Golf and Time’s ‘Back­swing’

Ni­cholas Ru­daz, Franck Muller’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, gives an ex­clu­sive pre­view of the New Back­swing time­piece.

Golf Vacations (Malaysia) - - Collection - BY BENNY TEO

GV: In more than 20 years, Franck Muller has al­ways de­fied con­ven­tion, but golf is a con­ven­tional sport.

NR: It was ac­tu­ally by lis­ten­ing to a watch col­lec­tor that we first got the idea to do a watch linked to the golf­ing world. No­body needs yet an­other watch to­day but by giv­ing a good rea­son to buy­ing one is our chal­lenge and it pushes the boundaries of our cre­ativ­ity.

The Back­swing func­tions as a stroke counter. Could it have been some­thing else, like a GPS dis­tance de­vice?

You cer­tainly are push­ing the lim­its of our cre­ativ­ity! I think that you just gave us a great idea for our next watch! Jokes aside, I think that in­te­grat­ing a GPS in­side a watch will be best achieved in a smart watch and I would leave that to the brands do­ing them.

Our orig­i­nal idea was to have a counter that would add up each swing for each hole giv­ing you one to­tal at the 19th hole. But we de­cided that this would re­quire too much me­chan­ics, which in turn would be im­prac­ti­cal for use on the golf course. We wanted to keep the watch as lightweight as pos­si­ble, and hence, we only have one counter for each par and as well as a ver­sion with­out any count­ing.

How’s your game?

I only started golf about two years ago and ab­so­lutely loved it. I started with a les­son at a driv­ing range in Bangkok and then went on to a beau­ti­ful golf course in Hua Hin. My in­struc­tor told me I had a nat­u­ral swing. I’m sure he was just be­ing po­lite but at times, it felt amaz­ing. I think that trav­el­ling around our beau­ti­ful planet by play­ing golf is prob­a­bly one of the best ways of do­ing it. You get to see amaz­ing land­scapes and it helps you stay fit.

You vis­ited Malaysia last year to show­case the Back­swing. De­scribe that ex­pe­ri­ence and what the re­sponse to the watch had been.

Malaysia has al­ways been close to my heart since I was 12 when I first vis­ited KL and Pe­nang. At the time, my mother was due to re­marry a Brit who was liv­ing in KL and I was en­rolled at the in­ter­na­tional school. We even had the house and I still re­mem­ber the ad­dress to­day: it was: 11 Lorong Ta­man Pan­tai Satu Pan­tai Hill. It sounded so ex­otic to my ears!

Ev­ery time I come to KL, I al­ways re­mem­ber those times fondly and I have seen the town trans­form it­self. Also, I love Malaysian food so it’s al­ways a plea­sure to visit this im­por­tant mar­ket for Franck Muller.

We have also de­vel­oped many lim­ited edi­tions for Malaysia such as the Van­guard Hari­mau Lim­ited Edi­tion in 2016. There is a con­stantly strong de­mand for our watches in Malaysia and we want to con­tinue de­vel­op­ing our brand here.

The watch, in­spired by golf, is made of titanium, steel and sil­i­cone. How about ure­thane, which is the cov­er­ing layer of the

mod­ern golf ball?

Titanium will keep the weight of the watch down as you don’t want too much ex­tra weight on your wrist as you hit the ball. And the sil­i­cone is used in­side the move­ment in or­der to ab­sorb the shock as much as pos­si­ble with­out dereg­u­lat­ing the time­keep­ing of the watch. We did ac­tu­ally give some con­sid­er­a­tion to us­ing ure­thane but tech­ni­cally, it was not pos­si­ble to fix it to the case.

Will there be a golf­ing am­bas­sador for Franck Muller now that you’ve got the Back­swing?

At the mo­ment, we cur­rently do not have any plans to work with a golf­ing celebrity. But we do plan to de­velop the prod­uct for fans of the sport. We feel that all golf fans will nat­u­rally fall in love with this fun watch. The Back­swing will al­ways re­mind its owner that it’s time to hit the green.

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