The Watch Expert's Guide: H For Haute Horlogerie


July 28, 2017 | BY Celine Yap

The A-Z of luxury watches: Discovering the world of high complications at Franck Muller. 


The crème de la crème of watchmaking, haute horlogerie is the subject of every watch connoisseur’s dream. But contrary to popular belief, this category of timepieces is not restricted to complications like minute repeaters, perpetual calendars, rattrapante chronographs, and feats of high watchmaking like tourbillons.

 (Related: How do you start your first watch collection?)

These are, of course, the classical bastions of haute horlogerie and require very high levels of watchmaking expertise to master but some watches that are seemingly simple can also be works of haute horlogerie. They include skeletonisation, ultra-thin movements, and even regular time-only watches that have been hand-finished and decorated inside out. Chronographs, too, are regarded as creations of haute horlogerie because a beautiful, traditional, precise, and well-regulated timekeeper is exceedingly difficult to produce.

Some watchmakers seek to continually raise the bar in high watchmaking and Franck Muller is one prominent example. This independent maison started out making only complicated watches, premiering never-before-seen complications and combinations of complications year after year.

(Related: The Watch Expert's Guide: A For Aeternitas)

As a matter of fact, it was Franck Muller who in the 1990s first made a wristwatch with the tourbillon on the dial side, giving pride of place to this awe-striking mechanism. Since then, it has created several renditions of the tourbillon including the world’s largest in the Giga Tourbillon, the world’s smallest in the Ladies Tourbillon, and the world’s fastest in the Thunderbolt Tourbillon.

(Related: The Watch Expert's Guide: Discover The Jargon So Far

Related Stories