By Steve Huyton
A few years ago I featured a very special watch called the Crazy Wheel by Franck Dubarry in my “Independent Watchmakers” book. This watch was really a last-minute inclusion because at the time I wasn’t that familiar with the brand.
However, my editor absolutely loved the aesthetic and felt it was a worthy addition. What makes this piece so special is the 360° in-house gravitational flying-hour module, which takes center place on the dial. This amazing mechanism was conceived by specialist watchmaker Dominique Renaud, renowned for his work with high-end brands like Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille.
The Crazy Wheel is available in many versions including a Maori Tattoo version, which is my personal favorite. If you like brands like Audemars Piguet, Hublot and Linde Werdelin, this watch will really hit the spot.
Originally, Crazy Wheel was targeted at the masculine and potentially unisex market. However, recently, I received a press release from the brand unveiling a new feminine model called the Crazy Wheel Gemma.
The ‘Crazy Wheel Gemma’ adopts the same 43mm x 50mm geometric case as the original version. A few years ago it would have been inconceivable that a watch this size would appeal to the feminine market. However, times are changing and now certain ladies prefer bolder designs.
To create a softer façade, Franck Dubarry has added precious gems into the composition. There are three new Maori engraved versions (two with bronze cases) with pink sapphire, blue sapphire and green emerald encrusted bezels. These stone perfectly compliment the meticulously finished lacquered colors on the flying-hour module. Prices start at $19,800.
Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews.