The History of watchmaking is in many ways a house of cards, If any one is removed the whole of the institution is threatened. There are many ancient watchmaking institutions that have left their mark on the development of many other institutions. You would be extremely hard pressed to find a watchmaker as “young” as Franck Muller that if removed from the house would leave the landscape of watchmaking sadly barren.
Franck Muller burst onto the scene of matchmaking in 1983, this was in some ways a dark age for watch design. The old ways were strictly adhered to and rarely challenged leading to decades of well made watches that sadly looked and operated all the same. Franck in his refusal of the status quo began to see the huge market for exquisite and uniquely beautiful timepieces. In an interview Sir Elton John called Franck the “Picasso of watches” and remarked that mens fashion, especially mens timepieces was never the same after Frank Muller burst on the scene demanding the world open its eyes and see beauty for what it is.
Things moved quickly for Franck. He left the Basle Fair struck in 1986 he introduced a free-oscillation tourbillon with regulator dial and jumping hours of his own manufacture. The only other mason to also do this the same year was Audemars Piguet, who in comparison was a definite Titan. The resources and connections they had in comparison to Franck were staggering but despite that Franck Muller was able to create something not just amazinging technologically complex but also a visual work of art. This is only three years since he had brought his time pieces to the mainstream. This was the start, the absolute moment of recognition in the timepiece world. As Charles the V of Spain was regarded as the “Defender of the Faith”, this was the moment where Franck Muller earned the title “Master of Complications”
A few years later a still spoken about celebrity timepiece auction took place called “Famous Faces”. A few notable celebrity donations were the Rolex James Cameron whore while filming “Titanic” alongside the Seiko that Norman Schwarzkopf wore during The Gulf War. Among all of the celebrities and people of note only one watchmaker was represented and asked to donate. That was Frank Muller. There were three Rolexs represented, there were also three Franck Muller timepieces as well. The months moved like decades for this Master of Complications. And while other masons had hundreds of years on him he was outstanding by leaps and bounds, while pushing the boundaries of what was possible and allowing people to decide what beauty is and what it can mean to them as an individual.