As a watch manufacturer these days, having a tourbillon in your collection is hardly enough to set you apart from the crowd since many haute horlogerie brands already have one in their collections. Discerning collectors have therefore started to look for the next step, with even more impressive iterations beyond the basic tourbillon. Brands have responded by integrating multiple tourbillons multi-axis tourbillons or, as Franck Muller has memorably done, enlarge the tourbillon to unheard of sizes.!
As self-proclaimed Master of Complications Franck Muller has surprised the world numerous times with unique complications, yet the one complication that is typical Franck Muller is the tourbillon. Afterall, Muller has integrated them into Grande Complications, created several multi-axis tourbillons, and even integrated those into Grande Complications. Although one can hardly say that “less is more” when the watch in question is named Giga Tourbillon, it is it’s striking purity of design that does make it one of the most tempting offerings of a tourbillon by the brand.
A diameter of 20mm is the unprecedented size of the tourbillon cage used in the Giga Tourbillon; the largest ever in a wrist watch and polar opposite of the Audemars Piguet featured in an earlier article which was significant for having the smallest tourbillon ever in a wrist watch. Without going into a complicated discussion on whether size matters in how good a tourbillon performs, lets instead focus on the aesthetics of having a complication like this on a large scale. The constant movement of the tourbillon cage is a mesmerizing dance, often casting a spell over people not particularly interested in watches. Having a larger tourbillon doesn’t necessarily make it more mesmerizing but does allow for a better and more detailed view of the tourbillon.
In terms of details there is more then enough to enjoy in this Franck Muller. Offered with either a diamond dial or skeletonized, both feature a very clean design. The diamond dialled version dial has a fine pavé setting, Franck Muller’s hallmark Arabic numerals and a traditional, yet giga cut out to show the tourbillon. The skeleton version actually takes the watch to the next level. Because Franck Muller flipped the movement (so the back of the movement is now actually the front) and by keeping it manual wind, he was able to maintain an extraordinary symmetry in the movement design, and in the skeleton the eye-catching appearance of the extra large tourbillon is balanced by the large mainspring barrels in the upper part of the movement.
What seems like two mainspring barrels are in fact no less than four barrels. Together they give the movement a more than impressive power reserve of nine days, which is displayed on the power reserve meter positioned in the middle of the two stacks of barrels.
Franck Muller offers the Giga Tourbillon in a round case as well as in his signature Cintree Curvex case. A black PVD coated case can give the watch a more sinister look, while encased in gold the Giga Tourbillon becomes more of a contemporary expression of classicism. Another signature feature of Franck Muller is of course his diamond-set watches. Not surprising then the Giga Tourbillon is also offered in a wide variety of diamond set versions, featuring either black of colorless diamonds. The Cintree Curvex especially requires extraordinary skill to produce since the diamond setter has to work very carefully to achieve a leveled field of diamonds that makes a pavé setting so attractive while still following the curves of this watch.
To give you an idea of the beauty of the setting of the Giga Tourbillon please enjoy the video by Revolution’s founder Wei Koh. Showing many of the extraordinary features that make this watch not only a Giga toubillon, but a “giga” expression of the many unique arts within Haute Horlogerie.
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics