The Master of Complications demonstrates its prowess in technical and aesthetic expressions by baring it all on the latest Vanguard creation.
The most obsessed of watch collectors are unified by one common characteristic: that of insatiable curiosity. This burning desire from aficionados to constantly dig deep to know what makes the timepieces they love tick has driven watchmaking houses to make timepieces that offer a glimpse into their innerworkings. To that end, the skeleton watch is the most extreme demonstration of a horological open book.
As the name suggests, a skeleton watch is a timepiece that is stripped to the bare bones and grants the user full visual access to what lies beneath. For watch lovers who love seeing mechanical beauties that bare everything, the Franck Muller Vanguard Slim Skeleton delivers exactly as its moniker advertises—an incredibly svelte and elegantly exposed timepiece that reveals all.
A traditional decorative technique that dates back to the mid-18th century, skeletonisation is the art of removing as much excess metal from a watch movement as possible. It is a demanding and fastidious process that requires both dexterity and technical knowledge.
For one, the craftsman needs to be highly knowledgeable about movement construction. This is so that as he removes the metal from the movement, the skeletonised components do not affect the structural integrity and performance of the watch. The second—and more obvious—skill set, is an eye for beauty. Skeleton watches are judged by their transparency and artistic expression of the bare-bones mechanisms.
On the Vanguard Slim Skeleton, Franck Muller draws on its strengths in both design and technical watchmaking. After all, the brand calls itself ‘Master of Complications’ and the Vanguard Slim Skeleton testifies to the title by being a complex work on all fronts. Driving the watch is the in-house MVT FM 708-SQ automatic movement with 38 hours of power reserve. Technical specifications aside, it is the watch’s naked beauty that is the star of the show.
Bridging The Old And New
Skeleton watches of the past are distinguished not just by their hollowed out movements, but also the manner in which they are decorated. Besides skeletonising the movement, artisans typically engraved and finished the ultra-fine movements to a high degree, so that the watches look exceptionally ornamental.
Modern skeleton watches, on the other hand, tend to eschew overt ornamentation. Instead, watchmakers of today prefer to focus on drawing attention to the architectural beauty of the skeletonised movements, often resulting more pared-down iterations.
Franck Muller’s artisans, however, deftly combine traditional and modern skeletonisation techniques on the Vanguard Slim Skeleton. Here, the movement’s bridges, plates, wheels and winding rotor have all been skeletonised to an extreme degree.
Additionally, every single component is finished to high standards. One finds with Côtes de Genève decoration on the bridges, perlage on the mainplate, chamfering on the rotor plate, diamond polishing on the sinks, and brushed finish on the bridges and wheels, among others. However, in true contemporary fashion, the skeletonised movement ultimately serves to draw your eyes to its components’ architecturally stunning form.
At the same time, the rest of the watch, too, chips in to accentuate the skeleton aesthetic. The Vanguard collection’s trademark profile and capricious style combine to endow the Vanguard Slim Skeleton with its mandatory see-through quality while enlivening it with Franck Muller’s characteristic flamboyance.
Like a teasing curtain of sorts, the watch’s dynamic hour numerals dominate the watch while playing peek-a-boo with its beautiful engine. Franck Muller’s watchmakers do so by crafting and skeletonising the numerals on a separate dial plate, and setting it above the movement. Elsewhere, the watch’s thick plongeur-style hands have also been skeletonised and filled with coloured lacquer. Together, they help ensure uncompromising legibility—a common challenge for skeleton watches.
The Franck Muller Vanguard Spirit
Admittedly, Franck Muller’s choice of having a skeletonised model in the Vanguard collection appears unusual at first. Inspired by casual, sportive luxury, Vanguard is Franck Muller’s most youthful collection—not the most obvious of candidates to house a tradition-hewn skeleton movement.
However, the brand again shows its knack for bridging seemingly disparate worlds. In fact, the Vanguard’s testosterone-charged spirit proved to be the perfect canvas. Offered in various iterations, the Asia-Pacific exclusive editions of the Vanguard Slim Skeleton come in iced-out iterations that are primed for a glamourous night out.
Housed in 41mm by 49.95mm 18k rose and white gold cases, these gem-set creations are not for the faint of heart. Lavished with unbridled glitter, the case is paved with 285 brilliant-cut diamonds totalling 4.92 carats. Elsewhere, the skeletonised hour numerals and hands are festooned with 177 brilliant-cut diamonds, totalling 0.46 carats.
Although the models are unapologetically loud, the shower of precious stones complement, rather than distract, from their skeletonised movements. Staying faithful to the spirit of the technique by letting the movements take centre stage, the bejewelled versions also elevate the look with capriciousness and extravagance.
The irony of a skeleton watch lies in fact that while it is made to bare as much as mechanically possible, the unveiling of its innerworkings inspires even more intrigue. Franck Muller demonstrates this duality perfectly with the Vanguard Slim Skeleton. Crafted with artful transparency, the watch also teases with an air of mystique like no other.
Discover with the mysterious and alluring Franck Muller Vanguard Slim Skeleton at Cortina Watch today.