The Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 I have long considered not a grail, but rather a myth, really. Not that I have ever looked for it specifically, but I have never stumbled upon it anywhere online, other than when featured with the company’s official photos. Meanwhile, as years passed, We have in fact worn and/or noticed in the wild most all of the craziest watches the horological world has managed to bring to this world. The actual Aeternitas Super 4 was, however , nowhere to be seen - at least in those parts of the world which i frequented. The particular Miraculous Encounter happened all of a sudden on the last day of our SIHH 2018 trip this January, whenever this watch just… appeared. I was baffled, but not bewildered enough to miss calling first dibs before proceeding to take hands-on pictures of this beast myself. Here’s how the Aeternitas Huge 4 looked and felt like in actuality.
First, the basics of the complexities. 36 complications, 23 indications via 18 hands and 5 discs, 1, 483 components, 99 jewels, 91 wheels (! ), 7 pushers as well as 4 correctors, five years of planning and also, reportedly, a full year in order to assemble… Oh, and a price tag of around $2. seven million. These are the figures the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 shocked the world with at the end of 2009 -- even if timepieces with well over 1, 000 components had existed before it.
I would like to clarify that the level of complexity in a view can be measured in more than a handful different ways - from component count through number of complications, signals, complexities along with novelty-factor of indications, durability, level in addition to complexity associated with decorations and so on. Therefore , I will not call this the most complicated actually - although it was widely regarded as such at the time of its launch : because it is the claim easy to undermine by mentioning other watches that are, in their own right, just as worthy of probably the most superb regarding superlatives. Another important thing to consider is how the Aeternitas Mega four has 36 complications however “””only“”” 23 indications. This is because, as you are getting to see from the list below, the list involving complications includes mechanical difficulties that render a feature more complex/different than it basically would be, hence adding to the total figure connected with complications rapid but not always to the amount of indications (e. g. flying tourbillon counts as two because it is any tourbillon that is of the “flying” arrangement lacking upper bridge holding this down).
Let us now entertain ourselves with a full list of functions plus complications inside the Franck Muller Aeternitas Ultra 4 instructions keeping in mind that this is coming from a hard-to-find, recognized Franck Muller document through the time with launch, not fished from your interweb.
Typically the FM3480 QPSE is the all you can eat buffet for fine horological industry complications. Often the movement is actually 34. 40mm wide, forty-one. 40mm tall and a whopping 13. 65mm thick. In other words, the movement is about the same size as a small , tonneau dress enjoy all cased up aid except for the fact that it is much, much heavier. I must say, I’m slightly disappointed that Franck Muller didn’t add the entire listing of complications within letters to the name from the caliber instant Patek style - as I would have loved to see an FM3480 QPSETCWCHRPEGMTARMFBPRDRGSPSSC! Talk about missed opportunities!
The fun begins when you are handed the watch and first feel the weight. The exact 18ct white gold Cintrée Curvex 8880 case is 42mm wide, 61mm long, and even 19. 15mm thick. The weight is absolutely immense and yet, it feels great in a strange, inexplicably awkward way. I’m sure you’ve had the experience when you may have been wearing a watch for long together with, for a moment, you sort of forgot you had it on and ended up shaking your hand inside panic to determine whether or not there was a watch still wrapped about your arm. Well, I don’t think some sort of sane mind - or even a severely intoxicated one, for that matter - could ever disregard the feeling this see provides on the wrist. It’s so heavy and intimidating that you are constantly aware of it is thickness (not to bump it into things) and its weight… It is the watch-equivalent of The Mountain’s unnecessarily large broadsword tutorial that’s a Game of Thrones reference you are invited to be able to disregard, imagine of a big ass sword.
You realize fun has just elevated to a whole other level once you spin your hand wrist away from you. Hand on heart, I can say I was shocked (and wildly amused) at this sight for two reasons: 1) I use never seen a watch using the proportions of a sausage dog on my wrists and 2) the watch experienced so secure and weirdly comfortable within the wrist i just simply wasn’t expecting to see this sort of height associated with that. It literally is a trick on the thoughts when you switch your band wrist away from a person and discover the thickness - I did the idea countless times and every time as the flat, OK-looking call started spinning away from me, I could sense my mind panicking as it struggled to understand what it was looking at. It’s absolutely insane.
The very Cintrex situation is a stellar piece of design, and I must commend Franck Muller on their choice of this particular hand-sewn alligator strap and a tang buckle. On a scale of 1 for you to 10 with regard to wearability, I had been - let me admit, not really without reason - expecting the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega several to score about 1, what about a generous 2… But the integration of the strap (it meets the case up high and deep into the lugs, basically shackling this monster of a observe onto the actual wrist) as well as its choice of a supple, but strong alligator material meant I never once had a feeling that the look at wants to summersault off my wrist any time I raised a fork or sipped from a glass - we saw this timepiece during lunch. It sensed as safe around the wrist as the top 10% about watches out there, which is probably the biggest secret/surprise of this check out.
On the picture above, you can see this ~1 pound (that’s a guesstimate) watch sitting flush against my hand, even in a new vertical position. The watch was not dragging down itself close to my arm - nah, rather, it was pulling the entire arm. All this is to say that with intelligently picked drill-points for the strap’s spring bars a watch with ab-friggin-solutely gargantuan proportions can be held comfortably and securely around the wrist. This is just a heads-up to luxury desk diver’s watches, along with all the others: if this monster can sit fine around the wrist, you have no excuse not to be fantastically comfortable every time, all the time.
I encourage everyone to try to decide on their own which side of the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega some is more insane. The face, with its eighteen hands as well as 5 disks, or the case-back with its degree 9000 maze of cams, wheels, gears, plates, links, and so on. Strangely, the only real possibility of easy-reading issue in the dial comes from the poorly AR-coated curved crystal -- I understand bent crystals usually reflect your wider field of scene on what’s behind/above the wearer on the watch… But I don’t think I could ever before get a totally (or close to it) clear look at the entire dial at the same time. The signs are laid out very wisely with a smart use of blue and red making the different indications super easy to distinguish. I am going to not even try to describe where everything will be on the watch dial - please just refer to the chart shared about the previous page to identify the individual functions.
The main caseback view from afar is remarkably clean. Although I am sure you can have the white gold or platinum frame with the sapphire caseback engraved along with personal texts or show-off engravings of some of the watch’s specs, I think the vertically brushed piece frames the particular super busy movement within a rather classy way. This particular example, though it definitely impressed me with its visual complexness, showed to have lived a good somewhat harder life: this specific piece had been presented through someone in the brand and so, from the symptoms of wear for the movement, I’ll go out on a limb and also say that this particular piece must have been disassembled and re-assembled many times already. Given that this is not a customer’s piece, typically the manufacture can do whatever they want with it and not spend hours (or days) cleaning every last little scratch or grime from hundreds of pieces that are upon show in the caseback’s part - so this, in my book, and since this specific wasn’t the event or even showing of your watch, is decent.
With that note made, often the sheer idea behind the exact movement is usually mind-boggling to say the least… And to notice this many tiny, 3-dimensional, CNC-cut (and not stamped) pieces come together on a caseback is a sit back and watch lover’s dream, for sure. I could barely suppose the time and effort that is required to CAD design, machine, check, device again, refine, decorate, assemble and perhaps further clean up this kind of many individual pieces. The result is like some Lange Double Split on the lot of along with particularly powerful steroids: everywhere you look, you see parts, cameras, wheels, each with their personal dedicated function that in turn are linked to something else.
I believe Franck Muller should make a sapphire cased version of the as soon as possible : if they are seriously interested in showing that watch off and selling more of the item. On a final note regarding all these problems that I believe everyone should keep in mind: We didn’t try 95% belonging to the complications in this watch i really can’t comment on how they work… Honestly, I possess no idea, not statistical data on this, yet I would become shocked if all the difficulties on a watch with this level of complexity consistently functioned well at the same time… and I would be quite as shocked if the watch’s owner actually realized… But you know what? As much as a sacrilege this may seem to state, I don’t consider asking the following watch to work well for an extended period is an unreasonable request. As far as I’m concerned, and you may disagree, if any brand could show me a wrist watch that experienced all their functions working at a unitary moment, Would consider that a superb achievement - nevertheless that would not lead me personally to expect them to work constantly. If you think honestly, that is a low bar of expectations, I guess you might be yet to get a good idea to the incomprehensible complexity that the interaction between hundreds and hundreds of parts impose.
So , in essence, what was it all like to see the Franck Muller Aeternitas Brilliant 4 at its surprise appearance? Refreshing. After a full week of mostly lukewarm, retro-nonsense SIHH 2018, this Franck Muller-style middle finger right in the face of view conservatism has been amusing, fascinating, and in truth, a big one off the Horological Bucket List.
I am certainly happy to see that the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 5 actually exists and I ended up being positively surprised by the sensible and thoughtful design of it has the strap in addition to strap incorporation, wearability, dial layout, and the stark contrast between these and the weight, thickness, and that shiny-ghastly curled crystal. It’s a tour de force which, at the same, is also sort of the parody within the genre that it was designed to, ehm, consummate.