Franck Muller History: The Rise & The Fall | Chrono Hunter
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Franck Muller History: The Rise & The Fall | Chrono Hunter

Franck Muller: The Rise & The Fall Of The Man Declared Bankrupt 

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Franck Muller is named after its CEO who was born in 1958 and was making watches until the brand's inception in 1991. Before the creation of the business, he was creating his own tourbillon wristwatch and other highly complicated watches for several private customers. Ever since the foundation of the business, he has gone from strength to strength, creating extremely influential watches like the Casablanca and the Curvex. Without exposing too much information right now, it’s time for a little horological background!


The History of Franck Muller


Bamford - Source - Watch Pro

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He grew up in Geneva, the home of watchmaking to us horological fans, and learnt the ins and outs of watchmaking through attending the watch-making school of Geneva.

Muller built up a portfolio of private clients over the years and began to gain a reputation as a very reputable craftsman. Working for a gentleman named Svend Anderson, their clients predominantly were those of museums and Patek Philippe. During his time working with such complicated timepieces, he began to create his own workshop which led to creating his first tourbillon wristwatch. This isn't an easy feat as only the most established of makers were capable of performing such incredible feats of horological design. 

By working with private clientele, he developed his business gradually and eventually released what we all know today as the House of Franck Muller in 1991. It was received with rapturous acclaim due to the avant-garde style they all had. Currently the headquarters of the business it is known for producing limited models for very exclusive clients such as Cristiano Ronaldo. They do things a little differently to other brands such as releasing ‘World Premiers' each year wherein they release a new line of models that houses something unique or exclusive to their other collections. 


World Premiers - Source - Franck Muller

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For example, their first World Premiers in 1993 released watches with a minute repeater, split seconds chronograph, perpetual calendar and an indicator that capably showed the temperature within the model. We can only assume that's why the biggest celebrities like 50 Cent, Jose Mouriniiho and Elton John own these fabulous types of watches. 

His nickname ‘Master of Complications’ came after these world Premiers demonstrating how skilled these releases were and how widely acclaimed they became. Totalling 36 world firsts and the vast array of patents attained, the resulting collections have been highly successful such as the Crazy Hours or the Aeternitas Mega 4 which totals a mindblowing 36 complications - blowing the highly revered Grandmaster Chime with its 20 complications, out of the water. 


Key Models Of Franck Muller


The Aeternitas Mega


The Aeternitas Mega is comfortably the most complicated watch you may never have heard of. 


Aeternitas - Source - Franck Muller

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Yes, it may look like you have rocked up to a casino table in Las Vegas but this is all singing and dancing. And with “holy trinity” brands like Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe taking the helm for complicated pieces like the Traditionelle or Grandmaster Chime, it often happens that phenomenal models produced by the brand get sidelined. 


As such, the Aeternitas Mega is definitely a watch you need to keep in mind when discussing the best models with your buddies! With 5 versions made, the collection has a mind-boggling 36 complications and is made up of an impressive 1,483 components. This does show their skill in combining micro-engineering with phenomenal design. For those who studied Latin, you will already know that  Aeternitas means ‘Eternity’ which is more than apt for this watch due to the eternal calendar function following a 1000-year cycle. Suffice it to say it may comfortably last you and others for a few generations!


- You can buy a Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega upon inquiry. 


Platinum Jubilee Limited Edition 


The Platinum Jubilee editions were released to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne. 


The Platinum Jubilee Limited Edition - Source - Franck Muller

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Specifically for this occasion, they released three special collections which all vary in design to celebrate Her Majesty’s reign. True to form, the collections are each capped at 70 pieces as a celebration of the 70 years on the throne. 

The first edition is a women’s watch and has notable references to the Jubilee through Her Majesty's royal cypher at 6 o'clock. The second edition is also for the ladies and is crafted using hand set diamonds, showing the level of elite craftsmanship involved in the model as diamonds are notoriously difficult to use due to their expense and malleability. The last edition is for the gentleman and boasts a very proud Union Jack on the dial's face and a subtle Queen's cypher at 12 o'clock. Can't blame them for going all out!

On the back of all these watches, alongside the serial number you can also find the Platinum Jubilee emblem, linking to the very important era of the Platinum Jubilee. If you think they couldn't emphasise the celebration anymore, they have made the crowns of the timepieces out of platinum and specific straps have been released for these models, matching the colours of the Jubilee. 

The Arabic raised numerals are hand applied, showing the level of detail that's gone into each model. Understandably, these pieces are now more coveted given the passing of Elizabeth II in 2022.


- You can buy a Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega upon inquiry. 


Crazy Hours


First released in 2003, The Crazy Hours collection is ultimately nuts. 


Crazy Hours - Source - Franck Muller

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It might be as colourful as a rainbow but there’s still substance under the horological bonnet. With a dial face that's as unconventional as it is unique, the numbers go (for one model) 8, 1, 6, 11, 4, 9, 2, 7, 12, 5, 10, 3, showing how ‘crazy’ this model really is. Suitable for Krusty The Clown? It might very well be. But for all its Art-Deco inspired design, the movement is still as sublime as ever. The hour hand operates from a jump hour complication which means that it still follows the time accurately as it jumps from 1 to 2 and so on around the dial. 

The conventional numeral design layout of timepieces hasn't been tampered with at all. Purists would be able to agree on that point only but he has put that ideology into jeopardy. It's fantastic to see the word ‘Avant Garde’ really being put to the test! The models are built onto a Tonneau shaped case which is crafted out of finished steel or carbon fibre, not to mention a variety of precious metals. They can be upgraded further by having the dial given a dose of colour on the numerals, furthering the Mad Hatter design. And would you want “crazy colour dreams” emblazoned on the dial? That’s also up for debate, watch peeps. There have also been tourbillon editions released, showing their willingness to continually push the envelope, boundaries, spectrums and everything in between of high quality timepieces. 


- You can buy a Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega upon inquiry. 


Colour Dreams


If you thought the Crazy Hours model was bizarre, take a look at the Colour Dreams Edition. 


Colour Dreams - Source - Franck Muller

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Crafted out of 18K Rose Gold, the case is given the usual Tonneau shape and has a slight curvature which stretches out. The flanks are polished perfectly which gives them an immense chine which is almost as comparable as the diamond bezel which gleams superbly. The same unconventional Arabic numeral design Crazy Hours is found on this model and it superbly contrasts with the white dial with a phenomenal guilloche finish. While the movement may not be as exciting as the Aeternitas as it's just a Quartz movement, it does the basics right and the focus is more on the vibrancy of the design. 

Clockwork orange this ain't but it does have a distinct feel about it when examining the dial aesthetics. The British Green Alligator strap is hand stitched and is created to be both comfortable and look superb against the eccentric colour scheme of the model. Its lack of seriousness is a breath of fresh air in a world of grey and blue dials. They really know how to draw a smile from his fans!


- You can buy a Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega upon inquiry. 


Revolution 1


They have a habit of finding out problems the consumer faces and resolving them with splendour and excellence. As can be seen in our next example - the Revolution 1.


Revolution 1 - Source - Franck Muller

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He noticed that the tourbillon feature on timepieces was an excellent addition but very hard to actually see for those who enjoyed looking into the intricacies of the movement. The tourbillon that they had in mind is one that would be able to rise through the dial's face, offering an unparalleled view into the model's mechanism. By pressing a pusher on the side of the case, the tourbillon carriage has the capability of physically rising up past the dial and just under the sapphire crystal. Since the function rises up past the dial, there is an obvious issue with the hands being able to move around the face without coming into contact with the tourbillon. That’s enough to start a revolution there and then!

As such he created another genius innovation of the hands being able to jump to 12 o'clock so they wouldn't be impacted by the rising tourbillon cage at 6 o'clock. If the pusher was released, the hands automatically jump back to their correct time without having the accuracy of the model hindered at all. The level of complication detail on these timepieces is unparalleled and shows their skill in dealing with new innovations. Genius!


- You can buy a Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega upon inquiry. 


Whatever Happened To Franck Muller?


Good question, you devoted enthusiasts. They came out fast from the gate and radically changed the horological world in a short space of time with a host of patents and innovations. 


The Man Himself - Source - Franck Muller

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Creating models for Sir Elton John and Conor McGregor Muller has worked with the best and produced the greatest.

Later, he would move into sponsorships such as F1, sponsoring Mcclaren in the 90s. It wasn't all fine and dandy, however. In the early 2000s, claims were made that he was bringing in cheap movements from abroad and embellishing them, allowing him to make the claim that they were Swiss made. A big horological no-no. They were still performing exceptionally well, increasing their revenue from 15.5% in the first half of 2003 and predictions that 2004 would be another phenomenal year. In 2004, he upped sticks and left his party house, or his headquarters entitled ‘Watchland’. 

A strong disagreement between Muller and his partner Vartan Sirmakes would result in wild accusations being made from the media and from the two gentlemen. Subsequent rumours of Russian imports for parts and hidden resentments of Watchland involving other brands apart from his brand. The stories allegedly swirled and the business was seemingly in crisis mode to the point of meltdown. Their disinterest in moving into the Asian markets which were booming at the time further highlighted a negative outcome for the business. 

They experienced the most dreaded thing a business can ever experience. Bankruptcy… (Allegedly.) However, it's typically understood that bankruptcy is a permanent thing for a business. In their case, it seems like nothing can bring them down! First deemed to be bankrupt in 2017, the tale is famed in timekeeping folklore as newspapers published their inevitable collapse when in reality, it all started from a contested invoice of 57.70 Swiss Francs. The invoice appeared out of a conflict between an advertising and billboard agency which they contested in paying. 

A court brazenly decided that they were defaulting and as such would have no choice but to submit to bankruptcy on April 24th. After everything was cleared up about the background of the invoice, the Civilian Chamber reversed the decision…just 8 days later. Talk about making a meal out of it!


Franck Muller New Releases


Still ticking along, they have continued to release an array of impressive models, even amid all the controversy of the business’ success and future. 


Grand Central Tourbillon


The central tourbillon complication is extremely difficult to create.


Grand Central Tourbillon - Source - Franck Muller


Utilising both a tourbillon which is incredibly tricky to craft, the entire design of the model has had to be amended in order to include the tourbillon taking centre stage in the middle of the dial. Suffice to say, you’ve never seen anything like this before! Don’t believe us? Read on and you’ll soon see. The hands have been altered to accommodate the narrow design of the case. The hands are now built upon two discs with the second hand being amended into the centre of the tourbillon in the form of a sharp point. And what’s the point of this you might say?

Well, the dial has been created out of beautiful rose gold with a refined guilloche finish which forms a hypnotising circle from the tourbillon outwards. In their typical fashion, the Arabic numerals have been hand applied, stretching from the top and the bottom and thinly narrowed from 2 to 4 o'clock and from 8 to 10 o'clock. 

Measuring 36.5mm which isn't too big but the thickness may be too dense for some at 16mm. The curved case design slips around the wrist perfectly and epitomises their vision for his timepieces. The sapphire crystal on the back ensures the côtes de Geneve, sunray brushing

and other effects are particularly noticeable on the 18,000VpH calibre FM CX 36T-CTR. Sleek and elegant, this is unmistakably Muller’s work.


- You can buy a Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega upon inquiry. 


Cintrée Curvex CX


The Cintrée Curvex CX utilises a Clous de Paris hobnail finish to attain a fantastic grainy finish which curves spherically around the dial face. 


Cintrée Curvex CX - Source - Franck Muller 

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Due to the pattern being given a slightly bumpy effect, the dial competently reflects light and accentuates different parts of the model depending on where the light is coming from. This silvery dial colour allows the applied numerals to stand out superbly and ensures the dials pattern to further produces a hypnotic effect to rival Derren Brown. The numerals don't need excess colour or are designed in the funky pattern as the Crazy Hours models. Its refinement is more than enough for this luxury model. Combine the mystical dial effect with the polished case finish and the dial takes centre stage, allowing the eyes to be drawn in without any distraction. 

The FM 2536-SC calibre is sufficient for this model as it provides a 42 hour power reserve and is finished with the sublime effects expected of their timepieces. Take for example the Côtes de Geneve and 24K gold engravings on the movement which show the level of detail that has gone into these specific models 


- You can buy a Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega upon inquiry. 


Vanguard Rose Skeleton Black Diamond


The Vanguard Rose Skeleton Black Diamond is a model which demonstrates their phenomenal skill of gem setting. 



Vanguard Rose Skeleton Black Diamond - Source - Franck Muller

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On the surface, this watch wouldn’t look out of place on Barbie’s wrist. The garish pink is something to behold. But this should not take away the level of skill that goes into the Gem setting, using a PVD finish. This is extremely time intensive as each diamond is finished individually in order to make the diamonds gleam with one another. The case is covered with diamonds but is built in a way that isn't too overly ostentatious and can be worn without looking obnoxious. 

The dial is very eye-catching however and has spectacular designs in the form of roses wherein the petals and stem are given a varnish finish to enhance their shine. The dial has 75 brilliant cut rubies which match up beautifully with the diamonds adorned on the case. The model is powered by the strong 1540 VS17 calibre which offers a 4 day power reserve and pulsates at 18,000 VpH. The model is very skeletonised and as such, requires that the movement is also finished with great aplomb, thus why the movement features chamfering and polishing to a point where you could even see your face in it!

You can buy a Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega upon inquiry. 


Does Franck Muller Watches Hold Their Value? 


Franck Muller watches are designed for the elites and made to be valuable. 


Mykonos Limited Edition  - Source - Franck Muller

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Due to their immense exclusivity, they are only available to the most privileged among us and their release numbers are notoriously low. Take for example The Franck Muller Mykonos Limited Edition which is not only capped at 16 pieces made but also solely available in Franck Muller Athens and Mykonos boutiques. Imagine being so in demand and popular that you can physically restrict your sales to a certain place in the world and still make a profit every year. Suffice it to say, Franck Muller watches are snapped up like hot chips due to the impressive blend of immense complications with stunning, avant garde design. 


Buy a Franck Muller and you will definitely get your money back in the long term!




He is the renegade of the horological world. Stories of him stripping nude (allegedly ahem) at high quality restaurants and thinking up ostentatious designs like the Crazy Hours goes to show how obscure but ultimately genius Franck Muller is! He has created phenomenal models like Revolution and the Aeternitas collection which are lauded by critics and fans alike. With their similarity in style to Richard Mille, they offer suitable competition to keep the more mainstream brands on their toes. 

The models aren't cheap but what you are buying is priceless. Unorthodox design, quality movements and a very exclusive buyers circle are something that keeps his models in the realms of the unknown and somewhat unconventional. How thrilling! Like a rollercoaster, there are many more ups and downs to come from Maison Muller. 

Are you looking to buy a Franck Muller? Want to buy a Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega? Chrono Hunter can locate the timepiece that makes your heart skip a beat. Contact us here and let us pull some strings to get you what you deserve. Whether buying or selling, our fantastic Trustpilot testimonials are more than enough evidence as to why we are the best! You don't need anyone else when you buy a watch or sell a watch. By filling in our easy to use form, you can start saving money the smart way!


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Further Reading: 

38 Majestic New Timepieces We Spotted From Watches and Wonders 2023

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