No complication underscores independent watchmaker Franck Muller’s irreverent, audacious spirit like the one that powers the Crazy Hours — a unique jumping hours movement that remains an icon in the industry 15 years after it was conceived. And when you meet the flamboyant Franck Muller himself, who came up with the idea for the watch while on holiday in Mauritius, it actually makes perfect sense. Of Italian and Swiss ancestry, Muller cut his teeth on restoring high-complication watches before setting out on his own, combining technical mastery with an inimitable flair for style and design.
For the uninitiated, the Crazy Hours gets its name from this collection’s unconventional manner of telling time, designed to express the passing of hours and minutes as an abstract construct. On the dial, the numerals are not displayed in order, so when you read the time, the hour is determined purely by the hand’s position, while the minute hand follows a traditional 60-minute cycle.
The complication that powers the Crazy Hours watch comprises a jumping hour module and an automatic movement. While the hour hand jumps to point to the correct hour numeral, the minute hand revolves around the dial in the zero to 60 minute rotation. Although the hour numerals seem randomly placed, there is a method to this apparent madness — each subsequent number is placed at an approximately 120° arc away from the preceding number.
The Crazy Hours has enjoyed an enduring popularity over the years, despite many assumptions that something so ostensibly trend-driven would die a quiet death once its novelty wears off. Therein lies Franck Muller’s stock-in-trade as a watchmaker — not only have fans been continually enamoured by the sheer engineering that brought the watch to life, but also its generous use of colour, both on the dial and in the leathers used for the straps.
In celebrating the Crazy Hours’ 15th anniversary, Franck Muller pulled out all the stops in spectacular fashion, blowing out the candles in Singapore with an extravagantly dizzy party befitting the collection. The event was attended by over 500 guests, including Muller himself, COO Nicholas Rudaz and executive director of Franck Muller Asia Kingston Chu.
The cavernous space where the party was held, which in daylight hours operates as a soundstage, was transformed into a multifaceted wonderland for guests to explore five stunningly Instagrammable rooms, each boasting its own numerically themed photo-wall in the spirit of the Crazy Hours collection. The first pit-stop was the FM Lounge, set against cream walls with arched doorways that resemble the façade of Franck Muller Watchland, the brand’s Genevois headquarters. It was also where guests got to pore over a selection of Crazy Hours models released over the years, including special edition ones for Asia launched in conjunction with the anniversary celebrations.
Sold at its 23 boutiques and select watch retailers across the region, the Asia exclusive collection is available in 40 combinations. The watches’ sunburst blue or grey dials are injected with shots of colour: the five-minute markers on the inner flange sport green, red, blue, and black tones, which in turn, are complemented by matching leather straps. The cases are further presented in stainless steel, stainless steel with diamonds, rose gold, or rose gold with diamonds, and in three sizes for both men and women. Gorgeous!
The evening became appropriately crazier with the unveiling of the five themed party spaces, beginning with the 27/4 Diner, which turned the concept of the all-night party meal on its head. After a display of heavy lunch dishes like burgers and sandwiches, breakfast fare like pancakes, waffles and a collection of cereals closely followed, after which suppertime snacks were served. It may have been mealtimes at their most topsy-turvy, but it was a great foil for all the champagne that was freely flowing.
Then there was Midnight Jacuzzi, a swanky bar area replete with its own bathtubs that served bespoke tipples and craft beers. In The Mood For Sweets was a dessert paradise full of delectable and gorgeous sugary treats that doubled up as art installations, such as cake pops suspended from the ceiling and doughnuts arranged on a wall.
Just as you thought things couldn’t get any better, the final party space, aptly themed Birthday Bash On Overdrive, was revealed in the centre of the room. From an illuminated bar in the shape of the iconic Cintrée Curvex case, sparklers and confetti guns went off as champagne and cupcakes flowed freely. “There is only one way to celebrate the journey of the iconic Crazy Hours collection, and that is to create an overload of fun and irreplaceable memories. The Crazy Hours is emblematic of Franck Muller’s creativity, boldness and constant need to challenge the status quo, and I think this 15th anniversary party conveys that spirit really well,” commented Chu, who is also vice-chairman and managing director of luxury timepiece retailer Sincere Fine Watches.
The merriment continued in KL the following week with an intimate breakfast to unveil the Asia-exclusive collection for the second time, followed by yet another glitzy party — a timely reminder of Franck Muller’s irreverent spirit and enduring, evergreen sense of fun.
This article first appeared on Mar 26, 2018 in The Edge Malaysia.