INTRODUCING: The Franck Muller x Bamford Watch Department Popeye VanguardZach Blass
Character watches have enjoyed a resurgence as of late. We’ve seen TAG Heuer x Mario, the revived Gerald Genta Mickey Mouse, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther, Konstantin Chaykin and his Minions Joker watch, a plethora of Snoopy releases from brands such as Omega, Franck Muller and Bamford Watch Department and more. In fact, the latter paved the way for this week’s latest collaboration between the pair. The new Franck Muller x Bamford Watch Department Popeye Vanguard brings together the beloved spinach-eating cartoon sailor and Bamford’s signature injection of blue.
A total of 85 watches will be available for sale, 60 pieces in PVD black titanium and 25 pieces in rose gold. Both cases are richly hand-brushed and clock in at 44mm in diameter, 12.7mm in thickness and 53.7mm across the wrist lug-to-lug – so you better be eating your spinach and lifting weights to ensure the case does not overshadow your wrist. That being said, the tonneau case has a curved camber. So, it is, perhaps, more wrist-friendly than its dimensions on paper suggest.
The dials between the pair are effectively one and the same, both microblasted black dials with meticulously hand-painted and applied figures, hands and indices. Where they deviate slightly from each other can be seen on the bordering of the applied numerals, blue for the black titanium and a matching rose-gold for the other model. We may get distracted by the cheekiness of Popeye on a watch dial, but make no mistake – Swiss craftsmanship is definitely at play here. Rather than merely printing the character on the dial, the hand-painted touches to the applied Popeye elements gives it a real vibrancy of colour. As if a highly collectable pin rests beneath the sapphire crystal. The hours and minutes hands are represented by Popeye’s arms, while the tip of the central seconds hand conveys Popeye’s baby , Swee’Pea, crawling around the dial. Just before you reach the blue inner bezel, which serves as a compass scale that ties into the nautical theme of the cartoon, you will notice small red-boxed indices that correspond with each of the hour numerals (or convey the hours where 6′ and 7′ have been removed to accommodate Popeye).
While the watch has nautical flair, its depth rating of 30 metres means it is probably best not to capsize your boat while wearing the watch. Both are affixed to black hand-sewn rubber and calfskin straps with case-matching buckle closures. With its effectively lug-less case design, you may wonder where the strap is connected to the case. It actually integrates inside the case, which allows it to maintain the continuity of the curved lines of the case – creating a better camber around the wrist.
Inside you have the automatic calibre MVT FM 800, which is Franck Muller’s modified take on a Swiss ETA-base. The 4Hz calibre offers 42 hours of power reserve, and is decorated with Côtes de Genève, circular graining, chamfering, and polished blued screws among other nice touches of finishing. The calibre is not particularly competitive technically speaking, but this is definitely not a watch you would buy for the movement. The number one attraction of a watch for the larger watch buying marketplace is the dial, and the dial is certainly enough of a source of intrigue here.
Franck Muller x Bamford Watch Department Popeye Vanguard pricing and availability:
As you would expect from a Bamford Watch Department collaboration, the Franck Muller x Bamford Watch Department Popeye Vanguard© is shipped in creative packaging that includes a spinach can watch box and a Popeye cartoon-printed micro-fibre cloth that details his unique journey from Bamford’s in London to Franck Muller’s Watchland in Geneva. The watches are available now, the Black Titanium a limited edition of 60 pieces and the Rose Gold a limited edition of 25 pieces, exclusively online from Bamford Watch Department and at select Franck Muller stockists around the world. Price: £12,500 (Black Titanium), £21,500 (Rose Gold)
An allocation for each of these watches has been exclusively given to the Time+Tide Club. Click here for more details
|Franck Muller x Bamford Watch Department
|Franck Muller x Bamford Watch Department Popeye Vanguard©
|44mm x 12.7mm x 53.7mm
|Black titanium or rose gold
|Black microblasted dial with applique numerals painted and applied by hand. Exclusive Popeye’s dial with
hours and minutes hands representing Popeye’s arms. Seconds hand respresenting Popeye’s baby , Swee’Pea.
|Hand sewn rubber and calfskin strap with case-matching buckle
|MVT FM 800 (automatic)
|Hours, minutes, seconds
|Available now, exclusively online from Bamford Watch Department and at select Franck Muller stockists around the world.
|Franck Muller x BWD Popeye Vanguard© Black Titanium – RRP £12,500 (60 pcs.)
Franck Muller x BWD Popeye Vanguard© Rose Gold – RRP £21,500 (25 pcs.)