Architect-turned-watch designer Jean-Loup Glénat on Franck Muller's 2019 novelties

The Swiss watchmaker's head of design talks about his challenges and design philosophies.

Glénat is inspired by the freedom of the Franck Muller brand (All photos: Franck Muller)

You trained as an architect — how has that given your work at Franck Muller an edge?
My university curriculum allowed me to awaken and cultivate a strong interest in architecture — whether classical, modern or more contemporary. With relatively similar issues, such as volumetry, brightness, durability and innovation, the bridges between watchmaking and architecture were created naturally.

What is the defining spirit of Franck Muller’s 2019 novelties?
In 2019, Franck Muller perpetuates the tradition of presenting innovative and unique pieces. For example, we have presented a collection dedicated to Asia, combining the ingenuity of the iconic Crazy Hours complication with the modern aesthetic of the Vanguard collection. The Vanguard Racing brings a hint of motoring sportiness to the collection. On the other hand, we continue our journey into the nautical universe with the Yachting Anchor Skeleton model, which marries the elegance of marine symbols with the complexity of a manufactured mechanism with a power reserve display.

What is the one watch you have designed for the maison that you are most proud of, or that has been most challenging?
There are a lot … but one of my favourites is the Vanguard Seven Days. I love its balance between simplicity and complexity, strength and lightness, elegance and sportiness. The timepiece is the result of a long and rich collaboration between the technical and the design departments.


The Vanguard Seven Days power reserve skeleton is Glénat's favourite

There have been a good number of women’s watches launched this year by the maison. Do you have a philosophy that you subscribe to when designing women’s watches?
The female client has always been very important to the brand. Indeed, women represent almost half of our clientele. You can partly explain this with the femininity and singularity of Franck Muller collections, such as the Galet, Cintrée Curvex or Vanguard. For me, the woman who wears a Franck Muller watch is one who values her choices, her differences, and most of all, her independence. Designing for her really encourages us to push the limits of our creativity.

What inspires you most about the Franck Muller brand?
What inspires me most about Franck Muller is the freedom of the brand, which constantly challenges limits with a beautiful disregard for rules. Franck Muller offers a free, self-assured and uncomplex vision of haute horlogerie, while still cultivating the tradition and know-how that the brand was built upon.


This article first appeared on Nov 18, 2019 in The Edge Malaysia. ​


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