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Setting a milestone
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.
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.