Franck Muller adds the art of Damascus steel to their Vanguard collection. Featuring the highly respected metal not only in the case, but artfully weaved into the entire watch, including the dial.
Press Release information with commentary in italics.
New: Franck Muller Vangard Damas and Vanguard Damas Racing
The new Franck Muller Vangard Damas retails for SGD17,900 and Vanguard Damas Racing has a retail of SGD 34,200 . Both prices inclusive of GST.
The Vanguard collection is a more sporty variant of the classic Franck Muller Cintree collection. Intended for a younger audience , it features the same curvex shape, but designed with a more rugged and sailing attitude. The collection is very large, with some 60 SKUs. The recent 2FR collaboration was a sign that the Franck Muller watches have found a newer, younger audience than ever. And now with this novelty, we think Franck is once again pushing what is possible.
The novelties use Damascus steel as a base for the case as well as for elements on the dial. While still not a material which is the norm for watches, we have seen magnificent explorations by small independents like GoS Watchs. The material is interesting and complicated in that it is made by folding steel onto itself multiple times, stacked into many layers. The meterial is then cut to expose the layers. In its traditional use in Japanese Samurai swords, the layers are made very thin for superior strength. But from what we can see on the Vanguard, two types of steel are used adjacent to each other, and each beaten to a thickness of perhaps a few milimeters. The steel is then cut at an angle to make the case, the striations of the layers show up very beautifully on the surface of the case. Further, Franck Muller subjects the pattern to an acid bath. This creates ridges and valleys on adjacent layers. Running one’s fingers along the surface of the case bezel, one can feel the striations which feel like contours cut on the surface. Quite tactile, and a rather satisfying feel.
The material is also used on the dial to create unique looking dials. Two models are offered in this release. A base model known as the Vanguard Damas, which is a HMS watch with date, and a Vanguard Damas Racing, which features a skeletonised movement and a more agressive blackened look on the dial. Both are delivered with Grosgrain leather strap with Damascus steel folding buckle.
Pushing boundaries in the fine craft of metallurgy, Franck Muller extends its Vanguard collection with a brand new material, Damascus steel, inspired by the ancient art of Samurai sword fighting.
As the names suggests, Damascus steel originated from the Middle East, from the city of Damas in Syria, where the first Damascus steel blades were produced. Over the years, this innovative steel known for its incredible strength has spread throughout the world.
Thanks to a technical and high-quality alloy, the Vanguard Damas is made of austenitic and non- magnetic stainless steel, allowing the movement to function unhindered. This new material is the combination of two types of stacked steels, creating different layers. This process is protected by an international patent which also offers a very high resistance to shocks and leaves no possibility for impurities.
Damascus steel is a material that can be shaped as desired. The Vanguard Damas case and dial are both cut out of single blocks of Damascus steel. Requiring a special process that Franck Muller has mastered in-house, its striated pattern is naturally revealed when immersed in an acid bath for ten minutes (the case) or five minutes (the dial), giving rise to a unique timepiece that is visually unlike any other in terms of design.
The Vanguard Damas is available in a basic three-hand model, as well as in a Vanguard Damas Racing variation, which combines the edginess of Damascus steel with the sportiness of the Vanguard Racing Skeleton.
Tantalisingly openworked, the Vanguard Damas Racing has been skeletonised to a refined depth, revealing elaborate architecture and complex inner workings, fronted by numerals cut individually out of Damascus steel as well. Within its sleek Damascus steel case lies an intricately skeletonised date disc, stripped down to leave only bold angular outlines of single numerals, as well as a 60- second counter subdial in the middle.
With its spectacular case and dial or dial numerals fully made of Damascus steel, the technological know-how that goes into each piece of the Vanguard Damas is on full display. Both variations are complemented by a sleek black grosgrain leather strap. Every detail is thought through, right down to the buckle, which is also made of Damascus steel.