Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Making a Bold Move

Known as the “Master of Complications,” Swiss watch brand Franck Muller puts a distinctive stamp on all its models.

The world's largest tourbillon highlights the Giga Tourbillon. 
The Giga Tourbillon starts with an idea: What if the tourbillon dominated the dial by virtue of its size, as well as its complexity? The company then brought it to life with a sleek design that highlights this powerhouse complication. With a diameter of 20mm, the tourbillon occupies half of the dial, creating a spectacle that performs its whirling dance for admirers, whether they are viewing the front or back of the timepiece.

The Giga's tourbillon is 20mm
A skeletonized dial and mainplate frame not only the tourbillon, but also the uniquely devised movement. In a departure from traditional caliber construction, the movement’s bridges are on the dial side. This disregard for the old rules of watchmaking also allows Franck Muller to play with the barrels. Instead of using just one or two barrels, the iconoclastic brand draws upon no fewer than four barrels in the Giga Tourbillon, pairing them in series and assembling them in parallel to ensure both the power necessary to drive such a large tourbillon, and the tenacity of a nine-day power reserve. The time left in the watch’s generous power reserve is read via a discreet indicator at 12 o’clock.

Franck Muller’s distinctive Curvex-shaped case boasts expansive dimensions: 43.7 by 59.2mm, with a thickness of 14mm. It’s sized to better accommodate the imposing tourbillon and the four 16.4mm barrels (4mm wider than traditional ones). The white gold case lends an air of sophistication to a timepiece that brushes aside all preconceived limitations.

Round Of Applause
The 45mm rose gold case frames the watchmaker's artistry. 
Franck Muller’s master artisans further explore the beauty of hand-carved movements with the 7 Days Power Reserve Skeleton, which reinterprets the classic model in a form that only the most skilled watchmakers have fully mastered.

The 45mm rose gold version presents the watchmaker’s art through an intricately carved scrim. The delicate design of the dial, though it seems decorative, is purely functional. Everything not strictly necessary to the watch’s functioning has been carved away. Behind that supportive framework beats a movement whose generous seven-day power reserve gives the watch its name.

Adapted from an earlier version of the caliber, this reinterpretation embraces the particular needs inherent to a skeleton movement. The impeccable finishing reflects true haute horlogerie fashion with hand-chamfered bridges, côtes de Genève and circular graining. As befits a legend in the watchmaking world, the brand designs, constructs and decorates this movement in-house.

As Time Goes By
Casablanca Chronograph
Franck Muller turns its attention to the chronograph function with this elegant Casablanca model. The timepiece incorporates several elements that are immediately recognizable as belonging to the Swiss watchmaker: stylized Arabic numerals that mark the hours, and the Cintrée Curvex case, which echoes many other classic Franck Muller pieces.

A 30-minute chronograph counter occupies the three o’clock position, and a central hand measures the chronograph seconds. A discreet indication at six o’clock reveals the date via an aperture. Luminescent hands limned in blue add a pleasing note of color contrast to the Casablanca’s dial. Measuring 39.6 by 55.4mm, with a thickness of 11.9mm, the case includes a pusher at two o’clock to start and stop the chronograph, as well as a pusher at four o’clock that resets the counter to zero. The self-winding movement boasts precision to one-eighth of a second. With an air of effortless masculinity, the Casablanca evokes the cinematic classic of the same name, and it is easy to imagine Humphrey Bogart’s Rick wearing this chronograph as he supports the French Resistance.

Real Women Have Curvex
Ladies Cintrée Curvex
The watchmaker uses the same signifiers from the Casablanca — the case and distinctive numerals — for the Ladies Cintrée Curvex. However, where they appeared masculine on the chronograph, this jewelry watch reinterprets them with an undeniably feminine slant.

Around the perimeter of the dial, 179 diamonds glitter, imbuing the white gold case with a joyful sense of luxury to match its elegant proportions: 29 by 39mm, and 10mm thick. The Cintrée Curvex case is crafted in a convex shape to better conform to the contours of the wrist, an ergonomic design that requires a great deal of gem-setting skill to decorate its flowing lines with precious gems. An offbeat, geometrically inspired bracelet boasts links in both rectangular and rhomboid shapes. Each small segment gleams with the matchless sparkle of multiple diamonds, 100 in all.

Infinity Ronde
A traditional 38mm round case gets the Franck Muller treatment and emerges, transformed, as the Infinity Ronde. Crafted in rose gold, the case is set with 136 diamonds bearing a total weight of 1.96 carats. Even the lugs attaching the case to the red alligator leather strap are diamond-set, for limitless luxury. The Swiss watchmaker’s sense of style pervades a relatively restrained dial. Black Roman numerals radiate from the center, their tapered ends conveying a sense of movement and excitement.

Using all the tools at the watchmaker’s disposal, from inventive twists on classic complications to virtuoso displays of craftsmanship, and the sparkling allure of diamonds, Franck Muller creates timepieces to thrill the most demanding watch lovers.

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