Tour(billon) of beauty

A complication-focused exhibition with a £2.1m centrepiece

Swiss watchmaker Franck Muller, a revolutionary when he first sprang toprominence with his own tourbillon design almost 30 years ago, has done morethan most to promote this complication as the plutocrat’s movement of choice.Big, striking, yet always horologically innovative – and many with thedistinctive tonneau shape – his models adorn the wrists of oligarchs,sportsmen and movie stars. For many top brands, the tourbillon, rotatingvisibly through a spyhole in the dial, is now the sine qua non of reassuringlyexpensive watches.

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Muller is underlining his company’s supremacy in this rarefied world with atravelling tourbillon exhibition that lands firstly in London on Tuesday June 25,appropriately at Bond Street retailer Marcus, which has long championed bothMuller and high complications. The star of the show is the new Aeternitas Mega 4(pictured), a unique white gold piece described as one of the most complex evermade, with 1,483 parts. Apart from the tourbillon, it boasts a minute repeaterfunction with full grande sonnerie and Westminster chimes, which is verydifficult to achieve in such a small space, alongside the tourbillon.Other functions such as chronograph, day, date, leap year and second time zone,equation of time and two power reserve dials also find a corner, their dizzyingmechanisms visible through the crystal caseback. This one-off watch iscurrently priced at £2.1m.

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There are 15 other models in the exhibition, which lasts until Sunday August 4. Theyvary from a tiny, one-off, baguette-diamond-embellished piece with the world’ssmallest tourbillon movement, through sleek and light titanium models to thegiant Giga Tourbillon skeleton. The starter model is the black Grand Prix intitanium, at £92,500 – which, by Muller tourbillon standards, is a steal.

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