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 into the generous curves.
While the case is assured and impressive, it pales in comparison to the movement that it frames. This manually wound calibre has 60 hours of power reserve, has a rate of 18,000 b/ph, with 21 jewels and 193 components. It also features a large tourbillon at six. But here’s where my written word starts to fall flat compared to Jason’s pictures. Sure, I could talk to you about the extensive hand-finishing on the movement — the diamond polishing, bevelling, circular graining and rhodium-plating of key elements. I could extol the virtues of the contrasting metallic tones at play. Or you could just look at these pictures.
Skeletonisation is a tricky art to master, but Franck Muller has done an excellent job here. The movement manages to make joint virtues of both the architectural and the aesthetic. The bridges and barrels are on display and stunningly finished. But they’re still clearly functional — the visual and stylistic concerns do not trump the functionality. Of course the large, traditional tourbilllon is the real heart of this watch, dominating the lower half of the dial, drawing the eye even when you can’t witness its mesmerising motion. The cage features a stylised ‘FM’ logo, an angular, curved form that echoes both the shape of the case and the sweeping lines of the skeletonised architecture.
This Skeleton Tourbillon sits at the upper echelons of Franck Muller’s offerings, thanks to its complication and the level of hand finishing. But for me it’s a watch that best epitomises the spirit of the brand, encapsulating the mix of opulence and elegance that the Genevan watchmaker is so well known for.
Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex Skeleton Tourbillon Australian pricing
Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex Skeleton Tourbillon, 8880TSQTOG, $278,900
Images by Jason Reekie.