INTRODUCING: Franck Muller’s Grand Central Tourbillon Flash
The Grand Central Tourbillon lights up the night with neon-coloured dials.
Franck Muller has been enjoying tremendous growth in Asia over the last three years. According to Nicholas Rudaz, CEO of Franck Muller, it sold over 80 tourbillon models in the last two years in Southeast Asia alone. In fact, one of its most successful collaborations this year with streetwear brand #FR2 was coordinated by its distributors in Asia.
The Asian market has always been important to Franck Muller. It’s one of the reasons it introduced a smaller-cased Grand Central Tourbillon watch in mid-2022. Originally housed in the Curvex CX 40, which has a case length of 58.7mm, the Curvex CX 36 case is 52.65mm long, a much better fit on leaner wrists.
The Curvex CX is itself a reinterpretation of the Cintrée Curvex case, a Franck Muller icon since its founding. At the time of its creation, the latter was a modern take on the classic tonneau-shaped watch, with a double curved case to ensure the watch fits well over our wrists. The dial is also shaped and curved at each corner, a unique technique no other dial maker practices.
With the Curvex CX, the Cintrée Curvex is itself modernised with a sapphire crystal cover that extends all the way to the case lugs, creating a seamless edge-to-edge look. Coupled with high-tech watchmaking materials such as titanium or carbon, the Curvex CX 36 is a futuristic and modern expression of Franck Muller’s avant-garde design ethos.
The Grand Central Tourbillon
Naturally, with such a handsome case, Franck Muller is eager to place its favourite complication – the tourbillon - at the centre of attention. The Grand Central Tourbillon features a one-minute tourbillon housed in a large tourbillon cage. The curved case naturally elevates the tourbillon, giving it more prominence and visibility.
With the repositioning of the tourbillon, the entire gear train has to be reconfigured, including the mainspring, which usually occupies the largest real estate on the movement. Now that has been taken by the tourbillon. In addition, the case of the Curvex CX is curved, which means the movement has to be designed to accommodate that.
The hands of the watch are fitted around the central blackened titanium tourbillon cage on different levels. On the tourbillon, an arrow-shaped bridge is designed as a central running seconds hand and doubles to secure the rotating escapement from shock.
A Flash of Colour
The latest Grand Central Tourbillon watches celebrate the neo-pop colour trend that has spread across watchmaking. It also recalls Franck Muller’s front-running role in the use of vibrant colour dials. After all, this is the watchmaker who gave us Color Dreams when everyone else was making classic dials, and rainbow Double Mystery models ahead of the rainbow stone trend. The Grand Central Tourbillon Flash adds an innovative luminous material to the watch: polymethyl methacrylate or PMMA.
PMMA has a variety of uses across different industries. In the Grand Central Tourbillon Flash, it’s cast in miniature blocks and combined with luminous material in various colours. These blocks are set as hour markers on the dial, around adjoining parallel bars that frame the tourbillon aperture and fit into the brushed blackened titanium bezel that sits under the sapphire crystal. A minute track is printed in between the hour markers.
The carbon case is moulded and shaped at high temperature and pressure before it’s finished to reveal the different layers it took to fashion each watch. To complement the all-black case and bezel, the dial is in matte black with a micro-blasted finish.
The large exhibition caseback offers a full view of the self-winding MVT FM CX 36T-CTR. The large eccentric micro-rotor occupies most of the lower half of the movement and is partially covered by a plate that bears Franck Muller’s logo and the words “Grand Central Tourbillon” engraved on it. Above it is the covered mainspring, and the gear train is revealed on the right while the winding gears are shown adjacent to the crown. So, if you would like to see how this movement works, simply adjust the time and watch the wheels turn through the caseback.
The movement has a significant power reserve of four days and is beautifully finished with Geneva stripes on the bridges and circular graining on the plate. Both the oscillating weight and barrel cover are sunray brushed, and the bridges are also chamfered and polished.
The watch is paired with a nylon-and-calf-leather strap fitted to a black PVD-coated steel buckle. In Asia, three colourways are available for the Grand Central Tourbillon Flash in the Curvex CX 36 case: blazing orange, neon green, and electric blue. The watches are priced at S$188,600 (MYR 572,900, THB 4,865600 and AUD 203,600 in the region) and are available for order starting today.
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