When the maker of the world’s most complicated watch unveils three of its new collections, the world takes note. In September of 2013, the Franck Muller watch company released the Giga Gong Tourbillon, Infinity Sunrise and Skeleton collections at the 22nd annual World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie in Hong Kong, China.
While not quite as complex as the most complicated watch, the Aeternitas Mega, which has 1,483 components and 36 complications, the Giga Gong Tourbillon is a tribute to the maker’s sophistication with the visible tourbillon highlighting its surface case features. It is the world’s largest tourbillon, a mechanical addition to the escapement designed to enhance accuracy, which now adds an elegant and novel touch to a horology aficionado’s timepiece. The watch model has a chiming striking hour feature and a six-day power capacity, which is unusually lengthy for a mechanical watch. The setting is encased in either the Franck Muller signature Cintrée Curvex or round shapes in 18-carat gold.
The Skeleton collection, as the name suggests, is a style that allows the watch admirer to view the internal workings of the mechanical watch’s caliber 1740 version. The gold or chrome styling exterior and round of curved shaped is set with 21 jewels and boasts a seven-day power source.
Finally, the feminine Infinity Sunrise collection offers a design as bold as one would expect from the avant garde watchmaker. Its mother-of-pearl dial reflects subtle shimmering illumination contrasted with its bold setting of a wheel of pave diamonds. The style communicates assertive elegance and sophistication, with an intelligent quartz movement. A successful woman would feel accomplished accessorizing with the Swiss precision of this selection.
Franck Muller broke into the mechanical watchmaking world when it was experiencing an identity crisis in the 1990s. The largely esoteric, centuries-old industry did not invite new professionals into its ranks, however, Muller successfully launched an elite brand that has flourished in Geneva, expanded worldwide, and continues to impress elite horlogerie experts. It produces 40,000 watches per year in its facility playfully designated “Watchworld” on the banks of Lake Geneva. Its 500 employees, 48 shops and 600 locations globally promote the imaginative and innovative designs that showcase the watch designer’s appreciation with the traditional and virtuoso aspects of watchmaking that those closest to the industry strive to preserve in the fine jewelry field.
The designs Franck Muller released last month are a signature tribute to his reputation as the Master of Complications. He continues to deliver styles that find appreciation in the elite circles of horlogerie, and defies the industrialization of the of romantic and traditional art that has been a rich extension of Swiss and French identities for centuries. The audience at the Hong Kong conference was not disappointed with this most recent manifestation of masterful aesthetic design coupled with an architectural complexity that marries the best of jewelry’s traits, while maintaining the integrity of a rich, yet natural appearance that demonstrates success and an elite understanding of the watchmaking tradition.