Franck Muller captures opulence, innovation and exclusivity in revamped Pavilion KL boutique

Unique timepieces find their perfect match in a retail space that defines the brand.

CEO of Franck Muller Nicholas Rudaz (Photo: Low Yen Yeing/The Edge)

In the heart of Southeast Asia, Malaysia emerges as a thriving hub for luxury timepieces, attracting discerning consumers with a penchant for high-end watches. And in this dynamic landscape, the retail space becomes a crucial canvas to complement this appetite.

In the wake of refurbishing its Malaysian stand-alone boutique at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Franck Muller now boasts its flagship and largest boutique in Asia. The store has undergone significant transformation since opening its door in 2021. Now larger and swankier, the 1,887 sq m boutique exudes luxury, modernity and sophistication while staying true to the brand’s signature navy blue and signature gold accents.

When it comes to enticing shoppers to discover its world of timepieces, the one-of-a-kind curved LED screen on the façade captivates with its fascinating motion graphics, flaunting the craftsmanship that defines Franck Muller’s collection.

“First and foremost, the prime location plays a crucial role because it is one of the best spots in this mall, surrounded by other luxury brands. The angled big display is particularly advantageous for showcasing our luxury watches,” says Nicholas Rudaz, CEO of Franck Muller, who is on his first visit to the city since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The integration of the large screen not only enhances the exterior aesthetics but also provides visibility into the shop. This feature contributes to its overall appeal and uniqueness, allowing a glimpse of the interior from the outside.

“The ‘location, location, location’ mantra holds true. This concept aligns with Franck Muller’s new approach, introducing a fresh design and innovative presentation of its watches. The first boutique to adopt this concept opened at ION Orchard in Singapore a couple of years ago and another, with a similar yet more compact design, was launched in Bangkok last year.

“We take great pride in this new store design. It impeccably mirrors the essence of our brand, evident in various aspects of luxury, particularly through the carefully chosen textures and materials. It emphasises our commitment to being different, a characteristic synonymous with Franck Muller’s approach in the watch industry. The overall aesthetic is not only luxurious but also exudes a profound sense of elegance.”


The opening night of Franck Muller Pavilion KL was absolutely abuzz (Photo: Franck Muller)

The in-store tech is equally impressive, with an augmented and artistic display framed by champagne gold panels. Here, one can get lost in the bright pixels of the latest timepieces through cutting-edge holographic projections.

“This is impressive, isn’t it?” asks Rudaz as he takes Options on a quick tour around the store, pointing out various highlights, from the mirror-like reflections with warm tones that greet customers as they enter the boutique to the open-concept design.

“We’ve added a comfortable sofa on which guests can take their time to explore and fully engage with the brand. With the assistance of our sales associates, they are able to view the grand complications and high jewellery timepieces the brand is known for.”

These show-stopping timepieces are also presented in capsule-like displays around the boutique, creating an experience akin to a jaunt through the museum. This arrangement allows one to appreciate the craftsmanship and intricate details of each timepiece in a sophisticated setting. It is a place where aficionados and casual observers alike can indulge in the sheer beauty of Franck Muller creations.

There is also a dedicated space for its world-premiere timepieces such as Cintrée Curvex Crazy Hours, the brand’s most recognisable complication alongside Cintrée Curvex Revolution 2 that sports a double-axis tourbillon and the Vanguard Revolution 3 with a triple-axis tourbillon. Other noteworthy creations showcased in their glory are the Giga Tourbillon, the largest tourbillon in the world, and the Thunderbolt Tourbillon, the fastest tourbillon in the world at the time of its debut.

“This tourbillon achieves a remarkable feat, completing a full rotation in just five seconds by harnessing the power of nothing less than four barrels. It features an exclusive escapement mechanism, completely reversed from the traditional design. While this unconventional set-up demands more energy than a standard tourbillon, we’ve ingeniously integrated multiplying gears in the going train. This allows us to accelerate the tourbillon without compromising the integrity of the balance.”


From left: Ong Ban (CEO of Sincere Fine Watches), Sharon Lim (CEO of Franck Muller), Datuk Joyce Yap (Pavilion KL CEO - retail), Rudaz and Anna Lee (GM of Sincere Watch Sdn Bhd) Photo: Franck Muller

These exceptional watches truly transcend the ordinary to become works of art while elevating the whole experience of owning and appreciating a timepiece.

As we settle into the most exclusive feature of the refreshed boutique, a private lounge for collectors and VIP guests with a bar tucked behind a champagne gold door, Rudaz says he anticipates a significant enhancement to the overall customer experience.

“Not only is our store situated in a stunning and prime location but its spaciousness, the largest in Asia as previously mentioned, also provides ample room for navigation with an expanded collection display. These private rooms serve the dual purpose of facilitating a seamless sales process and hosting intimate events.”

This strategic approach serves to keep customers engaged, aligning with the primary objective. “The ambience evokes the feeling of a luxurious and comfortable home, allowing for the utmost attention to be dedicated to clients. With the watch community growing stronger, these private spaces cater to the trend of enthusiasts visiting boutiques collectively to deepen their understanding of timepieces. And this new boutique is designed just for that.”

There will be plenty of in-store events lined up for the year. “Since we are approaching the Lunar New Year, the next one after the grand launch of the boutique is the presentation of the special watch to commemorate the occasion.”

Crafted in collaboration with Japanese artist Ryoko Kaneta, the Cintrée Curvex Ryoko Kaneta Dragon Limited Edition presents a whimsical interpretation of the mythical dragon. The amalgamation of neoclassical elegance and the cuteness of anime-like girls playing peekaboo behind each numeral on the dial is totally unexpected and a departure from conventional design. Exclusively available in Asia-Pacific, this watch is part of a limited run of only 500 pieces.


The Cintrée Curvex Ryoko Kaneta Dragon Limited Edition (Photo: Franck Muller)

“We also have this wonderful Vanguard Dragon Slim Skeleton with a beautifully engraved movement, released in only 10 pieces,” Rudaz says as he shares a photo of the watch with a stunning dragon curled around the movement on the caseback.

Additionally, there is an exciting partnership in Dubai, where the brand is contributing to the world’s tallest residential building, the Franck Muller Aeternitas Tower, along with numerous exciting projects in Asia and other parts of the world.

Rudaz identifies two aspects of the brand that resonate with him: originality and complications. “Back in the day, during our initial presentation, we established a mantra centred on the brand’s approach to complications — something not done by anyone else. Franck Muller, renowned as the gentlest watchmaker, showcased his extraordinary skills early on. At the age of 15, while attending watchmaking school, he achieved the distinction of being the best student within a year, earning a Rolex watch as a prize.”

Rather than keeping or impulsively selling it, Muller demonstrated his genius by dismantling the Rolex and incorporating an additional complication, specifically a perpetual calendar. He then sold the modified watch at a premium, showcasing his innovative mindset even at 16. Today, the brand continues this legacy by producing unique pieces and remains at the forefront, crafting the world’s most complicated watches.


Also in attendance, Awal Ashaari and Scha Alyahya (Photo: Franck Muller)

Having served as CEO since 2021, how does Rudaz envision steering the brand forward while maintaining its position as an acclaimed independent watch company, with a focus on technical innovations and exclusive complications?

“The objective is to always push the boundaries of watchmaking by maintaining our high capacity for creation, both in terms of complications and designs,” he stresses. “We achieve this by listening to our distributors, who are close to the end clients and share with us some good ideas to develop for each market. We are also working on regional exclusives, especially in the Asia-Pacific market, to ensure desirability remains high.”

Rudaz, who joined as chief operating officer in 2007, says every day has its own highlight. “Contributing to the development of the world’s most complicated watch, the Aeternitas Mega 4, was indeed a major highlight for me and a wonderful project which took five years. Presenting our newest collection each year at our World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie is always a wonderful milestone marking each of my 16 momentous years at Franck Muller.”

Later that night, the new boutique was abuzz with KL’s most fashionable set and watch aficionados raising a toast to its grand opening while exploring the expanded space. As Rudaz, the man of the hour, graciously clinked champagne flutes with attendees, the revelry continued well into the night and ended on a high note. As it should.


Franck Muller CEO Nicholas Rudaz’s top tips for starting a watch collection:


Franck Muller Thunderbolt Tourbillon (Photo: Franck Muller)
  1. Collect watches for the pleasure of wearing a particular model, enjoying its complication and never for financial speculation. Follow your heart, not trends. 
  2. There are some exceptional old classical watches to be found at auctions. 
  3. Anyone who claims to be a watch collector should have the Franck Muller Thunderbolt Tourbillon in his or her collection. It is the world’s fastest tourbillon, making one full rotation every five seconds, 12 times faster than a regular tourbillon. Technically and aesthetically, it is astonishing.
  4. Always keep your watch collection for the next generation. 
  5. Go for unique pieces. This means looking out for special or limited editions or simply a less conventional watch that speaks to you.

This article first appeared on Feb 5, 2024 in The Edge Malaysia.


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