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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Even if the watch didn’t sport those not-so-stealthy dials, the bold 45mm steel case with integrated pushers would catch the eye, as would the stylised numerals. Straps on the brown and green models are fine leather inset in rubber, and the blue, as befitting its more nautical vibe, uses a textured sailcloth-like material.

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The green and brown amp up the contrast with black cases and dial details, while the blue sticks to a brushed steel approach. And even though there’s no doubt these timepieces won’t be for everyone, if you’re after a big, bold piece that’s the star of the show, this could be for you. Only question is – which colour do you go?

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Franck Muller Vanguard Chronograph Camouflage Australian pricing

The Franck Muller Vanguard Chronograph Camouflage, in steel with blue, green or brown dial, $24,500

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