Franck Muller Chronograph
Arguably Franck Muller’s trademark complication in its early days. The double-face chronograph was inspired by 19th-century pocket watches, as much of Mr. Muller’s work was. This particular reference, 3870 NA DF, encapsulates everything the brand stood for back in its heyday.
The maverick Franck Muller was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the Mecca of watchmaking to an Italian mother and Swiss father. At age of 15, he left La Chaux-de-Fonds to enroll at the Ecole d’Horlogerie de Genève. The highly gifted, Muller, was able to disassemble and reassemble movements with particular ease and successfully graduated from watchmaking school in 1978. The state of the watch industry from 1970-1980s was at its nadir, due to the Quartz revolution. Franck Muller, gained a stellar reputation for being one of the most gifted watch restorers, proudly working on some of the most historically important pocket watches and wristwatches for leading auction houses. In addition, several of the pieces found at the Patek Philippe museum were restored by Franck Muller.
Subsequently, in 1991 Franck Muller and Vartan Sirmakes founded Franck Muller Watchland SA to which the Franck Muller “Master of Complications” brand belongs.
Nicolas Foulkes, an author, and authority on all things watches, interviewed Sir Elton John who encapsulated the dire state of men’s watches at the time …
“Men’s watches were nice but they were boring. Suddenly Franck enabled men to go forward to more daring watches. Franck was always concerned with the inside, but the outside was beautiful too and the dials of the watches used different colours, and different design styles.”
In a way, Franck Muller paved the way for others to follow suit.
The dial is a master class, usually, three register chronographs appear to be cramped and visually unpleasing due to the underlying movement. For the starters, the sub dials are sunken and feature golden chapter rings around them. The addition of concentric guilloche adds a further degree of depth to the sub dials. The sub dials found at both 3 and 6 o’clock are solely functional when the chronograph is activated, the sub dial found at 9 o’clock is used for the sweeping seconds. This is further distinguished by the contrasting blue steeled hands found on all three sub dials, note the 60 second sweeping hand features a prolonged hand. The middle of the dial features a satin-brushed finish, whereas the applied hour markers are placed onto a concentric guilloche ring. The dial’s periphery returns to the satin finish and features 5-minute intervals displayed in red.
The front of the watch features a classical and conventional chronograph, while the reserve dial contains a telemetre and tachymetre. Together they give the chronograph maximum functionality without cluttering the well-executed dial.
The vast majority of Franck Muller daube-faced chronographs are automatic and powered by the Valjoux 7750, with only a small minority relying on the manually-wound Lemania cal. 1873, the same calibre found in the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch.
Brand: Franck Muller
Model: 3870 NA DF
Movement: Lemania 1873
FM Case Diameter: 40 MM
Year: Circa 1998
Box and Papers: Full Set