Franck Muller Introduces the Cintrée Curvex Master Banker Asia Exclusive

A pioneer in independent watchmaking, Franck Muller Introduces the Cintrée Curvex Master Banker was most famous for its graceful tonneau-shaped case but the brand was also particularly productive with complications in the 1990s and early 2000s. Amongst its most notable inventions were the double-face chronograph and whimsical Crazy Hours.

But the brand’s technical creativity was present at the other end of utility spectrum as well – something exemplified by the Master Banker, a wristwatch unveiled in 1993 that boasted three separate time zones, each with independent hours and minutes.

Now the watch has been given a new lease of life as the Cintrée Curvex Master Banker Asia Exclusive, that’s available in two case sizes, seven distinct colours, and various case materials, including steel, rose gold, and diamond-set rose gold.
Although powered by a humble ETA base movement, the Master Banker is a surprisingly accomplished complication, yet smartly constructed to be simple and robust.

The time zone complication is practical for tracking times in multiple countries, but it is rarely instantly legible, especially when multiple time zones are displayed. With two largish sub-dials – each with their own hour and minute hands – the Master Banker solves the problem instantly.

Not only is it legible, each of its sub-dials can be set to time zones with unconventional offsets – like 45 minutes for Kathmandu – allowing the watch to track any time zone in the world. The only downside of the display is a lack of day and night indicator for the time zones.
Utility aside, the watch is beautifully designed. The visual appeal of Franck Muller’s styling is often forgotten because its newer designs are over the top, but the brand’s older models are usually classical with flair. Here it’s a made a little more modern with the use of bright colours for the sub-dials, which have an appealing contrast against the black dial.

And something specific to these two watches – in the 8880 or 7880 sizes – is that the cases might be a little too large. They still wear well because of the shape, but lose some of the elegance of the smaller sizes.

Though it is a smart and appealing watch, the Franck Muller Introduces the Cintrée Curvex Master Banker is expensive. With the steel version priced at about about 24,000 Singapore dollars, or about US$17,000, it is too pricey for a relatively simple – albeit clever – complication on a economical base movement.
Now the iconic case of the brand, the Cintree Curvex case was actually a successful reinterpretation of 1930s tonneau-shaped watches – the Cartier tonneau in particular since Mr Muller restored early in his career. The case is curved on three axes, creating an inimitable shape that is both fluid and ergonomic – and yet to be duplicated successfully by rivals.

Within is the ETA-based movement – which relies on a notably simple yet clever construction – with the gears for second and third time zone meshed with the gear train for the local, or primary, time. As such, the crown adjusts all of the time zones simultaneously, or each sub-dial individually, without the need for buttons or pushpins.

Franck Muller 15TH ANNIVERSARY CRAZY HOURS II

Franck Muller introduced a new collection of its iconic Crazy Hours model family that is exclusively designed to celebrate its 15th anniversary.

The Franck Muller 15TH ANNIVERSARY CRAZY HOURS II collection was first introduced in 2003 with a unique dial layout where the conventional location of 12 hour markers was shuffled like the number 8 is now at 12 o’clock, 5 is at 9 o’clock, 3 at 11 o’clock etc. In practice, the hour hand must jump to the next hour which is placed nearly directly opposite rather than moving clockwise in numerical order. The “craziness” was provided with the hep of an additional jumping hour module that was integrated on top of a self-winding movement.
Franck Muller aka “Master of Complications” is celebrating his cult collection’s 15th anniversary this year with a completely new series that are available throughout the brand’s 23 boutiques and selected multi-brand retailers across Asia.
The iconic Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex Crazy Hours case, with its unisex appearance, is offered in three different sizes (39.60mm x 55.40mm, 36.00mm x 50.40mm, and 32.10mm x 45.10mm). The cases can be had in stainless steel and 18K rose gold, and with or without diamonds. The dial colors are blue, gray and white (Guilloché pattern). There are 40 different combinations and they are all offered on matching alligator leather straps.
Franck Muller Crazy Hours 15th Anniversary Party. Over 500 guests blew out the candles during an extravagantly dizzy party to celebrate the journey of the iconic Crazy Hours collection. The Infinite Studio in Singapore was transformed into a multifaceted wonderland, where guests were invited to explore five stunningly rooms throughout the evening.

Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex Crazy Hours Pastels

It’s almost impossible to mention Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex Crazy Hours Pastels without thinking about its iconic Crazy Hours complication. Introduced in 2003, Crazy Hours has come to be a calling card of sorts for the Genthod Manufacture, which also produces bestsellers like the Vanguard and Skafander collections.
Devised in what was probably a ‘Eureka’ moment for founder Franck Muller while he was holidaying in Mauritius, the Crazy Hours complication features a jumping hour module that snaps the hour hand to seemingly random positions at each hour. Its base automatic movement drives the minute hand in a traditional clockwise manner, so the minutes are read in the usual way.
On one of our visits to the Manufacture, we asked the watchmaker if the numbers on the dial could be arranged in any fashion. The answer, unfortunately, was negative. You see, what looks like a haphazard order of numerals on the dial is actually a deliberate arrangement. Each number is positioned at approximately 150 degrees away from the one preceding it, so the jumping hour mechanism moves the hour hand at roughly the same angle each hour.
This playful spirit was recently invoked in the new Remember watch, which launched this year. Like the Crazy Hours watch, the Remember watch tells time in an unconventional manner with all three hands (hours, minutes, seconds) moving in an anti-clockwise fashion. Again, it reiterates the imaginative spirit of the Manufacture, and continues to tease collectors in its approach to time-telling.
But back to the Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex Crazy Hours Pastels . In an exclusive collection for Asia Pacific, the timepiece comes in an array of pastel hues: purple, beige, blue and orange. Housed in the signature Cintrée Curvex case, each model is available in either 18K rose gold or stainless steel with 66 brilliant-cut diamonds. Hand-painted numbers embellish a sunburst guilloché dial, which is generously coated with 20 layers of lacquer.

Whether or not you’re a fan of pastels, there’s no denying these candy-coloured options sure pop on the wrist, offering a fun touch of colour to liven up your OOTD.
Franck Muller—driving time crazy since 2003—has raided the candy store for a new feminine extension to its Cintrée Curvex Crazy Hours line, and the result couldn’t be more charming.
Available only in Asia, this interpretation offers four different dials with four pastel tones in blue, orange, purple and beige, together with matching straps in alligator leather too. An 18K rose gold or stainless steel bezel set with 66 brilliant-cut diamonds frames each sunburst guilloché dial decorated with a playful mishmash of the iconic Franck Muller indexes.
The signature Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex Crazy Hours Pastels case with its arched back is the watchmaker’s modern interpretation of an iconic shape, the tonneau, and the ideal pairing for women’s wrists, thanks to its svelte, ergonomic proportions.
But as every aficionado knows, the real magic lies in the Crazy Hours complication and its apparently bonkers way of telling the time. The hour numerals are jumbled up on the dial, yet the hour hand still moves in the correct sequential order. In essence, if an unsuspecting passer-by were to ask for the time and attempt to read it as you would on a regular clock face, chances are utter confusion will ensue.
There is, of course, method in the madness. The complication comprises a jumping hour module and an automatic movement. While the hour hand jumps to point to the correct hour numeral, the minute hand revolves round the dial in a traditional 60-minute cycle. Although the hour numerals seem randomly placed, there is a sequence to the ‘crazy’ hours: each number is placed at an approximately 150-degree arc away from its preceding number.

The Cintrée Curvex Crazy Hours is something of an enigma in the horology world—not unlike those who know how to appreciate its sense of irreverence. But veneer of frivolity aside, it serves as a timely reminder of how you could end up missing the fun in life if all you do is obey the rules.

Franck Muller Vanguard Rose Skeleton

Traditionally, when you think of the Franck Muller Vanguard Rose Skeleton collection, it is the tonneau case and the oversized numbers that come to mind. And throughout the years, the Vanguard has always been the brand’s go-to collection when they want to create something sportier and more dynamic. With their latest watch, however, they have decided to imbue this collection with more feminine elements. With the Franck Muller Vanguard Rose Skeleton collection, we finally have a Vanguard that appeals to the female watch enthusiast.

It has been far too long that women’s timepieces, even from serious watchmakers, have been following the same formula. It is almost always a quartz movement assembled into a thin and slender case and then plastered with diamonds. With the new Vanguard Rose Skeleton, Franck Muller is offering a bold timepiece created with more feminine aesthetics, paired with a complex and serious mechanical movement. A perfect statement of female empowerment.

The Vanguard case comes in its iconic tonneau shape and has the signature Cintrée Curvex curve. It is this curve in the case profile that makes the collection so comfortable on the wrist. This curve also subtly extends to the dial making any work on it that much more complicated. Special considerations must be taken when creating the dial, or in this case the skeleton-work and decoration on the bridges.
The case comes in either a choice of 18k rose gold or white gold and is fully encrusted with diamonds. The gorgeous flower motif on the dial is a skeletonised bridge giving these beautiful flowers the illusion of floating above the technical movement that lays just beneath. As it is a skeletonised watch, extra special care was given to the finishing of the movement. This includes satin finishing, circular graining and hand-chamfering to the tiniest of components. For example, Chamfering and mirror polishing is even done on the regulator, and even a 24k gold finish on the written engravings. Click here to discover how the watch is conceptualized and assembled by the artisans.⁠
It is often an overlooked fact that Franck Muller is one of the very few manufactures that can produce such a complicated timepiece completely in-house. Taking a mansion built in 1905 as the headquarters of Franck Muller Genève, it was expanded in 2019 and Watchland, as it is called today, houses all the necessary expertise to create a watch from start to finish. This means everything from conception, manufacturing, engraving, servicing, and since 2013 manufacturing in-house movements, can all be done on this incredible property.

The movement is a complex Calibre MVT FM 1540-VS15 with a special high-efficiency escapement developed in-house. The movement is also equipped with twin barrels, giving this manual-winding watch a generous power reserve of four days.

The Vanguard Rose Skeleton is offered in two precious metal options and will even come in several floral arrangements with different colours and a matching hand-sewn alligator strap.
With a variety of colour options, you’re sure to find one that fits your taste. Both the Ref: V 32 S6 SQT ROSE D CD 2RO 5N (BL) and Ref: V 32 S6 SQT ROSE COL DR D CD 2RO 5N (RG) are now available at Cortina Watch boutiques.

Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4

The Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 I have long considered not a grail, but rather a myth, really. Not that I have ever looked for it specifically, but I have never stumbled upon it anywhere online, other than when featured with the company’s official photos. Meanwhile, as years passed, I have in fact worn and/or seen in the wild most all of the craziest watches the horological world has managed to bring to this world. The Aeternitas Mega 4 was, however, nowhere to be seen – at least in those parts of the world that I frequented. The Miraculous Encounter happened unexpectedly on the last day of our SIHH 2018 trip this January, when this watch just… appeared. I was baffled, but not baffled enough to miss calling first dibs before proceeding to take hands-on pictures of this beast myself. Here’s how the Aeternitas Mega 4 looked and felt like in the real world.
First, the basics of the complexities. 36 complications, 23 indications via 18 hands and 5 discs, 1,483 components, 99 jewels, 91 wheels (!), 7 pushers and 4 correctors, five years of planning and, reportedly, a full year to assemble… Oh, and a price tag of around $2.7 million. These are the figures the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 shocked the world with at the end of 2009 – even if watches with well over 1,000 components had existed before it.
I wish to clarify that the level of complexity in a watch can be measured in more than a handful different ways – from component count through number of complications, indications, complexities and novelty-factor of indications, durability, level and complexity of decorations and so on. Therefore, I will not call this the most complicated ever – although it was widely regarded as such at the time of its launch – because it is a claim easy to undermine by mentioning other watches that are, in their own right, just as worthy of the most superb of superlatives. Another important thing to consider is how the Aeternitas Mega 4 has 36 complications but “””only“”” 23 indications. This is because, as you’ll see from the list below, the list of complications includes mechanical complexities that render a feature more complex/different than it basically would be, hence adding to the total figure of complications – but not always to the number of indications (e.g. flying tourbillon counts as two because it is a tourbillon that is of the “flying” arrangement without an upper bridge holding it down).
Let us now entertain ourselves with a full list of functions and complications inside the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 – keeping in mind that this is coming from a hard-to-find, official Franck Muller document from the time of launch, not fished from the interweb.
The FM3480 QPSE is the all you can eat buffet of fine watchmaking complications. The movement is 34.40mm wide, 41.40mm tall and a whopping 13.65mm thick. In other words, the movement is about the same size as a small, tonneau dress watch all cased up – except for the fact that it is much, much heavier. I must say, I’m slightly disappointed that Franck Muller didn’t add the entire list of complications in letters to the name of the caliber – Patek style – as I would have loved to see an FM3480 QPSETCWCHRPEGMTARMFBPRDRGSPSSC! Talk about missed opportunities!
The fun begins when you are handed the watch and first feel its weight. The 18ct white gold Cintrée Curvex 8880 case is 42mm wide, 61mm long, and 19.15mm thick. The weight is absolutely immense and yet, it feels great in a strange, inexplicably awkward way. I’m sure you’ve been there when you’ve been wearing a watch for long and, for a moment, you sort of forgot you had it on and ended up shaking your hand in panic to determine whether or not there was a watch still wrapped around your wrist. Well, I don’t think a sane mind – or even a severely intoxicated one, for that matter – could ever disregard the feeling this watch provides on the wrist. It’s so heavy and intimidating that you are constantly aware of its thickness (not to bump it into things) and its weight… It’s the watch-equivalent of The Mountain’s unnecessarily large broadsword – that’s a Game of Thrones reference you are invited to disregard, just think of a big ass sword.
You realize fun has just elevated to a whole other level once you rotate your wrist away from you. Hand on heart, I can say I was shocked (and wildly amused) at this sight for two reasons: 1) I have never seen a watch with the proportions of a sausage dog on my wrist and 2) the watch felt so secure and weirdly comfortable on the wrist that I just simply wasn’t expecting to see this sort of height associated with it. It literally is a trick on the mind when you rotate your wrist away from you and discover the thickness – I did it countless times and every time as the flat, OK-looking dial started rotating away from me, I could sense my mind panicking as it struggled to understand what it was looking at. It’s absolutely insane.
The Cintrex case is a stellar piece of design, and I must commend Franck Muller on their choice of this particular hand-sewn alligator strap and a tang buckle. On a scale of 1 to 10 for wearability, I was – let’s admit, not without reason – expecting the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 to score about 1, maybe a generous 2… But the integration of the strap (it meets the case up high and deep into the lugs, basically shackling this beast of a watch onto the wrist) as well as its choice of a supple, but strong alligator material meant I never once had a feeling that the watch wants to somersault off my wrist any time I lifted a fork or drank from a glass – we saw the watch during lunch. It felt as secure around the wrist as the top 10% of watches out there, which is probably the biggest secret/surprise of this watch.
On the picture above, you can see this ~1 pound (that’s a guesstimate) watch sitting flush against my wrist, even in a vertical position. The watch wasn’t dragging down itself around my wrist – nah, rather, it was pulling my entire arm. All this is to say that with intelligently picked drill-points for the strap’s spring bars a watch with ab-friggin-solutely gargantuan proportions can be held comfortably and securely around the wrist. This is just a heads-up to luxury desk diver’s watches, as well as all the others: if this monster can sit fine on the wrist, you have no excuse not to be fantastically comfortable every time, all the time.

I encourage everyone to try and decide on their own which side of the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 is more insane. The dial, with its 18 hands and 5 discs, or the case-back with its level 9000 maze of cams, wheels, gears, plates, bridges, and so on. Strangely, the only real legibility issue of the dial comes from the poorly AR-coated curved crystal – I understand curved crystals will always reflect a wider field of view on what’s behind/above the wearer of the watch… But I don’t think I could ever get a totally (or close to it) clear look at the entire dial at the same time. The indications are laid out very intelligently with a smart use of blue and red making the different indications super easy to distinguish. I will not even try to describe where everything is on the dial – please just refer to the chart shared on the previous page to identify the individual functions.
The caseback view from afar is remarkably clean. Although I am sure you can have the white gold frame of the sapphire caseback engraved with personal texts or show-off engravings of some of the watch’s specs, I think the vertically brushed piece frames the super busy movement in a rather classy way. This particular example, though it definitely impressed me with its visual complexity, showed to have lived a somewhat harder life: this particular piece was presented by someone from the brand and so, from the signs of wear on the movement, I’ll go out on a limb and say that this piece must have been disassembled and re-assembled many times already. Given that this is not a customer’s piece, the manufacture can do whatever they want with it and not spend hours (or days) cleaning every last little scratch or grime from the hundreds of pieces that are on show on the caseback’s side – so this, in my book, and since this wasn’t an official event or showing of the watch, is fine.
With that note made, the sheer idea behind the movement is mind-boggling to say the least… And to see this many tiny, 3-dimensional, CNC-cut (and not stamped) pieces come together on a caseback is a watch lover’s dream, for sure. I can barely imagine the time and effort that is required to CAD design, machine, check, machine again, refine, decorate, assemble and perhaps further clean up this many individual pieces. The end result is like a Lange Double Split on a lot of and particularly strong steroids: everywhere you look, you see parts, cams, wheels, each with their own dedicated function that in turn are linked to something else.
I think Franck Muller should make a sapphire cased version of this as soon as possible – if they are serious about showing this watch off and selling more of it. On a final note regarding all these complications that I think everyone should keep in mind: I didn’t try 95% of the complications in this watch and so I can’t comment on how they work… Honestly, I have no idea, nor statistical data on this, but I would be shocked if all the complications on a watch with this level of complexity consistently functioned well at the same time… and I’d be equally as shocked if the watch’s owner actually realized… But you know what? As much as a sacrilege this may seem to say, I don’t think asking this watch to work well for an extended period is an unreasonable request. As far as I’m concerned, and you may disagree, if any brand could show me a watch that had all its functions working at one single moment, I’d consider that a superb achievement – but that wouldn’t lead me to expect it to work all the time. If you think that’s a low bar of expectations, I guess you are yet to get a good idea on the incomprehensible complexities that the interaction between hundreds and hundreds of parts impose.
So, in essence, what was it like to see the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 at its surprise appearance? Refreshing. After a full week of mostly lukewarm, retro-nonsense SIHH 2018, this Franck Muller-style middle finger right in the face of watch conservatism was amusing, fascinating, and in truth, a big one off the Horological Bucket List.

I am certainly happy to see that the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 actually exists and I was positively surprised by the sensible and thoughtful design of its strap and strap integration, wearability, dial layout, and the stark contrast between these and the weight, thickness, and that shiny-ghastly curved crystal. It’s a tour de force that, at the same, is also sort of a parody of the genre that it was designed to, ehm, consummate.