At Franck Muller, It’s Always About Pushing Boundaries: Nicholas Rudaz

In a conversation with GMT India, Franck Muller CEO Nicholas Rudaz speaks about the brand’s innovative spirit, plans for India, and more
At Franck Muller, It’s Always About Pushing Boundaries: Nicholas Rudaz
June 26, 2024
At Franck Muller, It’s Always About Pushing Boundaries: Nicholas Rudaz

Franck Muller's latest collection is marked by its unique design, remarkable complications, and vibrant colourways, reflecting the brand's commitment to pushing watchmaking boundaries. The iconic Color Dreams range showcases their pioneering use of bright hues while feats like the Grand Central Tourbillon highlight the brand’s inventive spirit. Balancing a rich history with a forward-looking approach, Franck Muller continues to innovate through unique collaborations and strategic expansions in markets like India. In a conversation with GMT India, CEO Nicholas Rudaz shared more details about the exciting new developments. Excerpts from the interview:

What is the common thread that ties together this year’s novelties?

For us, it’s always about pushing watchmaking boundaries, both in terms of design and complications. This has been Franck Muller’s driving force since the very beginning and it continues to stay that way. You can see it very clearly in the new collection. As always, the new timepieces have remarkable complications, innovative designs, and vibrant colourways.

The emphasis on colours is striking indeed. Tell us more about the brand’s equation with colours.

Franck Muller pioneered the use of bright colours in watches, thanks to the Color Dreams range. Soon after, incorporating vibrant hues into watches turned into a trend that has been widely admired and imitated. In fact, our evening gala at World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie  this year, called “Viva Colores”, paid homage to the vibrancy that defines Franck Muller.

Integrating the tourbillon into the centre of the Grand Central Tourbillon is quite a feat. How did the brand manage to achieve that?

It was hugely complex, of course, especially so because it entailed integrating it into a curved timepiece. Crafting curved watches, due to the unique contours, is extra challenging in the first place. Incorporating a tourbillon into one is even harder. Our watchmakers came up with an ingenious solution centred around microbead mechanisms that enabled the seamless movement of hands around the central tourbillon. Our Grand Central Tourbillon range also includes the new skeleton variant for which we had to redesign and remanufacture everything in-house.

Franck Muller has a rich history combined effortlessly with an innovative spirit. How does the brand maintain this balance?

It has always been natural for us. Back in the day, Franck was the only watchmaker creating complications at such a high level, no other brand was doing so. At the age of 15-16, he excelled at the watchmaking school in Geneva. Within a year there, he was adjudged the best pupil and won a Rolex as a prize. While most 16-year-olds would keep it for the rest of their lives as a cherished item or sell it right away, Franck disassembled the Rolex, added complications, and sold it at a premium. He continued creating similar watches during his student years. In fact, Jay-Z purchased one of these to add to his collection. This sense of innovation and ingenuity has remained a central force in the brand’s spirit since then. 

Collaborations such as the one with Ryoko Kaneta for the Lunar New Year collection add an exciting dimension to the brand’s offerings. Can we expect more such partnerships in the recent future?

Absolutely. Collaborations like the Year of the Dragon collection exemplify our commitment to uniqueness. We cherish partnerships that infuse fresh perspectives into our creations, ensuring each piece tells a distinct story.

With the market in Asia, including India, on a steady upward rise, what can Indian collectors expect from the brand?

India’s market is growing in a very big way and it holds immense potential for us. Collaborating with icons like Ranveer Singh has significantly bolstered our presence. Moving forward, we're committed to strengthening our bond with Indian collectors. They appreciate the design and quality of our watches because they’re different and they stand out, so we look forward to introducing more such timepieces.

Any plans for enhancing retail presence in India?

Certainly. I couldn’t make it to the launch of our last exclusive edition but I hope to come to India myself in due course. Our esteemed partners in India, like Kapoor Watch Co. Time Avenue, The Helvetica, Rose The Watch Bar who have been with us from the start, play an instrumental role in growing the Franck Muller brand in the country. We aim to further enrich the retail experience for Indian connoisseurs.

Image Credits: Franck Muller