Franck Muller, a sui generis in Haute Horlogerie, known as the Master of Complications created a legacy in the watchmaking world. Raised in La Chaux-de-Fonds by his Italian mother and Swiss father, he enrolled in Ecole d’Horlogerie de Genève, a prestige watchmaking school at the age of 15. His keen sense of artistic creativity garnered attention rapidly and Muller started repairing pocket timepieces for private collectors and museum assessors. In 1992 he founded his workshop and started what we now know as Franck Muller, building his legacy of complications.
The Crazy Hours collection, launched in 2003, was birthed from a spurge of a moment. Franck Muller despised rules. A telling anecdote of his character occurred during an unpleasant encounter with hotel etiquette black-tie dress code. To protest societal rules, he wore a bathrobe string as a bow tie along with a black suit to dine at the hotel. By midnight, he got up from his table, walked towards the pool, simultaneously removed his clothing piece by piece. First the suit, then the tie, until he had nothing. Then he leaped into the air and jumped into the pool. An exhilarated liberation followed after he emerged from the water, he recalled. Although others bombarded, the Crazy Hours conception bloomed. This is a piece that answers to no rules. A piece designed for the rebels. Numbers scatter in random order. Jumping hour complication defies the concept of linear time. Cover in bright colors and bold letterings, this attitude is the essence of Franck Muller.
One of Muller’s notable pieces to name is Evolution 3-1 introduced in 2008. In Revolution 3, the foundation of Evolution 3-1, Franck Muller perfected a tri-axial tourbillon that can correct gravity forces from all directions contrary to the traditional vertical position, but this function came with its own impediment- getting the tourbillon cage to rise without damaging delicate watch hands. Muller designed a button that triggers the tourbillon carriage to emerge while signaling the watch hands to jump to 12 stirrings clear of its way. Once the button is released, the watch hands snapped back to where they are supposed to be, without missing a split second in accuracy. It took the above complications and an added perpetual calendar to realize the Evolution 3-1.
The Aeternitas Mega was debuted in 2010 as the most challenging watch ever introduced to mankind. The timepiece staggered 1483 components producing 36 complications, 23 indications, 7 pushers, encased in Muller’s signature complex Cintrée Curvex shape. The sophistication took a full year to assemble and nearly 5 years to plan. Every complication there was ever created in the world was packed into this 34.4mm by 41.4mm chamber. Placing Franck Muller up the pedestal of the Master of Complications.
Some said he’s a genius, others said he’s a mad man. His venture didn’t stop at watchmaking. There seemed to be no limit to Muller’s vision. He ran a yacht brand and had a car racing team.
He relentlessly broke rules and swam against the current. He dressed extravagantly, and some even compared Watchland to the Playboy Mansion. There were rumors around him that never cleared. But at the end of the day, he is a loving father and a family man at his core. His son serves as his fresh set of eyes seeing the world, asking Muller why grown-up watches weren’t bigger and how come grown-up watches didn’t come with rubber bands. Then Muller began making timepieces with bigger watch faces and introduced rubber bands to the luxury market, disrupting the culture. And yet, with all of his accomplishments, his greatest luxury in life is the time he spends with his family. The Master of Complications continues to surprise the world with his complexity.