The technically complex tourbillon never looked so chic and dance floor-ready
Watch aficionados who desire contemporary swag on their wrists can trust Franck Muller to do them right. The self-styled ‘Master of Complications’ isn’t just an esteemed name when it comes to creating technically complex timepieces—the company is equally adept at imbuing these watches with a progressive spirit and avant-garde aesthetics that make high-end horology desirable and relevant for the collectors of today.
Case in point: Franck Muller’s new Grand Central Tourbillon Flash CX36. The star of the watch, the tourbillon, is a mechanism that was introduced way back in 1801. In the hands of Franck Muller, however, the traditional complication not only performs its mechanical duties with improved reliability, it is injected with dynamism and youthful ostentation that begs for a night out in town.
The watch takes its ‘Flash’ suffix seriously. Fitted with neon orange, blue or green hour markers carved from blocks of luminescent PMMA (Polymethyl Methacrylate), SuperLumiNova hour and minute hands, and paired with similarly coloured nylon straps, the Grand Central Tourbillon Flash CX36 makes no apologies for showiness. The dance floor-ready colours are brilliantly contrasted by an all-black cloak that blankets the case and dial. The watch’s carbon case with blackened titanium bezel and micro-blasted matte black brass dial combine to endow the raven canvas with a sexy and intriguing combination of subtle tones and textures.
Against the captivating backdrop, the much-vaunted tourbillon takes pride of place at the middle of the dial. The wearer is granted full and unblocked view of the magnificent mechanism, courtesy of the watch’s Curvex CX case. The redesigned case is fitted with a curved sapphire crystal that extends all the way to the lugs, doubling up as a full-length window of sorts to showcase the central tourbillon. Measuring 36.5mm in diameter, the case also hugs the wrist for a more comfortable fit.
In the midst of all the flamboyance, Franck Muller draws you to the tourbillon’s astounding construction and enduring technical qualities that hark back centuries. Recognised by a rotating cage housing mechanical parts that helps counter the effects of gravity and improve the watch’s precision, the tourbillon first appeared in pocket watches from the 19th century. In the 1980s, Franck Muller broke new ground when it miniaturised the tourbillon for wristwatches and featured the mechanism on dial alongside other complications such as a jumping hour display and minute repeater.
With those epochal models, the brand rewrote the rules and set the blueprint for how modern tourbillon timepieces ought to look and perform. Since then, Franck Muller has constantly advanced the tourbillon wristwatch over the decades, from innovating with versions that rotate on multiple axes, to creating the world’s largest and fastest tourbillons.
With the Grand Central Tourbillon Flash CX36, Franck Muller again raises the bar aesthetically and mechanically. The tourbillon’s central placement, as well as the in-house movement itself—a robust and reliable in-house automatic movement with four-day power reserve—is conceived with out-of-the-box creativity and technical ingenuity signature to the independent marque. This is so that, even as the tourbillon performs its famous mechanical ballet that has captivated watchmakers and connoisseurs for centuries, the thrill endures and never ceases to fascinate.