The Franck Muller Grand Central Tourbillon Flash brings a sporty attitude to a complex movementFergus Nash
It can sometimes be difficult to know what to make of Franck Muller. Whether it’s because of the brand’s relative youth or general whimsical approach to design, it seems that a lot of collectors don’t take them particularly seriously. However, Franck Muller is built on a bedrock of technical excellence and that has earned them a place on the wrists of hugely famous people. With the new Franck Muller Grand Central Tourbillon Flash, we’re being reminded of what they can do with complex movements and a daring, sporty attitude.
I can’t think of another watch company that is as intrinsically linked with the tonneau case shape as Franck Muller, and it seems appropriate that they’ve perfected the formula.
With the Curvex CX architecture which debuted in 2021, this vaguely ovate silhouette captures that slightly eccentric spirit of the tonneau with ease. It’s both charming enough to be dressy and abstract enough to feel casual, however the Grand Central Tourbillon Flash is determined to stray into more thrilling waters with a case made from carbon fibre.
The grey and black stripes of the carbon case make for a subtle texture in comparison to the black PVD-coated hardware such as the crown and strap clasp, and dark cases help to reduce the impact of a larger size on the wrist too. Dimensionally you may not think it would be a big watch, as the width of 36.5mm would seem tiny in a round case, however the length of the tonneau shape at 52.65mm will fill out an average wrist even though it is comfortably conformed. The 12.3mm thickness is helpful too, not adding too much unnecessary bulk despite the complicated movement.
Franck Muller’s business truly took off once he began manufacturing his own tourbillons, and so the love for this high-end complication cannot be understated. Instead of the traditional position at 6 o’clock, the Franck Muller Grand Central Tourbillon has been built from the ground up to show off this feat. Many of the components have been given a black PVD coating which draws extra attention to the brightly-coloured seconds hand mounted to it.
That arrow tip, as well as the blocky indices that radiate from the centre, are made from intensely coloured PMMA that almost look luminous when provided with light. It’s available in orange, green, or blue, each looking absolutely electric in their contrast against the coated titanium struts and inner-bezel. Legibility is still surprisingly easy thanks to white skeleton hands coated in SuperLuminova that travel around the perimeter of the tourbillon window, and all of this has been made easily visible by a sapphire crystal that stretches all the way to the edges of the lugs.
Franck Muller have been quite clever with their strap pairings for the Grand Central Tourbillon Flash, matching each of the colours with the dial elements. All three references have been given loud, vibrant straps that match the acrylic’s electrifying qualities. Made with a sporty nylon weave and a calf leather backing, the buckle is made from PVD-coated stainless steel. Some people dislike the use of leather with fabric straps because of its inability to get wet, however with the watch’s 30m water resistance you don’t need to worry about taking it swimming anyway.
The MVT FM CX 36T-CTR isn’t an especially pretty name for a movement, but having appeared in a few Franck Muller models over the last couple of years it’s undoubtedly a gorgeous piece of engineering. The stacked tourbillon design is very rarely seen, even among brands with much more prestige, and on top of that the features are above average. The power reserve lasts for four days with a beat rate of 18,000 vibrations per hour, and the automatic micro-rotor is lovingly decorated.
The Franck Muller Grand Central Tourbillon Flash pricing and availability:
The Franck Muller Grand Central Tourbillon Flash is available now. Price: A$203,600
|Model||Grand Central Tourbillon Flash|
|Reference Number||CX 36 T CTR FLASH CARBONE TTNRBR|
|Case Dimensions||36.5mm (W) x 12.3mm (T) x 52.65mm (L2L)|
|Case Material||Carbon and PVD-coated titanium|
|Water Resistance||30 metres|
|Dial||Microblasted matte black with coloured PMMA indices|
|Strap||Colour-matched nylon with calf leather underside, brushed PVD steel buckle|
|Movement||MVT FM CX 36T-CTR, automatic, 18,000 vph|
|Power Reserve||4 days|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, central tourbillon|