Since its founding in 1992, Franck Muller has been a provocateur and avant-gardist in mechanical watchmaking. From re-interpreting traditional watchmaking to pushing the boundaries of technical excellence, the brand has continued to break norms in design and creativity. Thirty years on, the brand continues to deliver audacious timepieces, especially in Southeast Asia where it retails under Cortina Holdings.
Franck Muller and Cortina Holdings have developed numerous projects since their retail partnership started two years ago. The investment of time, resources and creativity by both companies have delivered strong growth in the region, as well as exciting products that cater to the interests of the region’s watch connoisseurs.
Raymond Lim, CEO of Cortina Holdings, explains that “by focusing on specific and actionable feedback from the brand’s collectors in the region, we have been able to develop new products with Franck Muller that have been well-received. One example is a smaller case size for the Vanguard collection, that fits wearers’ wrists better.”
In addition, several special editions have been created, based on Southeast Asian customers’ affinity for contemporary art and design, and most recently, streetwear. This month, the brand is presenting a new special edition watch designed by the founder of trendy streetwear brand #FR2 (Fxxking Rabbits), Ryo Ishikawa.
Ishikawa is an iconic figure in Asia’s streetwear scene, renowned for his flagship brand VANQUISH. #FR2 or Fxxking Rabbits is a provocative platform where the worlds of fashion, design, illustration and culture clash in an almost chaotic yet whimsical manner. This was why Franck Muller decided to collaborate with them. “Like us, #FR2 refuses to abide by the usual rules in fashion, starting with its sassy name. Exploring new partners also allows us to break new ground in watchmaking, which the #FR2NCK MULLER Vanguard definitely does,” explains Nicholas Rudaz, CEO of Franck Muller.
The watch celebrates the approaching Lunar Year of the Water Rabbit and combines the graphical identity of #FR2 with Franck Muller’s design. Its white dial represents the fresh winter snow on which #FR2’s Fxxking Rabbits motif sits at seven o’clock. The applied, oversized hour markers and minute track are in black, which contrasts with Ishikawa’s playful graphical rabbits.
The #FR2 logo is also stamped on the dial, and for the first time integrated with Franck Muller’s own logo, as #FR2NCK MULLER. SuperLumiNova is coated on the #FR2 Fxxking Rabbits logo, as well as the hands and minute track markers. Furthermore, the crown, hands, applied numerals, case side inserts and dial rings are treated with a black PVD coating to enhance their durability.
But it is the 41mm-sized case where the watch truly stands out. Made of carbon and glass fibre that’s melted linearly to create each layer, they are then dipped in a resin and moulded under high temperature and pressure to form the material. This is then machined, waterproofed, further machined and then finished by hand to create a smooth, glossy case of the Vanguard model. The finished case reminds one of Murano glass, perfectly smoothed and edgeless.
The watch strap is a textile strap designed by #FR2, with the words “Caution, #FR2NCK MULLER Vanguard” printed on it. To keep to Ishikawa’s streetwear style, the closure is in Velcro with a loop. The watch comes with a unique box that’s designed in the same style.
The #FR2NCK MULLER Vanguard is powered by the FM800-DT in-house movement, with a steady 42-hour reserve and reliable performance. Its design is demonstrative of what can be achieved creatively when two brands with similar design philosophies come together, with the freedom to express themselves. It’s a watch that will earn plenty of hype among collectors, #FR2 fans and streetwear lovers. More importantly, it’s an exciting start to 2023 for Franck Muller with such a striking timepiece, with more to surely come as the year goes on.