The Watch Expert's Guide: N For Numerals


August 18, 2017 | BY Celine Yap


The A-Z of luxury watches: What makes a Franck Muller so recognisable, even from afar? Apart from its distinctive tonneau shape, its bold choice of numerals.  

Whether in the Arabic or Roman style, the numerals of a timepiece are more often overlooked than obsessed over. Indeed, only a handful of watches in the luxury industry have paid much or any attention to this essential but underappreciated element, but those that do are rewarded by instant brand recognition.

Think Cartier’s Tank watch with its signature Roman numerals, or the playful Arabic numerals of Hermès’s Arceau, and Franck Muller’s bold and dazzling Art Deco-styled numerals. Each of these have come to be defined and identified by the design of their numerals.

The Art Deco-styled numerals of a Franck Muller timepiece do more than tell the time; they express the irrepressible spirit and flamboyant personality of the watches, as well as that of the man who makes them. With them, Franck Muller wants to challenge yet another conventional notion that luxury has to be soft, quiet, mild, hushed… in other words boring, predictable, plain, colourless. Some variations of the Cintrée Curvex or Long Island range also come with the Crazy Hours complication in the Colour Dreams style, so the watch not only has those big, bold Art Deco numerals, but they’re also jumbled up and painted in all colours of the rainbow—what a way to make a statement with your wrist.

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