A History of Franck Muller Watches - A Contemporary Success Story
Born in 1958
Born in Switzerland on July 11th 1958, of an Italian mother and a Swiss father, Franck Muller was raised in a multicultural environment. From a very early age, he develops a growing interest for all mechanical devices. It does not take long before the young Franck starts to disassemble all the machines in the house to study their "hearts". During his teens, he collects antique astrological instruments that he buys at the flea market. Mechanics and time, an equation reveals itself naturally: it is Time to which he is going to devote himself.
School of Watch Making
He enters the famous Geneva School of Watch making in 1981. After 4 years of remarkable studies, he receives the highest distinction and prizes. Faithful to his independence of state and mind, he chooses the most difficult path: to create his own workshop instead of joining a brand or a group of watchmakers. It does not take long before his reputation is made: gifted by exception technical talent, auction houses and collectors from all over the world send him their treasures for restoration.
Creating the Start
After a few years in this field, he starts the creation of unique timepieces under his own name. Throughout his studies and first years as a watch restorer, Franck Muller comes to a conclusion regarding the horology world: since XIXth century, few technical inventions have been developed and applied to wristwatches. Willing to change this situation, he decides to devote his work to the realization of unique timepieces, wristwatches to be specific, which offer the same level of technical feats as those presented in pocket watches. This prerogative becomes a goal that the young entrepreneur will always hold at hearth.
The First Wristwatches
In 1983, after months of research and micro-mechanical tests, Franck Muller is proud to present his first wristwatches. They all present a complicated movement that has been entirely created by him.
World Premiere Once a Year
As of 1983, Franck Muller unveils a World Premiere once a year: the gifted watchmaker reveals his invention, may it be a Tourbillon (1983), a Tourbillon with jumping hours (1986), a Tourbillon with Minute Repeater (1987), an inverted Tourbillon with Minute Repeater and Perpetual Calendar (1989), etc...
The Watch Making Genius
In 1992, the man that is now called by his peers the "watchmaking genius" has the privilege to see one of his models granted the exclusive title of "most complicated wristwatch in the world". This unique timepiece is forever in the history of Fine Watchmaking for never before has such a complicated wristwatch been made: Grande and Petite Sonnerie, Minute Repeater for the hours, quarters and minutes, a Perpetual Calendar programmed to the year 2100 with date, day of the week, month and monthly retrograde equation, leap-year cycle, 24-hour moon phase indicator, indicator of the internal temperature of the mechanism.
Franck Muller Genenve
1992 is also a milestone since it is then that the talented entrepreneur establishes his own company, namely Franck Muller Geneve. Nestled in a village called Genthod, in the neighbouring countryside of Geneva, he finds, in this enchanting and poetic environment, the inspiration that will promote his creations. The extreme serenity and peacefulness of these surroundings reflect the quest of harmony and perfection to which the creator aspires.
The Important Step
1995 symbolizes an important step in the history of Franck Muller: a new institutional and production site is inaugurated. Remaining faithful to his wish to evolve in a preserved environment, it is established in the very same village where he started his activity in 1983, namely Genthod. Only this time, it is a turn of the XIX century mansion that is restored to become, in just a few months, the marvelous headquarters of this promising brand.
The Wildest Dream
In 1998, Franck Muller once again surpasses collector's wildest dream: he adds to the 1992 and 1995 World Premieres a Chronograph with a 60-minutes counter and power reserve indicators to the striking-mechanism and movement. This exceptional piece is immediately recognized as the most complicated wristwatch of the world. 1998 is also the year that marks the beginning of the vast architectural expansion of the company. Watchland, an extraordinary concept, will enable to concentrate on the same property all the various stages of the making of a watch: conception, design, creation, prototype, research and development, stamping, assembling, etc... Watchland, a one of a kind site will be devoted to the world of watches. Not only will it allow to perpetuate the craftsmanship and tradition of watchmaking, it will also enable the public to discover this remarkable field since it will be entirely open to everyone.
The First World Presentation
1998 is furthermore a milestone year since it is then that the first World Presentation of Haute Horology is organized. This exhibition, held on the Watchland site, is dedicated to the very best of this industry, namely the craft of the finest timepieces. The WHPP, greeted with success form its very first edition (2,800 visitors in 1998), has had an international reach ever since.
The First Stones
In 1999, the first stones of the two new Franck Muller Watchland buildings are laid. The constructions should be completed by the beginning of the year 2001. 1999 also represents the year of continuity and reinforcement. Just like at the very beginning, one of the main priorities of the brand is to remain independent. Independence of creation, of innovation, of strategy, the brand is proud to use all means to respond to one unique criterion: the creation of exceptional timepieces. Between the 21st and the 28th of April 1999, the 2nd edition of the WPHH is held on the production site in Genthod and is visited by more than 3500 people. In 2000, the improvement of the institutional and production departments has assured the constant expansion of the brand. Although the two new buildings aren't completed, a project for 2 additional buildings is already under study, in order to follow the developments and success of the brand.
The Office Inauguration
2001 is symbolized by the official inauguration of the Franck Muller Watchland. This one-of-a-kind concept unites on the same site all the steps of production of a watch: design, creation, engineering, study and development, prototypes, movements, stamping, watchmaking, casing, after sales department, etc... Located on a superb private park of 38,000 square meters in the outskirts of Geneva (village of Genthod), the Franck Muller Watchland is unforgettable. Its breathtaking view of the Lemon Lake and of the Mont-Blanc, its turn-of-the-XIXth century architectural style, its luxuriant vegetation, all these elements and many more make of this place one that is absolutely unique. Open to the public by appointment, visitors from all over the world come to visit it. Furthermore, at the Franck Muller Watchland, the visitors have the liberty of visiting all the steps involved in the process of the making of a watch: the mystery of watchmaking is unfolded in front of them. So far, it is the first time ever that one is allowed to enter so intimately the secret world of this secular art.
The Public Opening
On March 31st 2001, amongst the representatives of the state of Geneva, of celebrities from all over the world, of the Swiss and International Press, of clients and friends, the Franck Muller Watchland is officially inaugurated. On such an occasion, a memorable day and evening was organized: formal inauguration by the "Vieux-Grenadiers" (typical Geneva Protocol) who fire their rifles, thus symbolically "opening" the site to the public; cocktail and exclusive dinner gala; fashion show; private concert with world famous singer Charles Aznavour; followed by a dance party until the end of the night with the hippest Paris DJ's.
The First Jewellery Collections
2001 is also the year of the creation of the first jewellery collections by Franck Muller. This is a project that Franck Muller held at heart for a couple of years already. After many months of studies and creation, Franck Muller presents two jewellery collections that respect in all points the criteria that he has always applied when manufacturing his watches: quality, originality, unique design.
Two New Brands
In 2001, two new brands are launched at the WPHH to complement the range of high quality watches already produced:
PIERRE KUNZ: a brand carried forward by a watchmaker who has been developing highly complicated pieces for Franck Muller for a couple of years and to whom the founder of the company has given the liberty to realize watches under his name.
ECW: a brand of sporty, trendy, high quality watches with an innovative and resolutely outstanding design.
The Stylish Celebration
2002: Tenth Anniversary of the company Franck Muller Geneve. Evidently, the prestigious House had to celebrate this year with style. Throughout the world, various events took place to mark this very special date. In April, the 5th edition of the W.P.H.H. is held on the premises of the Frank Muller Watchland. Again, an extraordinary Dinner Gala is offered to the local authorities, internation VIP's, clients and friends. Paul Anka himself will host the evening and all guests agreed that this was the best party ever. To mark this anniversary, Frank Muller reveals an outstanding wristwatch: The Tourbillon Revolution. This amazing time piece is the result of many years of research and development. Its mechanical conception is simply unique. Once again, Franck Muller is granted the title of all time "Master of complication".
First Prize is Granted
In October 2002, Franck Muller Geneve is granted the first prize, men's category, of the Geneve Watch Making Grand Prix. This exclusive prize confirms the watchmaker's exceptional talent.