Franck Muller

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Company headquarters Genthod near Geneva
© Franck Muller

Franck Muller is an eponymous luxury watch brand in Switzerland founded by Franck Muller

Technowatch and Franck Muller

Piguet/Muller/Gerber Grand Complication watch - the most complicated wristwatch of the world
© Franck Muller

1991, aged only 33 years, Muller goes into business for himself, together with the Geneva casing and gem expert Vartan Sirmakes (51), an Armenian, and founds the company Technowatch SA. The company settles down in Genthod, near Geneva, in a neo-Gothic mansion, that had been built by the famous architect Edmond Fatio at the beginning of the 20th Century.

The watches of Franck Muller set up some new records. So he can both in 1992 and also in 1998 claim the title of the "most complicated wristwatch in the world". The former included a perpetual calendar with retrograde months and equation indication, day of the week, date, 24 days and leap year indicator, moon phase, and a thermometer. (This watch later was expanded considerably by Paul Gerber, Zurich.)

The Cintrée Curvex Casing

With the domed casing type Cintrée Curvex Franck Muller creates a self-contained form style that is only found in his models. Already in 1987 Muller has presented this design at an international watch exhibition in Italy.

In English "Cintrée Curvex" means "arched in a curve"; thus a development of the tonneau form is described, where three curved axes of the watch case converge at a single spherical point and are bent on four levels, instead of only two levels as with the tonneau shape.

Cintrée Curvex is also called the best-known watch range of the brand. But now this form has also prevailed in number at most of the other Franck Muller collections.

Besides the circular models, whose share has fallen sharply, have to be mentioned the form styles Long Island (rounded rectangles) and Master Square (quadratic). Conquistador is a more striking male version of Cintrée Curvex.

Numerous inventions and innovations

In 1993 Franck Muller further developed the minute repeater by inventing the carillion display. As a world first the Calibre 93 combines complications such as rattrapante chronograph, minute repeater, perpetual calendar, retrograde months equation, leap year cycle, 24-hour indication and temperature display.

Another world first is the 1994 launched Calibre 94 with minute repeater with percussion mechanism indicator, perpetual calendar, retrograde months equation, patented tourbillon, retrograde seconds hand and temperature display.

Franck Muller Long Island Double Seconds Retrograde 1100 DS R
© Franck Muller

1996 the model Master Banker is launched with three time-zones and automatic movement.

1997 the Conquistador is launched, which has several complications.

1998 the model Master City with jumping hour, second time-zone, and a selection of 14 cities comes to market.

1999 the Calibre 99 with double mysterious dial and the Vegas are presented.

The collection Long Island with bi-retrograde seconds display is presented in 2000.

2001 the team of Franck Muller develops the model Master Imperial Tourbillon with Calibre 2001 (A Whirlwind of Light). The company launches a jewelry collection with a rich collection of diamonds on the market.

After three years of development Franck Muller presents 2002 the model Revolution, a watch with a rotating tourbillon cage, which for a better view is shifted closer to the watch glass. This design achieves several patents.

In the year 2003 the model Tourbillon Revolution 2 with double-axis tourbillon follows.

With the completely in-house manufactured chronograph movements FM 3200 and FM 3210 Franck Muller obtains the status of a manufacture in 2006.

Franck Muller Watchland Group

Following a suggestion of his friend Elton John Franck Muller initially pursued the project Watchland as the idea of a theme park open for visitors and watch enthusiasts, to whom all stations of the production of watches should be shown on-site on a guided tour.

1998 the Technowatch SA becomes the Franck Muller Watchland SA. The decision is made to included more luxury watch brands in the group: to the brand Franck Muller are added Pierre Kunz, European Company Watch (ECW), Rodolphe, the Paris-based company Alexis Barthelay, and diamond watch specialist Backes & Strauss. For the compound the name "Watchland" is now used as collective term. Even lone warriors like Pierre Michel Golay, Christian Huygns and Martin Braun accede. Other members include suppliers such as GecoH SA, Pignons Juracie SA and Neo SA (components), F. Arnold Lidner SA (dials) and the Franck Muller Technocases SA (casing and shuttering of movements).

Until 2003 the company records double-digit annual growth rates, which with 49,000 sold luxury watches bring the company a consolidated annual turnover of around 400 million francs (including the European Company Watch and Pierre Kunz) and thus a record so far.[1]

In 2003 a dispute brakes out between the founders Muller and Sirmakes, that leads to a prolonged quarrel. During this time Muller no longer enters the premises. The involvement of many lawyers escalates the gap, which can finally be solved in a personal talk. Since November 2004, Sirmakes conducts the company as director, while Franck Muller cares mainly about the horological interests.

2007 also the German watchmaker and manufacturer Martin Braun had moved to Watchland with his brand of the same name and had handed over 51% of his share to the group. But since he could not realize his ideas in the intended scope, he left the compound again - leaving behind also the brand name - in September 2009. Also Rodolphe Cattin exits Watchland.[2][3]

The economic crisis affects the sector "luxury watches in the upper price segment" particularly hard, and so also the Watchland Group. So one is forced to release almost half of the over 750 people in the spring of 2009.

Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 Movement
© Franck Muller

The Grande Complication Aeternitas Mega 4

With the Grande Complication Aeternitas Mega 4, which is presented in November 2009 after five years of development and acquired by a enthusiastic watch collector from the U.S., the "Master of Complications" again breaks a record: The model has 36 complications (25 of it visible), a calendar for 1000 years, and the movement consists, believe it or not, of 1483 components. The stately price is 2.7 million US-$.

Model ranges

Cintrée Curvex

Casablanca

  • Chronograph collection
  • Colour Dreams
Franck Muller Grand Complications Perpetual Calendar 2852 QP 24
© Franck Muller

Conquistador (1997)

Crazy Hours

Grand Complications

  • Aeternitas Mega (2006)

Havana

Long Island (2000)

Master Banker - three time-zones (1996)

More

  • Jewelry
Franck Muller Conquistador Grand Prix of Singapore Chronograph
© Franck Muller
  • Master Calendar
  • Master Square (2005)
  • Sunset
  • Grand Prix
  • Endurance and Endurance 24

Literature

Adress

Franck Muller Watchland SA
22, route de Malagny
CH-1294 Genthod
Tel. 0041 22/959 88-80, Fax -82

Resources

Weblinks