Updated for the 21st century, the collection drew inspiration from Casablanca, the movie, as well as Franck Muller’s early dream to create the perfect balance of sport and elegance
Connoisseurs love the watches of Franck Muller for a plethora of reasons, from the iconic tonneau-shaped Cintrée Curvex case and those gloriously oversized hour numerals, to some of the most fascinating mechanical complications in modern haute horlogerie. But the true allure of Franck Muller’s timepieces extend far beyond their physical features.
Offering more than just the hours and minutes, or indeed any functional application, they share unique expressions of time as interpreted by the master watchmaker’s own creative spirit. This is a design ethos found not just in signature complications such as the Master Banker or Crazy Hours, but also in time-only pieces like the Casablanca.
A story on the wrist
Developed and introduced in 1998, the Casablanca was Franck Muller’s answer to a modern, sporty and elegant timepiece that also captured the refined austerity of the inter-war era. Not that Muller had experienced that period personally, but when he watched the Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca for the very first time, he immediately felt compelled to develop a timepiece that embodied the suave and immaculate style of Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick Blaine.
Might Muller have noticed a slight resemblance between Bogart’s watch on-screen – it was a tonneau-shaped gold watch – and his own Cintrée Curvex collection? Only the master watchmaker knows. But when it comes to defining the original Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex Casablanca, launched just two years before the turn of the millennium, there exists absolutely no doubt of the watch’s refined, sophisticated masculinity.
Housed in a genteel tonneau case and furnished with earthy colours that evoke the city’s Mediterranean landscape, it personified the Casablanca story through the eyes of a watchmaker. And just as the movie was – and remains – universally beloved, so did the Franck Muller Casablanca rise high among the watchmaker’s most coveted models.
Which was why the original model’s elegant spirit and sporty persona must remain intact when the manufacture decided to release a 21st-century interpretation of the Casablanca. Above all, the watch has to convey modernity. Thus came the idea to infuse the Casablanca with aesthetic codes of the Vanguard.
Strength of an icon
In this exciting second chapter, Franck Muller presents the new Vanguard Casablanca. This model builds on its predecessor’s simple elegance while adapting to today’s standards as it keeps the modern watch connoisseur in mind. The polished, curved and rounded case offers comfort on the wrist, and is deeply characteristic of the fast-growing Vanguard series – itself a dynamic contemporary incarnation of the Cintrée Curvex.
Franck Muller retained the original collection’s use of printed hour numerals but modified the design to express a more youthful, vibrant energy. For old times’ sake, it also retained the circular date window at six o’clock – there’s arguably no better place for this feature – but the hands are distinctively sportier. Angled skeleton hands plus an arrow-tipped one for the central seconds tell us this watch is all about legibility, performance – not unlike field military timepieces of the ’40s.
Comprising two key references, a time-and-date and a chronograph, the Vanguard Casablanca is quite naturally dressed in colours inspired by the movie as well as the city. The black, brown and salmon palette is reminiscent of Casablanca’s stunning architecture and its glorious sunsets. Meanwhile, the fourth model (a Franck Muller boutique exclusive) comes in black with blue accents – no doubt a reference to the crystal blue waters hugging this beautiful coastal city.
Both references are available in two sizes: a smaller 41mm and a 42.5mm size that’s brand new to Franck Muller and exclusive to Southeast Asia. Garrik Low, general manager of Franck Muller, remarks: “We’ve developed a new case size that bears the distinctive style and codes of the brand, and that our collectors have desired for a long time.”
Discover the full range of Franck Muller’s new Vanguard Casablanca here