Franck Muller Master Banker ¶
Since the 1980s, Franck Muller has become a name synonymous with exceptional quality and unique designs. With a background in haute-horlogerie and complicated watchmaking, Muller has tied his name to a brand that has established a series of exceptional designs that, while originally avant-garde, have become embraced and often copied. Here at Matt Baily we are fortunate to have a lovely example of the brand in stock – a beautiful deep-blue dial Master Banker, a timepiece that shows all the hallmarks of a classic Franck Muller design.
Franck got his start in the watch industry as a curious student of antique pieces, and made a name for himself by restoring watches and clocks. His training progressed to the highest level of watchmaking – creating whole movements and complications, a skill that has influenced his design and the evolution of his brand since its genesis in the early 1980s. In particular, Franck was keen to experiment and create new concepts in a conservative industry where tradition was valued over change. Since then, Franck Muller watches have become symbols of quality and craftsmanship married to interesting, sometimes funky designs that broke the mould and created new trends in the watch world.
Franck Muller has become particularly synonymous with the classic tonneau shape, a softly rounded rectangular case with tapered ends, a design that dates back to the Art Deco period of the 1920s and 30s but that had fallen out of favour for many decades. To add a fun, modern twist, he created vibrant dials that stood out with bright colours, playful numerals and hands, and even surrealistic elements like randomly rearranging the numbers on his famous “Crazy Hours” series. The watch I present in this week’s blog is an excellent example of the classic Franck Muller style – this Master Banker 5850 features the tonneau case matched to a beautiful bright blue dial with the funky numerals that have become a Muller signature.
Featuring a slender, elongated case, the Master Banker is an elegant design that can work well in any situation. It’s sleek enough to wear with a suit, especially with the stainless steel bracelet, but the fun dial design gives it a casual look that goes well with a pair of jeans. The case is slim enough (32mm) for a small wrist, but long enough (45mm) to still have a good presence. The dial is a standout on this model – it is a deep, rich blue colour with a delicate guilloche pattern. The colour of the dial changes according to the light, shifting from a dark navy to a bright cobalt blue. The numerals are bright luminescent white, a nice contrast on the deep blue dial, and the subdials of the secondary time zones are guilloched silver with black numerals, and the date display features a Cyclops lens set into the dial itself. Despite the complexity (there are three time displays, after all) and the fine detailing, the dial is very easy to read at a glance.
Underneath their elegant exteriors, Franck Muller timepieces are still high-complication watches at heart (hence the tagline “Master of Complications”) and the Master Banker is no exception. As the name would suggest, this model is designed for with the high-pressure banker or stock broker in mind, someone who plays the markets and needs to know world times at a glance. The genius of the Master Banker is the simplicity of how it is read – instead of an extra GMT hand, or a complex system of bezels/buttons/24 hour scales, you have two subdials showing two timezones with independently setting minutes and hours, and three hands (hours,minutes, seconds) on the main dial. Instead of only being able to adjust in one hour intervals, you can adjust the subdials to show whatever time difference you wish – handy for the half-hour difference in the Newfoundland time zone that most GMT watches aren’t capable of showing. It couldn’t be simpler – main time on the main hands, two other times on the subdials. And setting them is a breeze too – here is where the complexity comes in. All the times are set through a single crown with two positions – position one counterclockwise sets the bottom subdial, clockwise sets the top. Position two sets the main time. To accomplish this, the Master Banker uses an in-house Franck Muller design - a smooth winding automatic movement that sets with a light touch, a sure sign of a finely finished movement lurking inside that curvy case.
The Master Banker is a great example of Franck Muller’s design philosophy – challenging the old ways with simple but brave new ideas, while re-interpreting classic style principles. With its elegant case, stunning dial, beautiful finishing, and highly-complex movement, the Master Banker is a great timepiece and a great Franck Muller. The tonneau style and fun numerals still look fresh after all these years, and in this time of scaling down and scaling back, it’s a great example of clean and sober design that still has timeless elegance. Our Master Banker is pre-owned and offered with the original box and papers, and is an excellent value for such a fine timepiece. If you have any questions about this or any watch we have in stock, visit our contact page or give me a call at 514 845 8878.