Franck Muller Master Of Tourbillons

He built his watch empire from scratch and has made the company a rival of mega groups.

He sold a watch worth 20 millions dollars. And the watch bears not a single diamond.

He created a watch with 36 functions – an ultra complicated wristwatch ever made.

His name is Mr. Franck Muller.

One might say Abraham-Louis Breguet is the father of tourbillons, Greubel Forsey the modern successor of tourbillons. Then Franck Muller can be dubbed as the master of tourbillons. He has created various exceptional tourbillons, namely, two-axial, tri-axial, the biggest, the fastest, etc. This year, the master watchmaker stuns us by a super-sized tourbillon with an off-centre balance wheel and elliptical cage.

The Marvels of Tourbillons

Having worked in the watchmaking industry for over 30 years, Franck Muller creates tens of tourbillon watches, which is perhaps an unsurpassed achievement. It does bring watch lovers great pleasure. Maybe Mr. Breguet would be the most positive one to learn that there are successors keep pushing the boundaries of tourbillon.

Not only does Franck Muller develop scores of avant-garde tourbillons, he also unites it with other complex functions. Most importantly, he is also a visionary leader bringing together other most talented watchmakers to build new creations, continuing the recognition of master of tourbillons.

In the early 1980s, Franck Muller started designing watches of his own. He created in 1986 a tourbillon watch with jumping hour and regulator-type dial, his first iconic achievement. In 1992, he presented the world a watch with perpetual calendar, minute repeater, grande and petite sonnerie, and indicator of temperature, which was then hailed as the most complicated watch in the world, followed by the world’s smallest tourbillon in 1998. What made Franck Muller a highly sought-after brand was the Revolution 1 released in 2002. Its tourbillon cage can rise towards the sapphire glass after activation. During 2003 to 2005, the tourbillons were re-interpreted by the two-axial Revolution 2, tri-axial Revolution 3 as well as the Revolution 3-1, making the brand the pioneer of creating tourbillons offering a three-dimensional vision. The Aeternitas was the next chapter of Franck Muller’s watchmaking journey. The Aeternitas Mega launched in 2007 boasts no less than 36 functions including grande and petite sonnerie, eternal calendar, split-seconds chronograph and tourbillon, firmly ranking the brand among the highest echelons of haute horlogerie.

In the course of the last few years, the company created a tourbillon watch every two years. In 2011, the Giga Tourbillion claimed the world’s largest tourbillon; in 2013, the Thunderbolt Tourbillon, with its ultra-fast 5-second rotation, earned the title of the fastest tourbillon in the world. This year, the brand introduces us an extraordinary new tourbillon watch.

he tourbillon cage of Revolution 1 can rise towards the sapphire glass after activation.

The two-axial tourbillon of the Revolution 2 rotates both horizontally and vertically.

The Revolution 3 is equipped with a tri-axial tourbillon.

Apart from the tri-axial tourbillon, the Revolution 3-1 is equipped with a perpetual calendar.

The complicated watch ever – Aeternitas Mega.

The Giga Tourbillon has the world’s largest tourbillon.

The Thunderbolt Tourbillon completes a rotation every 5 seconds.

Vanguard Gravity

One day, perhaps, we would see a Frank Muller’s tourbillon occupying the whole dial. Because the company, in its root, has the mastery of creating mesmerising tourbillons. Since the tourbillon migrates from pocket watches to wristwatches, its practical function is not as significant as before. Hence Franck Muller seldom emphasises how much accuracy is enhanced by their tourbillons; what really counts is how eye-catching of them. So we’re seeing a gigantic tourbillon this year.

The Vanguard Gravity houses a 14.4mm balance wheel and tourbillon cage with a diameter of 21.1mm, which is slightly bigger than the 20mm diameter tourbilon of the Giga Tourbillon. With a tourbillon like this, who needs a watch loupe to examine the piece? Even though the Vanguard Gravity has a giant toubillon, its size is kept reasonable. The movement measures 39.6 x 38.4mm and the case 53.7 x 44mm. Comparing to the Parmigiani Kalpa XL Hebdomadaire, it also features a tonneau case measuring 44.7 x 37.2mm with a 29.3 x 23.6mm movement inside. It implies that the Vanguard Gravity has made best use of the space.

Known for its innovative spirit and traditional craftsmanship, Franck Muller follows the tradition of using a big balance wheel in pocket watch. The piece is bestowed a 14.4mm diameter balance wheel, which is larger than the 14mm diameter balance wheel of MB&F Legacy Machine 1. Apart from the enormous size, the rotation of the balance wheel is also one of a kind. Its axis is deviated from the axis of the aluminum tourbillon cage. And the balance wheel rotates with the gear in the lower level. Normally the rotation of the balance wheel and tourbillon are placed on the same axis. And this separating regulation sounds like the mechanism of the carrousel. Does this mechanism contribute to a higher accuracy? We believe it does, though the company hasn’t disclosed more information on it. Maybe not all will be impressed by the elliptical cage, but no one can deny it is a unique one.

直徑:53.7 x 44mm

Vanguard Carbon

It is common to see the uncommon tourbillons made my Franck Muller. Yet, it is unusual to see a carbon fibre case from them. For their timepieces are usually, if not always, made in precious metals; even the black PVD coated case is made in white gold. As the name suggests, the Vanguard collection boasts strong sporty characteristics. And this brand new timepiece is the first sports watch to the Vanguard’s line. What’s more, for the first time the company makes a carbon fibre case.

Audemars Piguet was the very first manufacture to apply carbon fiber in watchmaking, followed by many other brands like Hublot, Richard Mille and Panerai. To stand out among all these brands, Franck Muller gives the watch a camouflage look. The process is delicate as the whole case is crafted out of a mass of carbon instead of strands of carbon, the common way of doing so. The result is therefore different and the wave pattern is more irregular. The black dial pairing with the cordura nylon strap showcases striking monotone. The prominent date window with a white backdrop may not impress everyone, yet it helps embellish the dial. A small piece of advice: just don’t forget to keep the date always accurate.

直徑:53.7 x 44mm
機芯:FM 0800自動

Vanguard Lady

Franck Muller timepieces effortlessly captivate ladies of all ages with its vibrant colours and bold designs. At two years young, the new Vanguard line is enriched with a new feminine interpretation.

The elegant Vanguard Lady is highlighted by its applique relief indices, alligator leather strap and crown, all in pink. This timepiece features a sun-stamped dial and diamond-set bezel. Surprisingly, the Vanguard Lady is not a smaller-sized watch for women, but its case size is same as that of Gravity and Carbon. The only question is whether the ladies are willing to wear this beautiful piece to do sports activities? Despite Franck Muller’s reputation for complicated movements, many of their ladies’ watches run on quartz movements. It will surely be more attractive to female connoisseurs if the watches come with mechanical movements.

直徑:53.7 x 44mm

Vanguard Automatic

Besides the complications, Franck Muller has steadily developed classic watch line-ups by the Freedom and Vintage families over the past few years. The Vanguard launched last year becomes one of the pillar collections of daily watches. Today, their complications and jewellery pieces are widely recognised. It is time to create another long-lasting collection for long term development.

To Franck Muller, the tonneau case is always their hallmark and tradition. There is no better choice than a tonneau case to the Vanguard collection, as a recent rising star rolled out by the brand. With its sporty characteristics, the Vanguard watch features a more balanced proportion. And its strap is integrated into the case by two unseen screws which replace the lugs to give a harmonious contour. The applique relief numerals also score big points; the straight lines of the indices and the curvature of the case form an appealing contrast. These embossed Arabic numerals might one day become the high water mark of the collection.

Apart from the tourbillon models, Vanguard offers only three-hands watches and chronographs available in stainless steel, titanium, rose gold and Ergal alloy. To match the sports theme, the strap is rubber inside with alligator leather on top to fit well on wrist. Equipped with an automatic movement providing 42-hour power reserve, this piece offers also a date display. In terms of price, the Vanguard priced at tens of thousands dollars is an ideal watch for daily wear as it is more affordable than the exorbitant tourbillon watches.

直徑:53.7 x 44mm
機芯:FM 0800自動