requires exceptional skills.
That's because the precious material breaks and crumbles; its high iron content means it may have suffered serious deterioration, mainly corrosion. That in turn means extreme dexterity is called for in order to cut out a perfectly flat, smooth disc without a single flake falling off and damaging the movement beneath it. The meteorite dial - just 0.5mm thick - is also protected by a coat of ruthenium, enhancing its natural grey glints and shielding the surface from oxidation.
To ensure visual coherence with the colour of the meteorite dial, the movement also sports a ruthenium finish. This is very rare for Frederique Constant, and indeed in the watchmaking industry as a whole - all the more reason for adopting it here. Each engraving, including the timepiece's individual number (on the tourbillon cage and also on the caseback) is rhodium-plated to ensure the characters stand out clearly. The oscillating weight is made of brass with a tungsten section around the rim. This material has been selected for its density, which is greater than that of 18-carat gold, providing greater inertia when in motion and thus enabling the barrel spring to be wound more quickly. All the parts of the oscillating weight are also coated with ruthenium.
The Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture comes in a 39mm platinum case. For the first time in its history, Frederique Constant has combined a meteorite dial with this precious metal.
Type of Movement: Automatic
Power Reserve (hours): 38h
Vibrations per Hour: 28'800 alt/h
Case Color: Platinum
Diameter or Dimensions (mm): 39
Thickness (mm): 10.99
Lug Width (mm): 20
Water-Resistance (ATM): 3 bar (300m)
Dial Color: Gray
Indexes: Applied diamond cut indexes 1/2/3/4/8/9/10/11/12
Strap Material: Alligator leather
Strap Color: Black
Dimensions (mm): 75×115
Buckle: Folding buckle
Buckle Width: 18
Strap Width (=lug width): 20
Limited Edition: (of) 35
Functions: Hours, minutes, 60 seconds tourbillon
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