The Franck Muller Giga Tourbillon is, almost, everything a watch enthusiast could want.
It was designed and manufactured in Switzerland – the de facto home of luxury timepieces – and, as its name suggests, it is a tourbillon (French for whirlwind) which is a piece of machinery to defy the laws of physics.
This means it counters the gravitational pull on the hands, mechanics and workings of the watch by setting the minutely engineered components, inside a cage, inside the time piece.
As one would expect for a Swiss tourbillon it has a price tag that is almost as special as the watch itself sitting just shy of the Dh1 million mark – Dh952,000 to be very precise, which is a bit like the watch. And for those that want to get their hands on one quickly, it is available in the brand’s two UAE outlets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
While its Swiss heritage is assured, being the creation of the Swiss watchmaker Franck Muller, it does not carry the heritage that many of the country’s most well-known horologists do – only being founded in 1991.
However what it lacks in history in makes up for in ingenuity. Mr Muller created, what he claims, for the first time ever, a tourbillon visible from the front. This is contrary to all other brands’ tourbillons, in which it could only be seen from the back. His brand carries the phrase “Master of Complications” and his annual collections are an example of intricate and unique complexity.
This tourbillon is the biggest incorporated in a wrist watch up to now, giving it 10 days of power reserve. The Giga Tourbillon has been given two pairs of spring boxes with a diameter of 16 millimetres, in contrast to traditional tourbillons which generally have only one or two.
Franck Muller may not be as famous a name in watch making as some of the more established houses but his celebrity clients may offer a glimpse into the type of person that can sit easily with his designs on their wrist. Jose Mourinho and Demi Moore are clients, as are the slightly more ostentatious Elton John and 50 Cent.
The Franck Muller Giga tourbillon is available in steel, white gold, platinum and titanium, and can come with diamonds as well.
q&a master of complications
Erol Baliyan, regional director at Franck Muller Watchland, tells Andrew Scott more about the Giga Tourbillon timepiece:
How many have you sold in the UAE?
The watch was launched 18 months ago and we have sold 2 so far. The mechanism is one of the most complicated you can buy in the market presently. We do have a more expensive watch but it takes a year to manufacture and we probably only make one per year. That watch will cost approximately $2.5 million.
Who buys the watches in the UAE?
The UAE market is not just for its residents, that is the beauty of the UAE. We have many clients that are from China and Russia. The Chinese have a growing interest in sophisticated movements which is accommodating the fall in Russian buyers that we have seen recently. Of course the UAE nationals are an important and knowledgeable market for us in our shops in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Mall.
So have you seen a downturn in sales to the Russian market?
We were expecting the summer to be very slow, but we have found the local market to be very buoyant. Franck Muller releases new collections every year, so the choice available is far beyond most premium watchmakers.
Can anyone take a look at the Giga Tourbillon?
It is available in both our UAE stores. It is not in the window so you will have to ask in store.
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