franck muller sydney store opening 2015

franck muller dials into sydney | the master of complications

Brainy and cheeky. Witty and inventive. Always smoking hot.

Franck Muller makes the coolest, craziest, watches. In Sydney to open a new store, we find out what makes him tick


franck muller -geneva-sydney watch store opening 2015 skelly

Colour and movement at the Franck Muller Sydney store opening. Photo Susan Skelly

Swiss watchmaker Franck Muller is attracted to precision, power and perfection. Which might explain why his inspiration in recent times has reached from the high seas to grand prix racetracks to nature’s underbelly.

The showcasing of his new “Yachting” collection of timepieces coincided with the launch late September in Monaco of a new yacht, the Franck Muller 55, built in collaboration with the Italian Sea Group.

Before that, with the Singapore Grand Prix as accomplice, came a limited edition of 49 pieces –The Vanguard Racing line – whose case and dial are made of the same strong and light carbon used in Formula 1 racing cars.

Then there is the all-powerful reptile: following the success of the “Croco Collection”, Franck Muller introduced “Vanguard Cobra” whose case and dial are adorned with 3D cobra scales milled from a mix of materials to create realistic scales.

franck muller new sydney store interior graphics

Dialling up the numbers in a new Sydney watch store

Next year [2016] will mark 25 years since Muller and Vartan Sirmakes founded their watchmaking enterprise in the village of Genthod, near Geneva in Switzerland. The business has grown to produce 40,000 watches each year; there are 48 stand-alone sites globally and 600 sales points in more than 100 countries.

The first Franck Muller store opened in 1992 in Tokyo (Japan is the private company’s biggest market). Store openings in recent times have been a bucket list of diva destinations: Dubai, Hong Kong, Madrid, Macau …. and, in mid-October, Sydney, where visitors will be able to clock some of his signature styles – Crazy Hours, Master Banker, Double Mystery, the Vanguard (we especially like the brushed rose gold version) and the Giga Tourbillon.

Muller’s designs are brave and bold. Which is pretty much how he likes to live his life, he told Excess All Areas a few hours ahead of the launch of the jewel box of a store with its changing gem-coloured light panels. His unusual shapes, calligraphy and colour are proof of someone who tends to think outside the square.

Muller likes to cater to difference and idiosyncrasy. “No-one should have to wear the same watch,” he says. Which dictates a pretty prodigious output. But Muller has always had something new up his sleeve, whether a split second chronograph, minute repeater, perpetual calendar or an indicator showing the internal temperature. They don’t call him the “master of complications” for nothing.

Luckily, much inspires Muller. “Everyone I meet gives me inspiration and ideas,” he says. “Even a conversation – that’s how creative people work. You cannot sit at the table and wait for the ideas to come to you.” And if they’d just let him out for an hour or two, he might have the chance to be inspired by Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, and the Garden Island shipyards which are framed tantalisingly beyond his reach by the windows of his 35th floor suite at the Hilton Hotel.

Just as important as inspiration in design, however, is technique, says Muller. “You need to find solutions to execute your inspiration. We don’t simply make ‘time’ – you must be open to technology.”

Muller estimates a new watch takes about five years to bring to market. The drawing board is his love and relaxation, but so is yachting. He has a 33-metre German yacht he sails around the Mediterranean with his three children and their friends. It accommodates 10 to 12 plus the crew.

“I’m a big fan of yachting,” he says. “It keeps me cool, relaxed, and calm.”

Related articles: Heirloom design

Franck Muller, Shop 5, 147 King Street, Sydney


Editor. Writer. Traveller. Keeping tabs on all things fab.

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Copyright © Susan Skelly 2020.