Founded in 1992 by Franck Muller and Vartan Sirmakes and known as the acclaimed "Master of Complications," Franck Muller has grown to become synonymous with complex microengineering, whacky original designs, and stunning craftsmanship. By blending horological know-how with their passionate desire to create truly revolutionary timepieces, Franck Muller lays claim to an impressive list of innovations, a uniquely unorthodox design language, and a flavour for the unknown. Beloved by collectors for their part in revitalizing the watchmaking industry in the 1990s, Franck Muller has proven to be an influential watchmaker who quickly developed a fanbase attracted to his distinct aesthetic.
For context, Franck Muller has established itself as quite the trendsetter within the watchmaking space, particularly through its pioneering approach of creating timepieces inspired by remarkable vintage models. This innovative approach has inevitably sparked a new wave of appeal within the industry, which is clearly evident in the current trend of vintage-inspired timepieces we are seeing today. By drawing inspiration from the past and infusing it with contemporary technical and design elements, Franck Muller has definitely played a significant role in shaping and influencing the direction of the watchmaking industry.
An exceptional example of this trend is the Franck Muller Chronographe "Double Face" Ref. 2870 NA DF, which originated from, I believe, one of the most exciting and captivating periods in Franck Muller's history. Starting with a modest 37mm case crafted from 18-carat yellow gold which was inspired by a vintage Movado double face chronograph, the Chronographe Double Face, as implied by its name, boasts a unique dual-face configuration. The front side of the watch presents the conventional time-telling face with a beautiful two-toned silver dial and sub-dials on both left and right, Breguet Arabic numerals and thermal-blued steel hands, whereas the caseback reveals a dial adorned with pulsations, telemeter, and tachymeter scales that mirror the movement of the chronograph hand at the front when engaged. In my opinion, this unique design perfectly encapsulates Franck Muller's signature approach to watchmaking, where aesthetics and functionality seamlessly merge with a slight twist for unconventionality. A true reflection of the brand's distinct style, if you ask me.
Encased within its 18-carat yellow gold case is the legendary 17-jewelled, manual-wind Lemania Cal. 1872, which has been customised by Franck Muller, allowing it to seamlessly accommodate the distinct design elements and functions of this particular reference.
Overall, the Chronographe Double Face strikes a remarkable balance in every aspect of its design, making it a captivating timepiece that is sure to spark conversations. If you have a palate and an appreciation for the extraordinary and the unconventional, I wholeheartedly recommend that you look no further.
While Franck Muller today is a completely unrecognisable brand from what it was with its founder no longer involved, collectors are beginning to separate the time periods and have realised that his early work does indeed deserve a space in the pantheon of Neo-vintage icons.