Franck Muller copy adds life and energy to his classic Casablanca, now in the Vanguard collection.
When we first heard that Franck Muller was bringing his Casablanca model into the 21st century, we immediately thought of the 1998 Cintree Curvex model, which embodies everything that makes a watchmaker refreshing and exciting. After flipping through the books on this subject and doing a frantic search online, we learned that the new Frank Muller is actually a Vanguard series, and we have to start from scratch!
To be fair, the Vanguard (launched in 2013) is a 21st century iteration of the Cintree Curvex, so the brand might choose it over the traditional Cintree Curvex. The Vanguard is perhaps more sporty, open and enthusiastic than the typical quirky Cintree Curvex.
All in all, there are two time and date versions – one larger than the other – for the initial launch, but the manufacturer says there’s also a chronograph. The size of the three-hand watch makes the Franck Muller Vanguard Casablanca news to watch: the new stainless steel cases of 41mm and 43mm are firsts in the Vanguard collection and exclusive to Southeast Asia.
Garrik Low, general manager of replica Franck Muller Southeast Asia, explains the significance as follows: “We have developed a completely new case size with the brand’s unique style and code, which our collectors have long desired.” Proportionally, the Vanguard’s 43mm option is really good news, but we’ll get to that later.
To properly mine this model, the name Casablanca needs some explanation. Of course, this is a reference to the classic 1942 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman that inspired Franck Muller to conceive the original Cintree Curvex model complete with Art Deco figures. The original colorways of the models, such as salmon and sand, are clearly inspired by the aesthetics of the film (and also coincide with certain contemporary tastes). The young watchmaker went on to achieve bigger and better, and the company that bears his name took the elegance and luxury of watchmaking to a new level. For 2022, the Casablanca model returns, this time with all the advantages of a Vanguard design.
Cintree Curvex are all curves, and Vanguard adds lines that help make the biomorphic barrel design more flexible (as we cover in more depth here), and arguably more masculine. It can be said that the pioneer is the source of vitality for Cintree Curvex. This is a matter of opinion and we leave it to you to decide.
What’s certain here is the immediate appeal of the larger size and four new colorways (black, brown, salmon, and the boutique’s exclusive black-and-blue hue). Even more controversial will be the way the word Casablanca appears on the dial, although it’s worth remembering that it’s always been around, even in 1998. Another thing worth remembering is finding a way to try on the watch, as the Vanguard is a full size, larger version at 42.5mm x 52.7mm. It is 12.6mm thick. The smaller version is 41mm x 49.95mm and is 12.2mm thick. This watch has to be worn just right or the effect will be ruined.