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Setting a milestone

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The Cintree Curvex 25th Anniversary, a special edition which pays homage to its iconic shape.

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The Vanguard Skeleton Sapphire Tourbillon showcases the watch's tourbillon movement to the fullest.

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A key feature of the Vanguard Fullback is the dial, which is inspired by the dashboard of an aircraft cockpit.

FRANCK Muller has unveiled 10 new timepieces on its 25th birthday this year. Among them is the Cintree Curvex 25th Anniversary, a special edition which pays homage to its iconic shape; the Vanguard Fullback, the brand's first dedication to aviation; and the Vanguard Skeleton Sapphire which features an all-sapphire case.

The Cintree Curvex (S$38,820) set a milestone in contemporary watchmaking in the early 1990s with its tonneau-shaped case, which had an unprecedented curved architecture that created a 3D effect of the signature Franck Muller style.

The latest model incorporates baroque-inspired numerals, another emblematic brand signature, are first engraved onto the gold case and then covered with ceramic to finally be re-machined to let the numerals appear. The 25th anniversary logo is set against the enamel dial at 6 o'clock. The watch is powered by a Franck Muller in-house automatic movement, which has a power reserve of 42 hours.

The Fullback (S$21,486) is a new line in the brand's Vanguard family. A key feature of the watch is the dial, which is inspired by the dashboard of an aircraft cockpit - in particular its minute counter, date aperture and target display.

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The date counter and aviation colours used on the watch give the feel of a fighter plane. The case is made of titanium, rose gold and carbon. Housed in it is either a manual or automatic movement. The crown is adorned with a red trigger.

The Vanguard Skeleton Sapphire Tourbillon (S$481,586), which is virtually scratch-resistant and hard, showcases the watch's tourbillon movement to the fullest. The transparent case revealed a Franck Muller in-house hand-wound movement, which was last seen in the Vanguard Skeleton Tourbillon. The view is enhanced by a white PVD skeleton dial.

It took four months to create and craft the case, shaping it out of a single block of sapphire. That is two months to machine the case, two to polish it.

"Because of sapphire's tough-cookie persona, cutting and shaping it takes skills, experience and finesse - traits that only the most accomplished of watchmakers possess," the brand says. It adds that while technology has improved, machining the sapphire crystal from a single block remains challenging. Diamond-tipped milling machines - a heavy financial investment - are required to cut and sculpt the sapphire.