Our Top Picks From Franck Muller For WPHH 2024
Our Top Picks From Franck Muller For WPHH 2024

From big-game tourbillons to materials science achievements and some radically unusual twists on watchmaking, Frank Muller's latest collections push the idea of a contemporary classic to its limits

April's Watches and Wonders buzz wasn't the only thing hyping Geneva up this month — many independent watch events had journalists, industry insiders and watch aficionados running across the city from showcase to showcase. If you were lucky enough to be there, we hope that you spent a moment or two at the World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie (WPHH) — Franck Muller's annual focus on bold, creative expressions of its latest horological ideas. 

 

While 2023's herculean effort saw the brand rain down watches across thirteen(!) collections — largely sticking to themes of neon and black on the design table — this year's 34th edition of the event saw a somewhat more diverse, more compact range of complications, cases, colourways and more. Here's a closer look at our favourites from the event:

 

Master Lighter Franck Muller & ST Dupont
 

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Partnering to create what might be the greatest conversation starter to ever fit in a front pocket, Franck Muller’s singular collaboration during WPHH 2024 is the Master Lighter designed in combination with French savoir-vivre brand, S.T. Dupont. The company, which has been crafting quality lighters, pens, bags and more since 1872, worked with Franck Muller to develop four variants of lighters — all being the first in history to feature watch complications.

 

Limited to 88 units per shade, the collections feature Frank Muller’s iconic numerals with blue, white, black, and ‘colour dream’ models, with the latter offering a vivid display of coloured numerals flanked by a skeleton movement in aluminium, capable of three days of power reserve. Curiously, the movement itself is integrated into the lighter’s click mechanism — presenting one of the most interesting objets d’art from the work of contemporary horology. 

 

Adorned with central hands indicating the hours and minutes, the lighter's front face features a sunburst and lacquered dial, manufactured in the pure tradition of Franck Muller dial making. The technical feat is that the hands' axis traverses the lighter, passing through the centre of the gas reservoir. The opposite face of the lighter reveals the skeleton movement of the watch in all its splendour, illustrating Franck Muller's mastery of watch complications, with a system allowing the central second display on this face. In a final refinement, a second dial with finishes identical to the front face is revealed behind the mechanical components of the skeleton movement.

 

Cintrée Curvex Imperial Tourbillon Baguette

 

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The Cintrée Curvex Imperial Tourbillon Baguette epitomises Franck Muller’s tradition of integrating exquisite craftsmanship with high jewellery. This model continues the legacy of the Cintrée Curvex line, renowned for its curved, tonneau shape that is a hallmark of the brand. This watch features a stunning minimalist design that houses a revolutionary 'suspended' tourbillon mechanism. 

 

Unlike conventional tourbillons, which are typically supported by a bridge visible on the dial, this tourbillon is held by a single pivot inside the movement, driven through an intermediate pinion. This is linked directly to the cage's exterior — a technical feat that Franck Muller claims enhances stability and accuracy. Aesthetically, the design allows the tourbillon to appear as if floating, enhancing the dial’s visual appeal. Encased in either rose gold or white gold, the watch’s luxurious aesthetic is further enriched with sparkling baguette diamonds that complement the sleek profile of the case.

 

Vanguard Damascus Carbon Skeleton

 

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The Vanguard collection has consistently showcased Franck Muller’s dedication to blending robust design with cutting-edge materials. The new Vanguard Damascus Carbon Skeleton is a bold addition, drawing inspiration from the Damascus steel pattern and utilising advanced carbon composite materials commonly used in industries like aeronautics.

 

This watch is characterised by its unique case made from compressed carbon, crafted through an intricate process involving the rolling of coloured fibreglass into a mould, which is then infused with resin and compressed at high temperatures — specifically, the composite sheets are subjected to 300 tons of pressure for five hours at 200 degrees Celsius. This results in a structurally sound and visually striking case, reflecting both a historical callback to metalworking mastery and a funky, off-beat palette rarely seen in watchmaking. Within the case, the skeletonized design of the dial reveals a precision engineering of the movement, emphasising the watch’s technical allure and sophisticated craftsmanship.

 

Long Island Evolution Giga Tourbillon

 

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There’s nothing quite like the Long Island, which blends early Y2K sensibilities with Art Deco influences. The watch features sweeping, curved numerals, an arched caseback, and miniature lugs, presenting a play on perspective that Franck Muller has refined over two decades. This year’s 8-piece limited edition showcases the watch's signature massive 20mm flying tourbillon, set against a black-green dial within a classic titanium and aluminium case.

 

While most large tourbillons display extensive machinery, this model opts for a more restrained, symmetrical design. This approach, though perhaps too sparse for some, allows the prominent tourbillon to stand out, lending a subtly ambitious character to the design. It may not be as inventive or technically advanced as its sibling, the Long Island Evolution Master Jumper, but it remains the most visually appealing piece in this exhilarating new collection.

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