Artistic vision and technical know-how collide in these 2022 novelties.
Even though most of the luxury watch brands that still exist today were founded and operate out of Switzerland, their clientele has extended beyond the country’s borders and expanded to a global audience. And in the last couple of years, Asia has become an increasingly important region for the luxury market as evidenced by the growing number of brand ambassadors that hail from this part of the world.
Another great example of this phenomenon is the fact that just recently during WPHH 2022, the Genthod-based manufacture Franck Muller, announced three new collections that will be made exclusive to the South East Asian (SEA) region. Whether it was a coincidence or a tell-tale sign of our tastes, each of these new SEA-exclusives was created to boast a kaleidoscope of colours resulting in a pretty unique set of watches that still retains all of Franck Muller’s DNA.
Round Rainbow Skeleton
First up on the list is for all the gemstone lovers out there. The time and effort it took to create a rainbow hue with precious stones on the bezel make this watch a brilliant addition to any serious watch collection. Although round is not a shape you often see in Franck Muller’s portfolio, the shape remains an important one for the brand as it represents its founder’s beginnings in classic timepiece restoration.
To create this gem-set version of the Round Skeleton, 48 baguette-cut, multi-coloured gems are arranged in a channel setting. Each of the sapphires, rubies and tsavorites used to create this rainbow hue, had to be carefully chosen so that the quality and colour are consistent throughout the spectrum. Additionally, the size of each stone had to be the same to ensure homogeneity and enable the light to cascade off each stone facet equally. What makes this piece even more unique is the additional 16 stones that follow the rainbow colours accordingly on each of the lugs.
The sophisticated FM 1740-RS calibre movement powers the Round Rainbow Skeleton and has been carefully open-worked to reveal the entire geartrain. The movement is one of Franck Muller’s most reliable movements offering up to seven days of power reserve thanks to its twin barrels. With a case size of 42mm, the watch appeals to both genders, wearing like a mid-size watch for most men, and like an oversized timepiece for women.
As with all previous Colour Dreams that came before it, this watch represents the manifestation of Franck Muller as a collector of art and crafter of sophisticated watches. The very first Colour Dreams debuted in 2000 and since then, its artistic ethos has spread to every corner of Franck Muller’s collection. The latest comes in the form of the Vanguard 7 Days Power Reserve Skeleton which combines the playfulness of the colours with a dynamic lightweight carbon fibre case.
Applying the Colour Dreams treatment to the FM1740-VS calibre movement was an absolute pleasure as this movement was conceived as a skeleton movement from the start of its design process. This means that, unlike movements that are open-worked to become a skeleton movement, the watch designers were free to imagine exactly what they want the movement to look like and build the geartrain around that vision. Simply put, this movement has a form that is not compromised by function.
For this reference, the bridges are electroplated to offer a dizzying array of colours while still showcasing the technical side of the movement. Initially created to fit a 45mm case, the FM1740-VS movement had to be redesigned to fit into the smaller 43mm case of the watch. With its more compact form, the watch will now allow both men and women to wear it comfortably on the wrist.
Building upon the Vanguard Rose Skeleton that was launched last year, this year fans of the brand in South East Asia are getting an exclusive version clad in seductive black diamonds. To be exact, there are 422 of these brilliant black diamonds totalling 3.61 carats encrusting the case with a further 12 black diamonds on the clasp.
The burst of colour on these watches comes with hand-painted enamel varnish roses in four different bold hues, inspired by the beauty of nature during springtime. Besides this varnish, a variety of materials were also used as the artist’s paintbrush to make the dial pop. Diamonds, rubies or sapphires were also utilised to match the hues of the roses adding yet another layer of texture to the dial.
One technical aspect to note about this timepiece is that the case and bridges of the skeletonised movement were given a PVD coating to match the colour of the black diamonds. This PVD coating on white gold makes gem-setting even more complex than on regular precious metals as the stones have to be treated in a specific way before and after setting them in place. The movement is the calibre FM 1540-VS17 which offers 4-days of power reserve and has been skeletonised to reveal the entire gear train.