Chronograph | early production | steel
N.5 of 50
This rare Franck Muller chronograph is one of the earlier pieces created by the skilful watchmaker after establishing his own brand in 1991, following his time working as one of the world’s leading watch restorers. Undoubtedly inspired by his time restoring pieces from the Patek Philippe private collection, the design of the chronograph is refined and elegant, reminiscent of classics such as Patek Philippe's reference 130. With a steel case, glossy black dial, silver printed indications and Lemania ébauche, it combines some of the most desirable features one would hope to find in a chronograph from any period.
Raised in La Chaux de Fonds in Switzerland, Franck Muller enrolled himself in the Watchmaking School of Geneva at the age of fifteen. Following graduation, he began his watchmaking career restoring watches for collectors and auction houses, gradually building a reputation for his skill in restoring complicated timepieces. Becoming one of the most sought-after restorers, he worked on the maintenance and restoration of watches in the Patek Philippe collection, many of which sit in the Patek Philippe Museum today.
In 1984, Muller designed his first tourbillon wristwatch, at a time when the complication was scarce. The tourbillon in wristwatch form only really came into being in the following years, with Muller claiming the first-ever exposed, dial-side tourbillon with this piece. A few years later, in 1991, he would form his eponymous brand, with the title "Master of Complications", looking to offer distinctive pieces to collectors.
Limited to 50 pieces, this Special Limited Edition Chronograph is classical in its execution. The design is that of a three-register chronograph, with a glossy black dial and silver printed hour indexes and Breguet numeral. The brushed subsidiary dials and surrounding silver rings form an appealing contrast against the even, central portion of the dial. Depending on the angle and intensity of the light, they almost appear to emerge from the rest of the dial.
The silver printed Breguet numeral at 12 o’clock, a desirable characteristic found on some vintage chronographs, offers further detail to the design. The dial also features an “Antimagnetic” signature, indicating the antimagnetic properties of the movement, and is signed “N.05”, referring to its position in the run of 50 pieces. The thickness of the printing used, be it on the hour markers, seconds track or tachymeter, add an appealing amount of depth and texture to the dial. The feuille hands are silver in tone, matching the rest of the monochromatic design.
The case is very distinct with its polished, stepped concave bezel and contrasting brushed outer portion. The three-piece construction gives the watch a bold presence on the wrist, measuring 36mm in diameter. Cased in stainless steel, it is reminiscent of the sought after Patek Philippe chronographs of times past.
This Franck Muller chronograph is powered by a manual-winding movement, based on a re-worked Lemania 1874 ébauche – from the same producer as the Lemania 2310, which is integrated into the Patek Philippe reference 5070.
The movement is beautifully finished, with chamfering on all angles, polishing and decoration, in the form of Geneva striping. The movement uses a straight-line lever escapement, a monometallic balance adjusted to 5 positions, self-compensating Breguet spring and swan-neck micrometer regulator.
The 17-jewel movement is chronometer-certified, as confirmed by the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronométres) certificate which accompanies the watch, with the movement having passed COSC certification in February 1994.
This Franck Muller Chronograph “Special Limited Edition” is believed to be limited to 50 pieces. Indeed, the paperwork from a similar chronograph from the same period appears to indicate that these editions were limited to 50 pieces.
It comes on a custom-made version of our grained taupe Zürich calfskin straps and is also accompanied by its original Franck Muller brown alligator strap and matching stainless steel buckle.
Another early Franck Muller chronograph we had for sale, similar to this one, was recently covered by Revolution Magazine.
|Model:||"Special Limited Edition" Chronograph|
|Functions:||chronograph, hours, minutes, sub-seconds|
|Features:||glossy black dial, printed Breguet numeral
|Case:||37 mm stainless steel|
|Strap:||grained taupe Zürich calfskin strap, original brown alligator Franck Muller strap and stainless steel buckle|
|Box & papers:||-|
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