It’s inevitable that the Franck Muller, the man known as “the master of complications,” would continue to invent and innovate as restlessly as he did when he first earned the nickname. Some of Franck Muller’s most important innovations have involved the complication known as the tourbillon (as regular Haute Time readers know, “tourbillon” is French for “whirlwind.) The tourbillon is a device invented over 200 years ago by the great watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet, as a mechanism intended to solve the problem of the negative effects of gravity on accuracy. It does this by taking the most essential parts of a watch –the regulating elements known as the escapement, as well as the spiral balance spring and the oscillating balance wheel –and placing them in a rotating carriage, so that they are never in any single position for too long.
Breguet’s invention was intended to solve a particular problem in accuracy, although its complexity kept it from ever being widely adopted. Though tourbillon wristwatches today can very well be among the world’s most accurate watches –in recent accuracy competitions in Switzerland, tourbillon watches have swept the field –connoisseurs often favor them as much for their exotic appearance and mesmerizing motion as for their performance.
In such a world, size matters –a larger tourbillon, all other things being equal, offers a more dramatic and seductive visual display, and it was in this spirit that Franck Muller developed the Giga Tourbillon –nothing less than a watch containing the largest tourbillon ever placed on the wrist.
The Giga Tourbillon’s carriage is enormous –at 20mm in diameter it takes up a considerable part of the case, and its dramatically shaped and beautifully finished bridge –in the shape of a stylized FM –emphasizes the size and underscores the visual dazzle of the watch. The single biggest problem for any tourbillon is that in solving one problem –the negative effects of gravity –it creates others, the most notable of which is that it requires both very precise construction and a substantial amount of torque to provide the necessary energy to keep the carriage rotating.
The Giga Tourbillon solves this problem through the use of four mainspring barrels, 16mm in diameter, which run in series and provide not only enough energy to keep the Giga Tourbillon’s carriage rotating, but also to keep it running for an astonishing 10 day power reserve.
Originally introduced in Franck Muller’s trademark Cintreé Curvex case, the Giga Tourbillon is also now available in a classically shaped round model –and in either form, it’s a breathtaking example of the ongoing evolution of the art of the tourbillon at Franck Muller.
The Giga Tourbillon Round is available in steel at $242,300 and in gold at $264,500.