Franck Muller watches provided me with some of my earliest introductions to the world of artistic and extremely complex watchmaking. Back in early 1997, I had somehow managed to get my hands on a dog-eared and well-worn copy of an International Watches catalog for 1996, and it absolutely blew me away (the contents of the entire catalog). It took my appreciation of timepieces, which before had been confined primary to more publicly famous brands such as Omega, Rolex, TAG Heuer and perhaps Patek Philippe, to an entirely different level. With the hundreds of full color photographs before me, a whole new world opened up, and I found myself transformed virtually overnight from someone who thought watches was highly interesting to well… a full-bore watch nut!
The collections of Franck Muller were certainly one of the most impressive to me, even from the first flip of the page. As I struggled to wrap my head around the functions of some of the amazingly complex Franck Muller watches (such as the “Calibro 1994″) I became thoroughly enraptured with the artistry and human commitment necessary to create watches of this elite level. Muller’s story was no less impressive – here was a fellow who entered the prestigious Geneva School of Watchmaking at a just 15 years of age, winning top honors in his class within a short period of time before going on to make a name for himself in complicated watch restoration under watchmaking legend Svend Andersen, and eventually turning things upside down with some absolutely outrageous timepieces of his own – including what was at one point the most complex wristwatch in the world! (which as a side note, was later modified into an even more extraordinary piece – the subject for a story all its own.)
I also credit Franck Muller watches with providing a real “wake up call” as to how stylish watchmaking could be. Collections such as the famed “Cintree Curvex”, with its sweeping curves and expressive dials showed me that round cases were but the tip of the design iceberg. While I would soon come to learn these were based on historical designs that came decades before, I remain just as impressed today with how beautiful Franck Muller watches are, to say nothing of the amazing degree of mechanical artistry many of them possess.