Raised in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland, Franck Muller enrolled himself in the Watchmaking School of Geneva at the age of 15. 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 watch. 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.
While Muller's work is more often characterised by his experimental dials and tonneau-shaped cases, collectors may be surprised to note the extremely classical, traditional form that this watch follows. This Special Edition, with its low dial and case number, is likely one of the first 10 to have been produced, making it one of the earliest Franck Muller watches and a desirable example of the watchmaker's early output.
The design of the watch is that of a three-register chronograph, with a glossy black dial and silver printed hour markers and Breguet numeral. The brushed sub-dials and their surrounding silver rings provide depth and texture to the dial, also forming a pleasing contrast against the evenly matte centre portion of the dial. The 12 o'clock Breguet numeral is a tribute to vintage chronographs of the past, and the dial also features the word "Antimagnetic" printed in the centre. Another detail of note is the printed seconds track and tachymeter, which add further vintage touches to the piece. The silver feuille-style hands match the rest of the monochromatic design.
The case of this Franck Muller Chronograph is especially distinctive, with a polished bezel and contrasting brushed outer portion. Its three-piece construction gives the watch a bold presence on the wrist and at 36mm in stainless steel, the watch is extremely reminiscent of vintage chronographs of the past. The watch is powered by a manual-winding movement, based on a Lemania 1874 ébauche. The cam switching chronograph runs at 21,600 A/h, integrates 17 jewels, and has a 40-hour power reserve. The movement is subtly finished, with chamfering on some of the angles, as well as polishing and decoration, in the form of Geneva striping. The closed caseback bears the engraving "Master of Complications, No. 0X, Special Edition".
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Franck Muller Master of Complications will be subject to 20% VAT