Dreaming in Color: Franck Muller Vanguard Skeleton Color Dreams
November 15, 2022
Franck Muller watches are certainly unique and striking, virtues that are fully on show with the Vanguard Skeleton Color Dreams.
By Andreas Arphan
Franck Muller design language, just like art, is open to one’s interpretation; a Franck Muller watch is a canvas on which the watchmaker expresses its joie de vivre and mastery of craft. Suffice to say, whenever the Swiss watchmaker announces a new design, the world of horology sits up and pays attention.
This design language is perfectly exemplified in the Vanguard Skeleton Color Dreams, now available as a Southeast Asia exclusive. Described as “putting colours on your wrist”, the eight colours of the famous Franck Muller Color Dreams collection are featured, available in a trio of different variants for this iteration. It’s like psychedelia came to life in a timepiece.
At first glance, the watch sports complicated good looks. The pop colours, the criss-cross bridges and the visible movement underneath convey a sense of complexity. But there is a simplicity that these complex elements achieve. These are classic Franck Muller aesthetic touches rebuilt from the ground up for this year’s iteration of the Color Dreams series. The Vanguard Skeleton Color Dreams, designed as a skeleton watch from the outset, puts the movement on show from both sides of the watch (via the exhibition caseback).
Dial-side, the satin-finished, anodised aluminium bridges of the movement are secured directly to the inner case, machined precisely to fit the curved case, revealing the manually wound mechanical movement inside.
These plates and bridges are coloured in signature hues through the process of electrolytic anodisation, which requires the special manufacture of components in aluminium, instead of the traditionally used brass or nickel silver. It should be noted that each component needs to be treated separately to achieve the different colours here, which is remarkable. Skeletonisation has the effect in the Vanguard Skeleton Color Dreams of relegating the minute numerals to the flange, with the trademark oversized numerals entirely absent. Working double-time to ensure legibility here are the hour and minute hands, which are in different colours. Running seconds is likewise marked by a hand in a different colour, in a subdial with a yellow track at 6 o’clock.
This mechanical wonder is encased in the new, lightweight V 43 case made of CarboTech, a synthesised carbon fibre material. There is also the added benefit of no two Vanguard Skeleton Color Dreams being exactly the same. The striations on each piece, created by the compression of the carbon fibre, results in differing patterns on each watch. Notably here, each case is hand-buffed, adding a bit of traditional watchmaking charm.
To conclude here, the Vanguard Skeleton Color Dreams is the latest addition to a collection inextricably tied to Franck Muller. The first Color Dreams watches were born from the brand’s passions, rooted in the founder’s obsessions, colliding in a burst of creativity. The Color Dreams watch was a canvas for a rainbow display accentuated by iconic oversized hour markers, and gave rise to various creative executions. It was always about celebrating time, and the Vanguard Skeleton Color Dreams is perhaps the purest watchmaking expression of this spirit.