The Royal Jewellers S01 ep17 : Franck Muller [Geneva]

Interview with Franck Muller

GENEVA- Franck Muller - Grand Master of Complications -genius watchmaker to the Stars.

I am able to imagine the individual parts and watch assembly in my mind - like a computer, without having to draw it or put it down on paper. I know the exact direction to take and what I have to do and I can design with my mind. This talent is extremely useful for antique watch restoration because when you see a movement, many of the parts are lost . You have to reinvent the missing parts, the mechanism and have parts made to the same specification as the original. You must match style, art and technology.


Franck Muller
I was a bad student but I was very good with my mind, my first choice was to
work with wood.

KM – Wood, as a craftsman?

To do the carpentry (I think) after this I chose to go into micro mechanics in

The people gave me this something to do; they gave me also the direction.
You can restore for Christie's or I don’t understand anything here - nothing at
all museum, important collector, so I go to the watchmaker's school.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

I have the vision in my mind, I work like a computer. I am able to do everything
without having to draw or put it down on paper. I know the exact direction to
take and what I have to do and I can make it with my mind. This talent was
extremely useful for the restoration, because when you see movement and
many parts are lost and you have to reconstruct the movement and you don't
know if you need a something. You have to reinvent the missing parts, the
mechanism and have them made in the same style of the original.

Initially you have to recognise the mechanism, looking at the method and the
style so as to recognise what this brand or this brand was doing, so you must
know the history. You must match style and art with the technology and this is
the big difficulty.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

At one point, I thought, why don't I do it myself? My brand and my watch,
because I am a watchmaker and to finally put the watchmaker back in the
spotlight. My feelings were right on target, because before I had even finished
the watch I had many collectors wanting to by the watch.

After this, if it is possible, you need a good design, basically the real collector.

KM – Is looking inside.

.. the real crazy the engineering, even the look of the watch have not, I can
say, that genius - basically you want classical. If the mechanical is good he
wants this also.

Jewellery Theatre Elements

My customers are usually those who are involved within the fashion industry. I
have many friends in the fashion area; I have many friends in architecture, in
the something, in the movie making industry, in the sports arena.

KM – Yes, but how do you know these people, how did you get to know them.

I know them because they want to see me they want to talk with me.

KM – Oh really?

Yes, and I have met many of my contemporaries.

When you are creative, the creative people are hungry, they eat, they eat.

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

KM – They want to take your creative energy?

..they need the energy and most of the time you have an attraction when there
is the energy.

KM – Yes

So I see people with energy, and they see me and it is….

KM – Bing!

Yes, bing. So we talk and it does not matter about what we talk after you come
together something special happens.

You know when I travel I meet people and each person gives me ideas and I
take that energy and thoughts spring into my mind but I see after I just have a
little something.

I was a good friend with Gianni Versace and one day he asked me something I
can't understand.

KM – Help me with my watches!

Yeah, and I remember when I went he was opening the new store in New York
and the house in New York and Elton John was there also, making the photo
book with Avardon

KM – Richard Avardon

Yes, the photographer and so there were many people there and when I
showed them first range I did for him, people were saying, 'Oh I like this, oh
change the colour" and so on. Everyone had their bits of advise on how they
would change this or that, and Versace said "Shut up, he has designed them
like this, and this is the way it must be done!" And effectively when I say we
are egotist in the creative, I can say we are also dictator. When I have the
people of the marketing area saying they want to do the catalogue, I do the
catalogue. And the spirit of dictator and egotist think… Gianni was like this
also. I have a friend who is an architect something I cannot catch in the world,
builds very large buildings everywhere in the world and when I talk with him he
understands me. He imagines the building and they way he wants it and for
some reason other people come …we have to do this because I don't know
the air-conditioning place we cannot put here, we have to put here. He starts to
compromise the vision. You come upset.

Why I made the Vegas Watch was because I was with Steve Wynn in Vegas
and you meet people and you travel and you get the ideas.

KM – So Steve Wynn was that his ideas?

No, it was not his idea but he put me upset because I was at dinner with Steve
Wynn and I say, "Hey Steve, tomorrow I go and play at the table and make me
win". And he looked at me very shocked like and he said "that is not very
possible what your are talking about'. I say hey you have… you are the boss -
everything is possible. You have the cameras everywhere, you can tell me how
much I lose everyday. So make me win - no it is not possible. So I it was a
joke, when we were together, I say if you cannot do I make the watch the
people choose the number they play. So the idea with the Vegas, so you push
the button so you put your energy, makes it turn around, and when you stop
you stop the something. But the something goes quick so you cannot decide
the number but still it is you.

KM – What is the most valuable watch you have ever restored?

The most valuable are the ones I make.

KM – Oh you actually made one. What is the most expensive watch?

It is the most complicated wristwatch in the world. It was the most complicated
in 1992 and the customer bought this one something in 1994 with the watch
and tell me somebody are very close now to make something.

KM – Better again.

Better, so we retake this watch and make much more complicated and still it is
the most complicated…

KM – How much is this watch?

It is insured for 4.5Million.