Franck Muller is an independent watch brand based in 1991, meaning that the brand is 25 years old this season. Through the years, they’ve have amazed fans and collectors with their bold and brash watches and ranges. The early part of the decade was arguably the brand’s most fertile period. Longtime watch enthusiasts will surely remember the launching of this bonkers Aeternitas Mega 4 in 2010, a super complex watch which has 36 complications and above 1,400 components. Even today, the Franck Muller Giga Tourbillon watch still boasts the greatest tourbillon mechanism in almost any wristwatch, so let’s take a better look at some of them here.Franck Muller released the very first of its Giga Tourbillon watches in 2011, and it was developed to be a showcase of this brand’s expertise in movement design and manufacturing. The Franck Muller Giga Tourbillon is so called because of its substantial tourbillon mechanism, of course. That’s nearly twice the size of the majority of tourbillons found in other watches, and nearly half the diameter of several watches! Also impressive is how the tourbillon cage is marked with the brand’s initials, FM.It’s a stunning achievement, especially once you consider the total amount of energy that is required to reestablish a tourbillon of that size. To achieve this, Pierre-Michel Golay, the master watchmaker at Franck Muller, determined that he needed to fit no fewer than four barrels into the watch. Not just that, the barrels needed to be bigger than traditional ones, and in the end they quantified over 16mm at a diameter, almost rivaling the width of the tourbillon itself. Finally, the four barrels have been connected in series and it gave the movement a consequent power book of 240 hours, or 10 days, which I believe you will agree is impressive thinking about the significant size of the tourbillon.
Franck Muller Vanguard Gravity Lady Tourbillon
The Franck Muller Vanguard Lady Tourbillon Gravity is the first ladies’ tourbillon in the Vanguard collection, but it is by no means the brand’s first ladies’ tourbillon. Franck Muller, one of the original independent brands, specializes in high complications and was the first watchmaker to begin making tourbillons specifically for women. Its first ladies’ tourbillon was introduced in 2008, and was called, simply, Lady Tourbillon, which gives you an idea of how rare such a thing was back then – no need to identify it in any other way; if it was a Lady Tourbillon, it was a Franck Muller. Today, there are three “lady tourbillons” in the Franck Muller collection: one in the Round collection, one in the Heart collection, and the one in the Vanguard Lady collection, introduced last week during the brand’s WPHH, World Presentation of Haute Horology. The Franck Muller Vanguard Heart Skeleton, a beautifully skeletonized ladies’ watch that is actually more expensive than the tourbillon, was also presented this year by Franck Muller.
The movement of the Lady Tourbillon, the manual-wound Caliber FM L03, was created specifically for a woman’s watch – which means, essentially that it was miniaturized, built from the ground up as a smaller movement. It has a thickness of 5.70mm and a diameter of 29.50mm, compared, for example, to the manual-wound movement of the men’s Vanguard Tourbillon, with a thickness of 8.70mm and a whopping width of 38.4mm. The diameter of the tourbillon cage on the ladies’ is 16.25mm, compared to the men’s at 21.2mm. The Vanguard Lady Tourbillon Gravity case – shaped as an elongated barrel in the typical Franck Muller style – measures only 35mm by 11.5mm in thickness, and 46.3mm in length. This is very small for a ladies’ tourbillon, and very, very small for a Franck Muller tourbillon. By the way, ladies, if you like a larger watch (44mm wide), you may prefer the men’s Vanguard Gravity tourbillon, which is set with just under 9 carats of diamonds. The bridges are a point of interest on the Vanguard tourbillons. They are built on three axes in concave and convex shapes that form an elliptical circle in an overall composition that is very three-dimensional. The bridge is the central feature of the watch, and it is this feature that Franck Muller uses to apply a feminine touch to the Lady Vanguard Gravity. One of the bridges is made of anodized aluminum that has been tinted hot pink. The color is matched on the outline of the numerals, the markings on the minute track, the crown cap, and the strap. Compared to some of Franck Muller’s other watches, particularly ladies’ watches, this piece is actually understated in its feminine codes.
Franck Muller Vanguard V38 Heart Skeleton
Take the new Vanguard V38 Heart Skeleton, for example. The hearts are a dead giveaway that this is a “lady” watch. There are seven in all, and they are not simply stamped on a dial, applied in enamel, or outlined in gemstones. They form the bridges of a skeletonized, manual-wound movement. Measuring a remarkable 32mm wide, the case of this watch, in either gold or stainless steel, is honed down to feminine proportions. It is fairly thick, though, at 10.40mm, no doubt to keep it stable in its fully skeletonized form. The thickness is emphasized to dramatic effect by the deep profile of the hearts, which are skeletonized both back and front. The watch is water-resistant to 30m. Functions include hours, minutes, and a small seconds subsidiary dial at 6 o’clock. It has a four-day power reserve. The strap is alligator on top and rubber on the bottom.
The Vanguard Heart Skeleton is priced at 20,800 CHF in stainless steel and 26,800 CHF in white or rose gold. The Vanguard Lady Tourbillon Gravity is available in two sizes. The 35mm version in stainless steel is priced at 113,000 CHF and in white or rose gold at 120,600 CHF. The 38mm is priced at 115,000 CHF in stainless steel and 123,000 CHF in white or rose gold. franckmuller.com