Franck Muller’s playground just got bigger.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Less a watchmaker and more of a mad scientist of horology, it’s entirely fitting that someone like Franck Muller, creator of the eccentric Crazy Hours and astonishingly fast Thunderbolt Tourbillon, named his headquarters “Watchland”. Even though Muller no longer has a stake in his eponymous brand, his creative legacy continues at Watchland. Its quaint, Swiss-style architecture makes it a must-visit for watchmaking fans visiting Geneva, and now there’s even more to see.

Watchland’s expansion was unveiled during Franck Muller’s annual World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie (WPHH), and comprises two new buildings that will eventually integrate all the stages of watchmaking, such as conception, assembling, case manufacturing and engraving. With over 16,000 sq m of floor space, the expansion will enable 450 craftsmen and employees to be accommodated on the site. One of the buildings will take over the production of components formerly undertaken at a facility in Meyrin.

Novelties shown at WPHH are still full of play. The Cintree Curvex Remember doesn’t just have numerals printed in reverse order; its hour and minute hands move in a similarly counter-clockwise manner. It is offered in white or rose gold, or stainless steel, and in two sizes. The aforementioned Crazy Hours also makes its debut in the Vanguard collection, with applied numerals in various bright colours randomly scattered around the dial.

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The newly expanded Watchland; a Cintree Curvex Remember model in rose gold; and a Vanguard Crazy Hours watch in forged carbon.
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The much-anticipated Nivachron balance spring, which combines the anti-magnetic properties of silicon with the malleability of a metal alloy, has finally been introduced in the Swatch Flymagic.
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One can always count on classic brands to execute simple dress watches with aplomb. Breguet has had a lot of experience with that, as seen in this new reference of the Classique. There’s not a lot on the dial of the Ref. 5177 – just rhodium-plated numerals, centrally mounted hands and a tiny date window at three o’clock – leaving more room to admire the deep blue of the grand feu enamel dial, achieved by firing it at 800 deg C. The automatic Calibre 777Q boasts a silicon hairspring, escape wheel and pallet fork, with a 55hour power reserve. The 38mm watch is cased in white gold.
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The overlapping figure-eight dials of Jaquet Droz’s Grande Seconde design has been a brand signature for a while now, going through one variation after another over the years. The brand’s 280th anniversary last year brought about arguably its most daring iteration, the skeletonised and dial-less Grande Seconde Skelet-One. First offered in black ceramic, white gold or rose gold cases, it returns this year with new colours. The Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic Black and Blue looks just as you’d expect from its name, with its blue and rhodium-plated parts enhancing the watch’s high-tech look. Still powered by the JD2663.SQ, the twin-barrel movement with silicon balance beats at 4Hz and offers a power reserve of 68 hours.
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For all its innovations in the field of high-tech ceramics, it’s easy to forget that Rado does make watches out of other materials. The Tradition Captain Cook MKII Automatic Limited Edition is the latest example in steel, and an update of last year’s titanium Tradition Captain Cook MKIII Automatic. As expected of a watch based on a historical reference, the MKII has enough stylistic nods to keep vintage enthusiasts satisfied, including a chunky box-style sapphire crystal, red and white accents for the rotating inner ring and a seven-link bracelet. It’s still a dive watch, so it has a respectable water-resistance of 220m.