Swiss watchmaker Franck Muller has adopted for its maxim the phrase “Master of Complications”, a confidence that is reflected in the intricacy and ultra-complicated designs of Franck Muller watches that are unveiled at a World Premier held annually. Dedicated to crafting timepieces that are always breaking horological boundaries, Franck Muller has become synonymous with avant-garde design and innovation.
Since its inception in 1991, the Geneva-based House of Franck Muller has been designing limited collections for private clients. The latest Franck Muller Vanguard series of 2019 comes with unexpected elements in eye-catching designs, and has something for every admirer of unconventional timepieces. Franck Muller is something of a rockstar in the world of Swiss watches.
History of Franck Muller
Founding horologist Franck Muller’s journey began at the age of fifteen (he was born in 1958), when he enrolled in the Watchmaking School of Geneva. After graduating in 1980, Franck Muller began his apprenticeship repairing premium pocket-watches, obviously an invaluable exercise in the world’s finest watchmaking industry.
His friendship with Danish watchmaker and mentor Svend Andersen brought Franck Muller the opportunity to handle watches from the collection of Patek Philippe, Geneva’s last family-owned luxury watchmakers. During this time, he was inspired to think about mechanisms and design his own complicated timepiece, the first of Franck Muller watches was the tourbillion watch in 1984. He found his own brand Franck Muller seven years later.
Since then, the fame of this relatively young Swiss brand has expanded worldwide and Franck Muller watches are valued as new and pre-owned. His unprecedented World Premiers first began in 1993, and now every year Franck Muller’s annual releases have drawn the attention of serious enthusiasts and often, celebrity clientele, who appreciate the quality and the quirks of the brand’s exquisite timepieces.
All Franck Muller watchmaking complications are designed and developed at the Geneva workshops, including that of the world’s most complicated watch the Aternitas Mega, with 1,483 different components. Some of the other Franck Muller notable pieces include the chic Grace Curvex, the fine-crafted Giga Tourbillon and the harmonious automatic Black Croco. All Franck Muller watches a pleasure to wear, to talk about and own for their exceptional craftsmanship and design.
Classic Franck Muller Designs
Aeternitas and the Perpetual Calendar feature in the hallowed ranks of the Franck Muller Grand Complications. Those are conversation pieces, the ones more likely to be placed in a personal watch museum for their beautiful other-worldliness.
Among the Franck Muller watches more wearable pieces are the Cintree Curvex watches, which owe their design inspiration to some beautiful classic Patek Philippe watches that are now in the Patek Philippe Museum. The Franck Muller Revolution 2 and Franck Muller Long Island series are among the popular watches for men and women. Although all Franck Muller watches are impeccably crafted and lend a sense of dependability and calm to the wearer. Most recently, Franck Muller introduced the Skafander Divers Watch with a historic 1992 dial and the Curvex case with a 20-minute oxygen reserve mark and water resistance upto 100 meters. This first Franck Muller dive watch saw some updates in the Skafander Chronograph in the latest collection of 2019.
One of the most enduring pieces is the Franck Muller Casablanca, which draws on the classic and marries it to contemporary design. This Franck Muller watch has a classic tonneau shape that is so unique and elegantly sober. The bold, distinctive numerals, as always with Frank Muller, makes telling the time easy. It’s in the versions with the multi-colored dials and straps that the contemporary design elements come through most boldly. Another classic series is the Franck Muller Conquistador, which broke tradition with its hulking, wrist-breaking design. You could call this Franck Muller watch one of the pioneers of the big watches that would become iconic of swiss watchmaking in the 21st century.
The Franck Muller Vanguard Collection
The Franck Muller Vanguard watch features one of the brand’s best-known cases in the classic tonneau or barrel-shape. It curves around the wrist, and the unique strap design helps keep it curved.
The original 2013 design become more sporty in the 2015 sculpture that was the Franck Muller Vanguard Gravity Skeleton Tourbillon. Now in 2019, it’s an even more curved, more sporty metallic case in the new Franck Muller automatic Vanguard Racing model, for instance. Inside the bigger and bolder still-classic tonneau is a complication with 42 hours of power reserve and oscillating weight.
It’s easy to get lost in the incredible visuals of the Franck Muller Vanguard Yachting Anchor Skeleton with its open face, sinewy accents and reassuring 24-karat yellow gold hour hands. The awe is magnified when one finds out that the low 18000 vibrations per hour mechanism is also capable of a seven day power reserve.
Pieces such as these are mechanical marvels. There are also the playful watches from the brand.
One of the most quirky and inventive of the brand’s offerings, Franck Muller Crazy Hours, has continued to allure for fifteen years with its jumbled hour numerals. The hour hand jumps to the correct hour on the Franck Muller watch instead of sweeping the dial.
The latest collection from Franck Muller has updated design permutations such as the new Franck Muller Vanguard Crazy Hours in a black carbon casing and lemon yellow numerals and an elegant brushed black dial.
Then there’s the Franck Muller Vanguard Crazy Hours Lady. This stunning Franck Muller womens watch is dotted with over eighty pink rose sapphires. It may need a little getting used to when the numeral 8 is at 12 o’clock and 11 is at the usual 3 o’clock.
But it’s awe-inspiring that this element of fun in the Franck Muller watches clearly rides on the back of a strong understanding and skill in horology that few others can match. The elegant and finely-crafted little rebellion against tradition is what makes Franck Muller watches such a pleasure to follow and wear.