120 Clear Struc­ture

The Franck Muller Van­guard Tour­bil­lon Skele­ton shows off more than just its in­ter­nal mech­a­nism

World of Watches (Singapore) - - Contents - WORDS CE­LINE YAP

The Franck Muller Van­guard Tour­bil­lon Skele­ton bares all

The art of skele­ton­i­sa­tion is of­ten recog­nised as the high­est form of move­ment dec­o­ra­tion, and for good rea­son. Lit­er­ally tak­ing the edges off all the plates and bridges, as well as ma­jor com­po­nents, skele­ton­i­sa­tion re­duces a move­ment to such a bare min­i­mum that its func­tion­al­ity of­ten teeters in the bal­ance. Ex­treme skele­ton­i­sa­tion demon­strates a watch­maker’s bravado – how much ma­te­rial can be re­moved be­fore the move­ment loses its sta­bil­ity? But there’s no room for trep­i­da­tion here be­cause ev­ery com­po­nent cut and ev­ery hol­low bored must be done with sur­gi­cal pre­ci­sion in or­der to pre­serve op­ti­mum time­keep­ing per­for­mance yet achieve max­i­mum skele­ton­i­sa­tion. As a mat­ter of fact, this task is so com­plex that the end re­sult is of­ten re­garded as a com­pli­cated move­ment in its own right, and who bet­ter to turn to for such an in­trepid cre­ation than the Master of Com­pli­ca­tions, Franck Muller?

Like most haute hor­logerie mar­ques, Franck Muller is no stranger to this cat­e­gory of fine watch­mak­ing. In fact, it has been mak­ing skele­tonised watches since the day it was born. Some of its most re­cent cre­ations in­clude the Giga Tour­bil­lon with its open­worked move­ment and the 7 Days Power Re­serve, which boasts more neg­a­tive space than ac­tual move­ment, push­ing skele­ton­i­sa­tion to new ex­tremes. Even though these are tech­ni­cal heavy­weights, what with a tour­bil­lon and seven days long power re­serve, the watches ap­pear al­most light and airy. This hol­low, weight­less ef­fect is what the new Van­guard Tour­bil­lon Skele­ton went for, but with a de­cid­edly mod­ern twist.

Max­i­mum skele­ton­i­sa­tion has been achieved but with ab­so­lutely no com­pro­mise on move­ment sta­bil­ity, thanks to the as­tutely de­signed struc­ture, which re­minds one of the many beams on a

sus­pen­sion bridge – that’s quite apt con­sid­er­ing that these minute, hol­lowed out parts are, them­selves, called bridges. Echo­ing the colour scheme of the case, they have been hand-pol­ished and as­sem­bled, al­though judg­ing from the rounded in­ter­nal an­gles, one would sur­mise they had been cut and bev­elled by ma­chine. Still, when fully put to­gether, the move­ment Cal­i­bre FM 2001 is just as likely to sweep you off your feet, and we haven’t even be­gun to talk about its fly­ing tour­bil­lon reg­u­la­tor.

Those fa­mil­iar with Franck Muller’s com­pli­ca­tions would im­me­di­ately recog­nise the tour­bil­lon car­riage ren­dered in the shape of the man­u­fac­ture’s ini­tials. Held to­gether by three screws, the asym­met­ri­cal FM in­signia makes it just that lit­tle bit harder for the watch­maker to reg­u­late the tour­bil­lon, but Franck Muller had it mas­tered eons ago. Set in a cir­cu­lar black fin­ished aper­ture, the car­riage is fin­ished to the same ef­fect as the skele­tonised bridges – pink gold with ver­ti­cal brush­ing – and be­neath it lay the black­ened bal­ance wheel os­cil­lat­ing at 18,000vph, the es­cape­ment, and the hair­spring. The Van­guard Tour­bil­lon Skele­ton comes in ti­ta­nium, car­bon, stain­less steel, and pink gold. MOVE­MENT Man­ual-wind­ing Cal­i­bre FM 2001 with fly­ing tour­bil­lon and 60-hour power re­serve

CASE 44mm x 53.7mm in pink gold, ti­ta­nium, car­bon, and stain­less steel, wa­ter re­sis­tant to 30m

STRAP Rub­ber-lined nylon or crocodile leather with match­ing de­ploy­ant buckle

PRICE From $201,781

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