CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF THE FRANCK MULLER GROUP Above: Vartan Sirmakes. Right: The Vanguard Gravity Skeleton by Franck Muller
BACKGROUND Born in Istanbul in 1956, Vartan Sirmakes comes from a family of Armenian jewellers. At 18, he moved to Geneva and started working as a jewel-setting apprentice under Antonio Bertolini. After learning the trade, he set up his own workshop and built a respected reputation within the industry, gaining the attention of major watchmakers like Ebel and Cartier.
HOOKED ON WATCHES Sirmakes’ passion for design and architecture inspired him to diversify his business. He partnered with bracelet and watch case manufacturer Pierre Ecoffey and started to design and produce cases. The collaboration proved successful, attracting prestigious clients like Daniel Roth. Sirmakes eventually set his sights higher and aimed to produce high-end watches.
PERFECT MATCH In 1991, Sirmakes met Franck Muller and together they set up Franck Muller Watchland SA. From the start, they agreed that the company would specialise in complication watches—muller’s passion. The duo went on to shake up the watch industry with remarkable innovations, such as the triple-axis tourbillon seen on the Franck Muller Revolution 3 timepiece, as well the giant tourbillon in the aptly named Giga Tourbillon. As well as its out-of-the-box approach to watchmaking, Franck Muller, the brand, also became know for its use of tonneau cases.