Just in time to herald the impending Year of the Rabbit, Franck Muller and Tokyo-based streetwear label #FR2 have jointly unveiled the #FR2NCK MULLER Vanguard. This marks the first collaboration between the two brands, and sees Franck Muller adopting the distinctive design language of #FR2 on its trademark Vanguard watch. The result is an edgy, fashion-forward timepiece with a dial anchored by #FR2’s iconoclastic rabbit motif, sitting amid the signature numerals and tonneau case of Franck Muller.
The #FR2NCK MULLER Vanguard bridges Swiss luxury watchmaking and Japanese street fashion by melding the elements from each universe, complete with its creators’ signature touches. This is immediately apparent on the dial, where Franck Muller’s timeless yet avant-garde aesthetic has taken on street style sensibilities. A matte white dial base starts things off by establishing a high key aesthetic, upon which black hands, markings, and appliqué indices lie.
The high contrast, monochromatic look comes complete with a delightful quirk at seven o’clock. Here, Franck Muller has situated #FR2’s provocative Fxxking Rabbits motif in lieu of hour markers, with one rabbit’s red eye providing the sole spot of colour on the dial. In the dark, the #FR2NCK MULLER Vanguard also offers an idiosyncratic twist. Super-Luminova has been selectively applied such that the skeletonised obelisk hands, indices and graphical motif leap out from the dial in the absence of light.
The stark, bold design extends to the rest of the watch. This includes Franck Muller’s tonneau-shaped Vanguard case, which has been rendered in a new carbon and glass fibre composite – a first for the brand, and one that will be reserved for Southeast Asia-exclusive models only. To create the light yet strong material, carbon powder and glass fibres are combined, before the resulting mass is impregnated with a bonding resin. The mixture is then baked at 150 degrees Celsius for three hours under 200 tons of pressure, to finally yield a composite that can then be machined into the necessary components. Due to random variations in how the mix are compressed, every watch case will offer a unique pattern of striations. The final touch here is the white nylon strap, which has been emblazoned with black text in a typographic style that will be familiar to street fashion aficionados.
Franck Muller’s work with #FR2 is a rare example of the Swiss watchmaker’s collaboration with external brands, which has been limited to a small, select group of partners. “#FR2’s founder Ryo Ishikawa isn’t just an iconic figure in Tokyo’s streetwear scene,” shares Sharon Lim, CEO of Franck Muller SEA. “As the creative force behind Fxxking Rabbits, he has adopted a muti-disciplinary approach to his label’s creations while maintaining a fiercely independent spirit. These are values that we believe in and identify with at Franck Muller, which makes this Southeast Asia Exclusive a natural collaboration. Of course, the product that we have come up with speaks to that.”
The #FR2NCK MULLER Vanguard is a limited edition of 800 pieces, and will be available across Southeast Asia and Australia from 6 January 2023.