Backes & Strauss teams with British jeweler Theo Fennell to create the colorful Regent Theo Fennell Rainbow, an oval watch that places Fennell’s dynamic hand-crafted London style into a contemporary black PVD steel case with a black dial.
The watch’s dark dial is offset with rose gold hour markers comprised of brightly enameled Arabic numerals. The colors seem to flow from the hot pink Theo Fennell logo at 12 o’clock to warm amber and finally from green to blue as the eye races around the oval dial. An inner oval track is set with applied rose gold pyramid markers that reflect the light as the watch is worn.
The watch’s 40mm by 47mm case is also set alight by a single diamond set into the crown. Backes and Strauss, fits an automatic movement into the case.
The legendary jeweler and watchmaker, founded in 1789 and now part of the Franck Muller group, offers nine examples of the black-cased Regent Theo Fennell Rainbow, each priced upon request.
As a watchmaker and jeweler known for its diamond-set dials and cases, Backes and Strauss is also offering one glittering example of the Regent Theo Fennell Rainbow cased in rose gold and set with two rows of Ideal-cut round brilliant diamonds.
Even the leather strap’s gold buckle is diamond-set, contributing to the 4.79 total carat weight of the watch. Like the blackened steel model, this jeweled unique piece is priced on request.
New in 2023, Franck Muller’s new Damascus Steel collection celebrates the art of metallurgy as it extends its best-selling Vanguard collection with sporty, skeletal and dressy editions, each using Damascus steel cases.
Originating in the Near East with steel likely imported from India, extra-strong Damascus steel features a wood-grain-style pattern.Artisans in Japan are perhaps the best-known Damascus artisans for their Damascus work on Katanas, the emblematic swords of the Samurai warriors.
Franck Muller creates its own style of Damascus steel made using two types of non-magnetic stainless steel (which allows a watch movement to function). Its grain design is naturally revealed when immersed in an acid bath, and each piece offers a unique pattern.
Within the barrel-shaped Vanguard collection, all models measure either 45mm or 46mm across. Within each style, Franck Muller offers a model with blackened surfaces and a lighter, natural Damascus-grain surface, each framing a Franck Muller manual or automatic movement. On all watches, even the buckle is made of Damascus steel.
The three-hand with date Vanguard Damascus Steel Dial models arrive with a grosgrain leather strap ($13,100). The Vanguard Damascus Steel Racing series exposes its movement with slanted, open-work markers and an inner seconds dial ($24,200).
The most dramatic series here, the Vanguard Damascus Steel Skeleton ($44,200), echoes the existing, contemporary Vanguard Skeleton series, but with Damascus bridgework that matches the case around it. Inside you’ll find a Franck Muller manual-wind movement with seven-day power reserve.
At its annual World Presentation of Haute Horologerie (WPHH) a few weeks ago Franck Muller unveiled seventeen new models, including numerous updates to its Curvex CX series of emblematic ‘Curvex’ tonneau-shaped watches.
Here we’ll detail the new Curvex CX Grand Central Flash Tourbillon, one of the focus debuts in 2023 for Franck Muller.
Inspired by futuristic car designs, Franck Muller created the new Curvex CX Grand Central Flash Tourbillon to highlight its hot, award-winning central tourbillon design while also expanding the collection’s case material options.
You may recall that with the existing Grand Central Tourbillon series Franck Muller’s watchmakers found an innovative way to place the hour and second hands around the tourbillon cage, highlighting the large central tourbillon and – for its debut series – a guilloché dial.
Now Franck Muller places the same technical design into a much more contemporary setting, surrounding the skeletonized tourbillon with brightly colored fluorescent indexes set into a deep matte black dial. The series includes models cased in titanium, steel and carbon composites.
Franck Muller explains that the new design is meant to focus the eye to center of the dial to highlight the Central Tourbillon.
To assist, Franck Muller also added a fluorescent arrow to the tourbillon’s cage bridge to act as the seconds indicator. “This arrow rotates around the Central Tourbillon like an electron around its nucleus,” notes Franck Muller’s in-house description.
The Curvex CX case is an effective frame for the tourbillon. The watch’s sapphire crystal extends all the way to the bracelet, and the watch’s fairly thin bezel also maintains the focus on the dial, while also can be treated with either a matching or contrasting finish.
Franck Muller maintains a technical mind-set by attaching many of the new watches to colorful textile straps.
Other 2023 Curvex CX Debuts
Also new in 2023, Franck Muller adds its Giga Tourbillon to the Curvex CX collection to create the new skeletonized Curvex CX Giga Tourbillon (below).
In addition, Franck Muller expands the Curvex CX collection to include two new sizes, 30mm and 33mm, which makes the collection now available for feminine or smaller wrists.
Also new in 2023, look for a more subdued model in the collection, the Curvex CX Piano ($9,400 to $18,100), which offers glossy black dial with no markers. This classy model accentuates a stunning black lacquér dial and is offered in a variety of case metals.
We’ll have more about these additions to the Curvex CX collection, plus details about the new Skafander watches and a host of new Vanguard watches, in future posts.
Next week, we’ll start with details on one of those new Vanguard models that includes three variations cased in Damascus steel. In the meantime check the Franck Muller website for details about these all the other WPHH 2023 debuts.
Japanese Luxury men’s fashion magazine “Men’s Precious” earlier this year awarded Franck Muller its Watch Award 2022 for the Grand Central Tourbillon.
The series of tonneau-shaped watches highlight a centrally placed tourbillon, which the judges recognized as a difficult technical feat.
“It requires considerable skill to place it (a tourbillon) in the center,” said Koichi Namiki, Professor of Toin University of Yokohama. “But it seems Franck Muller has placed it in a tonneau-shaped case, a first in the world of watches, so effortlessly. It is as if the tourbillon has been given the best possible stage.”
Franck Muller explained that its watchmakers did need to “totally rethink the watch in order to move the Tourbillon from its original position at 6 o’clock to the center of the watch.”
The watch features a self-winding movement, fully manufactured in-house and offering four days of power reserve via an eccentric micro rotor.
The Grand Central Tourbillon also features a domed crystal and a redesigned Cintrée Curvex case, where the sapphire crystal extends all the way to the bracelet to highlight the beauty of the dial.
At the end of the year, it’s time to note our favorite 2022 debut watches. Starting today, and through the end of the week, we’ll re-acquaint you with our top timekeepers of the year.
Today, we re-post entries about our favorite 2022 debuts, in no particular order.We’ll have additional entries throughout the week.
TAG Heuer: 60th Anniversary Autavia Flyback Chronograph
TAG Heuer in early 2022 fit a Caliber Heuer 02 COSC Flyback movement into two new Autavia 60th Anniversary Flyback Chronographs.
One of the two new flyback chronographs features a ‘panda’ style silver dial framed by a polished stainless-steel case. The second Autavia flyback model features an all black dial and black DLC-coated case. As a reminder, theflybackfunctionmakesitpossibletoresetthechronographhandand immediately restart a newtiming event.
Prices: $6,300 (silver dial flyback chronograph), $6,950 (black dial, black case flyback chronograph) and $4,200 (GMT).
Delma: Blue Shark III Black Edition
Independent Swiss watchmaker Delma continues to swim with the sharks with a new dive watch made to venture far deeper than most of its similarly priced competitors.
The new Delma Blue Shark III Black Edition, water resistant to an incredible 4,000 meters, retains this collection’s very sporty technical features, including professional-level helium escape valve and crown protection, but now offers added protection of a scratch resistant black DLC coating on its 47mm steel case.
Built as a limited edition of 300 pieces, the new watch is hyper-visible on a diver’s wrist with large luminous hands and indexes and luminous markers along its broad bezel.
Delma is making 300 examples of the new Blue Shark III Black Edition in each of three dial colors: black, blue or orange dial. All three versions come with an additional black genuine rubber strap and a black DLC-coated buckle with tools for interchanging the bracelets.
RGM: Fat Arrow
American watchmaker Roland G. Murphy, whose eponymous Pennsylvania-based RGM Watches pioneered independent watchmaking in the United States, teamed with renowned watch photographer and artist Atom Moore to create a terrific limited edition series of ‘Fat Arrow’ military style watches.
Moore’s original dial art piece “Fat Arrow” is based on the name given to the World War II-era watches with the larger dial arrows, which were used to signify British military equipment.Starting with Moore’s Fat Arrow dial design, Murphy devised a complementary steel-cased 36mm military style watch.
Visible through the caseback is a manual-wind Sellita SW210-1 finished with Geneva stripes and radially brushed gears. Price: $2,995 (limited edition of 99).
Franck Muller: USA Limited Edition Bill Auberlen Vanguard Racing
The seconds indicator on the new Franck Muller USA limited edition Vanguard Racing Skeleton Bill Auberlen starts with double zero at the bottom of the dial, not at the top. This layout, while rare on a watch dial, allows seconds to be read from both ends of the seconds hand and echoes the dashboard Auberlen would see while piloting his racecar.
The dial layout is just one of many racer-friendly details that Franck Muller built into the sporty automatic watch. The watch is the latest Franck Muller model built with Auberlen’s direct. One of America’s most successful racecar drivers, Auberlen has won sixty-three races.
Another example can be found in Franck Muller’s choice of case materials for the tonneau-shaped 44m by 53.7mm Vanguard watch. One version of the watch is built with carbon, the same ultra-light, high-performance material racecar makers utilize. Another version features an unusual blue-tinged high-tech composite called Technologie Bleu, which the watchmaker says is created by mixing ‘high purity metals and other exotic elements.’
Franck Muller offers its Vanguard Racing Skeleton Bill Auberlen in three case materials:rose gold ($34,000), carbon ($27,400) and Macro molecular Technologie Bleu ($26,200).
Frederique Constant celebrated the tenth anniversary of its Classics Worldtimer Manufacture with a pair of attractive blue-and-grey-dialed limited edition references.
In keeping with this Geneva brand’s ‘affordable luxury’ tenet, the Classics Worldtimer has been among the highest-value Swiss-made examples of it type, particularly as it’s supplied with an in-house worldtimer caliber (visible through the sapphire caseback).
We’ve seen Frederique Constant release the Classics Worldtimer Manufacture in a variety of hues and metals during the past decade. This new offering, in a choice of a rose gold or steel case, combines the most classic combination that represents the earth’s blue oceans surrounded by white clouds.
The worldtimer dial allows the time to be read in twenty-four time zones with clear daytime or nighttime indication. Frederique Constant applies luminescent indexes (and on the hands in the steel model) to the fairly traditional globe décor world time display. This all frames a handsome sunray guilloché date hand display at the 6 o’clock position.
Prices: $4,695 (steel) and $21,995 (pink gold).
Casio in 2022 added an eye-catching, all-new watch to the G-SHOCK Full Metal Series, the brand’s premium line.
This GMWB5000RD-4 carries on the look and feel of the original G-Shock DW-5000C with its classic square case shape and digital display. To that, G-Shock adds a hard-to-miss red stainless-steel case with screw-on back. And while it looks fashionable, the bracelet is as tough as the case, according to G-Shock, as it is made of solid stainless steel, here finished with a red IP color and diamond-like carbon finish that matches the case.
G-Shock lets the wearer rest assured that the Full Metal watch’s fashionable good looks are accompanied with G-Shock technical features, including Bluetooth Connectivity via the G-Shock Connected app, and Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping for self-adjusting hour and date display virtually anywhere on earth.
Additional technical specifications include: shock resistance, 200-meters of water resistance, Super Illuminator LED light, world time in 39 cities, stopwatch, daily alarms, countdown timer, 12/24 Hr. formats and a full automatic calendar.