Independent watchmaker Franck Muller is known as 'The Master of Complications' for his ingenious creations. His eponymous watches are also immediately recognisable thanks to their curved lines and distinctive designs. Discover Franck Muller at Time+Tide.

VIDEO: Access all areas in the Franck Muller Tourbillon Department

There have been big changes at the Franck Muller manufacture over the last couple of years. The once homely property on a hillside looking out over Lake Geneva has been thoroughly expanded and modernised – Baroque and Romanesque flourishes inside and out have been updated to the more spacious proportions created by exposed beams and vaulted ceilings, all befitting of a luxurious ski lodge. Somewhere in a light-filled room appointed with watchmaker’s benches in this village of multi-storey buildings is the Franck Muller ‘Tourbillon Department’. The warmest thing in this room, no matter the time of year, is Patrice Couston’s smile. He is the head of the Department and his passion for what he does is unmistakeable. To the extent that, after a tour and his explanation of some of the challenges faced in by one attempting to assemble a tourbillon, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a watch he had assembled in his spare time at home, also a tourbillon. “I’m crazy for the tourbillon so I said ok, I will transform this movement into a tourbillon. So I did.”

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HANDS-ON: Bold and beautiful – Franck Muller’s Cintrée Curvex Skeleton Tourbillon 

I don’t want to get all KPI on you, but image selection is something that I spend a lot of my time working on. Of the dozens of shots of any given watch that one of our photographers take, only a handful make the final cut. That’s not because the shots are out of focus or poorly lit, but because we strive to hit the right balance between written and visual information, and both elements are complementary and essential. Typically on this sort of review, I’ll end up running with four or five images. Today I’ve we’re at 12, more than double what we’d usually publish. Not just because they’re stunning, drool-worthy pictures (they are), but because they tell a story about the watch, showing the form and quality in a way that a written description of the specifications cannot quite compete with. But that’s not to say I won’t try. Just in case the tell-tale Curvex shape and the name on the dial didn’t give it away, you’re looking at Franck Muller’s Cintrée Curvex Skeleton Tourbillon, a mighty 39.5mm wide by 55.3mm long white gold case, polished to a mirror like finish, with the thick, domed sapphire case seamlessly integrated… Read More

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ADVENT CALENDAR 2016: December 24 – Franck Muller Thunderbolt Tourbillon

Silent night, holy night, all is calm, apart from the reassuring tick of your Franck Muller Thunderbolt Tourbillon. And let’s not for a minute – or five seconds to be more accurate – mistake the forest for the Christmas trees here, the real star inside this gold curvex case is the tourbillon. When you’re playing at this level, tourbillons are par for the course, but Franck Muller’s master watchmaker Pierre-Michel Golay has taken the Thunderbolt Tourbillon to the next level. Most tourbillons make a full revolution every 60 seconds – this one does it in five, not only making it the fastest tourbillon in the world, but also one of the most mesmerising. If Santa had a stretch target, this would be it. Good luck mate! Who should you buy this for:Someone who has been very, very, very good. What’s the damage: If you have to ask…. Under $400k   Franck Muller Thunderbolt Tourbillon Australian pricing Franck Muller Thunderbolt Tourbillon, $357,600

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VIDEO: Access all areas in the Franck Muller Tourbillon Department

There have been big changes at the Franck Muller manufacture over the last couple of years. The once homely property on a hillside looking out over Lake Geneva has been thoroughly expanded and modernised – Baroque and Romanesque flourishes inside and out have been updated to the more spacious proportions created by exposed beams and vaulted ceilings, all befitting of a luxurious ski lodge. Somewhere in a light-filled room appointed with watchmaker’s benches in this village of multi-storey buildings is the Franck Muller ‘Tourbillon Department’. The warmest thing in this room, no matter the time of year, is Patrice Couston’s smile. He is the head of the Department and his passion for what he does is unmistakeable. To the extent that, after a tour and his explanation of some of the challenges faced in by one attempting to assemble a tourbillon, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a watch he had assembled in his spare time at home, also a tourbillon. “I’m crazy for the tourbillon so I said ok, I will transform this movement into a tourbillon. So I did.”

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HANDS-ON: Franck Muller gets disruptive with the Vanguard Chronograph Camouflage

If you want to get technical (and at T+T we always do), camouflage is a combination of patterns, colours and materials that serves to conceal an object and help it blend in with its surroundings. In nature, think leopards and tigers. In more man-made contexts, camouflage is the domain of the military, where it’s often given the boring-yet-descriptive name of ‘disruptive pattern material’ – the amorphous blobs and swirling shapes of modern camo serving to obscure the shape of the soldier or vehicle against its environment. If we only used this set of criteria, the Franck Muller Vanguard Chronograph Camouflage would not pass MOD muster. Even though the dial does a good job imitating forest, desert and urban camouflage patterns, there’s still no mistaking that curvex shape of the watch. Luckily then, this Vanguard isn’t military issue – rather it uses camouflage in its far more fun and fashionable context – that of style. And of course, on high streets and catwalks across the world, fashion’s appropriation of this covert print isn’t intended to make the wearer blend in with the crowd, but to help them stand out. And on this front the Vanguard excels. Even if the watch didn’t sport those not-so-stealthy dials,… Read More

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HANDS-ON: Hello Sailor! Franck Muller takes to the high seas with the Yachting collection

The last time we had Franck Muller in the office it was a bold Vanguard clad in sinister black and red – a watch that was at once sporty and menacing. Today we’re looking at another take on their trademark curved shape, and while the case and dial layout are the similar to the Vanguard, the overall look and feel couldn’t be more different. The name gives the game away a little, but the Yachting watch offers a fresh nautical feel on the wrist. The marine allusions start with the dial, a shimmering navy blue that pairs well with the bright white Arabic hour markers. On top of that the centre of the dial displays a compass rose, a navigational motif that is picked up in the outer section of the dial (complete with lines of latitude and longitude), with bearings on the outermost section. If you were still on the fence about the world this watch lived in, the ‘yachting’ text at the bottom of the dial will seal the deal one way or another. There’s no denying that there’s quite a lot going on with this dial, and it won’t be for everyone. But it’s colourful and fun,… Read More

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GONE IN 60 SECONDS: The most complicated wristwatch ever made – the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega video review

Franck Muller has the rather grandiloquent sobriquet of ‘The Master of Complications’ – and this watch is the reason why. Superseding Patek Philippe’s Calibre 89 for the most complicated title when it was released in 2010, the Aeternitas Mega features a staggering 36 complications, 21 hands and a movement with no fewer than 1483 parts. More impressive still, it held on to that title even after Patek unveiled its showstopping Grandmaster Chime in 2014. (For some reason, this is occasionally referred to as the most complicated watch ever made, though the Aeternitas Mega tops it by an impressive margin of 16 complications, which places it as the clear winner, even allowing for the inevitable ambiguity as to what constitutes a ‘complication’.) Reading the watch takes more than a little getting used to and adjusting it requires a PhD in advanced horology. But whatever you do, don’t let it run out of power – resetting it must be a nightmare. Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega Australian pricing Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega, $4,231,300 (Note, RRP has been updated since this video was filmed).

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