The watchmaking iconoclast encapsulates the essence of carefree beach holidays in a trio of colourful tickers.
A self-professed ‘Master of Complications’, Franck Muller Vanguard Beach is widely lauded for its astounding haute horlogerie timepieces, from the ultra-complex Aeternitas Mega to the more recent Curvex CX Giga Tourbillon, but it’s the watchmaker’s playful side that puts a smile on many of its loyalists’ faces with capricious creations, such as the Crazy Hours and # Franck Muller Vanguard Beach , which was released to mark the Year of the Rabbit. From the pictures you see here, it’s evident that the new Vanguard Beach belongs firmly in the latter category, and it looks primed for some serious sun-soaked fun by the sea. Launched in 2014, the Vanguard has since evolved into Franck Muller’s flagship collection of sporty timepieces. Watch lovers would no doubt recognise the namesake founder’s fondness for tonneau-shaped tickers in its dynamic form, as it recalls the iconic Cintrée Curvex silhouette, albeit with amped-up, more audacious proportions. Yet, despite its somewhat hefty 41mm x 49.95mm dimensions, with a thickness of 12.2mm, the watch is incredibly comfortable to wear, thanks to its sensual curvatures on all sides and a lug-less construction that ensures it hugs the wrist ever so snugly. All the better for the new beach-ready line-up for partying from sunrise to sundown, in and out of the sand. Besides its strapping build, the Vanguard Beach is also eye-catching for its vibrant colourways of fiery red, ocean blue, and summer green, inspired by the glistening hues of the sea and crimson sunsets. Evoking la dolce vita, its sporty chic demeanour, however, belies the technical mastery behind its creation. Demonstrating the brand’s expertise in design and material engineering, its case is constructed in a glass fibre composite, which is commonly associated with sports equipment and, therefore, befitting the collection’s core identity. More importantly, the high-tech material allows the Maison complete control over the exact tones it wishes to achieve for the watches. The painstaking process of making the case begins with melting glass at a scorching 1,500 degrees Celsius, which is then drawn into extremely fine filaments. These filaments are then cooled down and shaped into sheets at a lower temperature of 700 degrees Celsius. Subsequently, these sheets undergo a colouring process in baths before being stacked and compacted into blocks, which can then be precision-machined into watch cases. Lightweight yet exceptionally durable, the innovative material has just a quarter of the density of steel while maintaining comparable mechanical strength, and its captivating pattern of flowing lines reminds one of the ripples on a sandy beach. Driven by the self-winding MVT FM 800-DT beating at 28,800vph, the Vanguard Beach has a power reserve of 42 hours. Its matte dial with white hand-painted Arabic numerals and fabric Velcro strap with epoxy titanium buckle are colour-matched to the case, making each Franck Muller Vanguard Beach watch a statement piece that adds a dash of sporty glamour to any outfit.