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TICKTALK: Join us each month as Cellini spotlights one of our favorite brands with in-depth reports, reviews and more.
Franck Muller<br />July 2019 TickTalk Image

Amphibious Chic

Franck Muller hits the high seas with a new wave of stylish, nautical-inspired watches.


By Scott Hickey
June 29, 2019

The spirit of exploration has motivated Franck Muller since the Geneva-based watch brand was founded in 1992. Since then, the company has made its name by constantly pushing the technical boundaries of mechanical watchmaking with a steady stream of interesting and revolutionary designs that have earned Franck Muller the nickname “Master of Complications.”


You can add the Skafander to the brand’s ever-growing list of horological achievements. Its unusual name is actually the Polish word for a protective suit like the ones worn by divers. It’s a fitting name for the collection, which boasts an innovative dive-time display.

As many horological aficionados know, a dive watch keeps a diver safe by timing how long they’ve been underwater, which lets them know how much oxygen they have left in their tanks. Traditionally, a dive watch tracks elapsed time using a rotating bezel that features a minute counter. Right before submerging, a diver adjusts the bezel so that the zero on the counter lines up with the minute hand on the dial. As the minute hand advances, the diver can clearly see how much time has passed by looking at the bezel.

As an extra safety precaution, the bezel on a dive watch can only be adjusted counterclockwise. This ensures that if the bezel is moved accidently, it can only shorten the dive, which makes it impossible for a diver to overestimate how much oxygen remains.

The Skafander dive-time counter is located on the dial instead of the bezel.


RISING TO THE OCCASION
As you can imagine, a rotating bezel only works on a round watch case. However, Franck Muller has never been one to shy away from a challenge. Instead, the company devised a way to include the same functionality despite the Skafander’s tonneau-shaped case.

The solution was to relocate the counter from the bezel onto the dial, which meant the counter could no longer be changed by hand. To overcome this issue, engineers designed a special pusher system to make adjustments that use two buttons on the left side of the case. The top pusher moves the zero point on the counter forward in five-minute increments, while the other button advances the counter one minute at a time. This system also features a locking mechanism that prevents any accidental changes to the counter.

Franck Muller offers two versions of the Skafander. The Classic model includes a date display along with the watch’s signature dive timer. The Chronograph collection includes the same features in addition to a chronograph that measures elapsed time using the 30-minute counter on the right side of the dial and a 12-hour counter on the left.

Both versions are powered by automatic-winding movements that deliver 42 hours of reserve power. The calibers are housed in robust cases that measure 57 x 46mm and are water resistant to 100m. Each version is available in a range of colors, including black, blue, yellow, red and green.

The Skafander Chronograph features 30-minute and 12-hour counters.


ANCHORS AWEIGH
Over the past few years, Franck Muller has introduced several Yachting watches in its sporty Vanguard family, including chronographs and tourbillons. This year, the company continues to expand the collection with two new Vanguard Yachting Anchor Skeleton models.

Both new incarnations feature skeletonized movements that are produced exclusively at Watchland, Franck Muller’s palatial manufacture facility located near Geneva. Striking visually, the calibers’ exposed aluminum bridges boast a deep-blue finish that evokes the color of the sea. The maritime theme extends to the small seconds display positioned at 6 o’clock, which looks like the compass rose commonly found on maps and nautical charts.

The small seconds counter on the Yachting Anchor Skeleton resembles a compass rose.



In these new versions of the Yachting Anchor Skeleton, the hand-wound movements are presented in the voluptuous Vanguard case, which measures 44mm across and 53.7mm long and is water resistant to 30m. In keeping with Franck Muller’s long-standing tradition of offering its clients a wide range of aesthetic options, both new Yachting Anchor Skeletons models are available in cases made of rose, yellow or white gold, stainless steel, or bronze.

While these new models are quite similar, there is a key point of difference that can been discovered by comparing the area at 12 o’clock. In one version, you’ll find an indicator that keeps track of the caliber’s seven-day power reserve. In the other, the space is used to display the Franck Muller logo surrounded by a laurel wreath. It’s interesting to note that despite this model’s lack of an indicator, it also has a seven-day power reserve.

With its latest addition to the Vanguard Yachting and Skafander collections, Franck Muller delivers some stylish timepieces that are at home on land or at sea.

Click here to view the Franck Muller collection online at Cellini Jewelers.

On this model of the Yachting Anchor Skeleton, the Franck Muller logo is displayed
prominently in the 12 o’clock position instead of the power-reserve indicator.


 
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