Now best known for its extravagant and occasionally provocative timepieces, Franck Muller tapped on a Japanese artist who specialises in manga-style paintings for the Cintrée Curvex Ryoko Kaneta Dragon Limited Edition. This collaboration, which will only be available at the brand’s stores in Asia, transforms the mythical beast into a playful character with doll-like features typical of Ryoko Kaneta’s work, with 12 dragons on a turquoise dial bearing the brand’s signature oversized Arabic numerals.
Unlike most dragon-themed watches that take themselves seriously, the Cintrée Curvex dragon edition leaves behind the traditional, regal portrayal of the creature as seen in Parmigiani’s automaton clock or the recent Breguet Classique. Instead it’s a fun timepiece that blends the trademark Franck Muller style with contemporary Asian art and a trendy colour palette.
A look through Ms Kaneta’s portfolio shows her aesthetic has been successfully ported over onto the watch, with the dragon characters sharing the manga-doll appearance of her characters. Unlike most character-theme collaborations that feature bold figures at the dial’s centre, the manga dragons are integrated into the numerals, evoking the traditional concept of dragons navigating through the clouds. That said, I would have liked Ms Kaneta to add her touch to the branding on the dial for a more complete visual makeover.
With a price of around US$13,400, this limited edition is somewhat pricey for a time-only watch with a basic movement, but it is line with Franck Muller’s usual pricing. That said, the aesthetic has a very-current appeal, and the distribution is limited, which helps rationalise the price.
A playful Cintrée Curvex
Ms Kaneta take on the Cintrée Curvex design itself apart from most dragon-themed timepieces with its subtle playfulness. Her art reflects her dual interests in Japanese pop culture and traditional East Asian ideas, which is also illustrated in the “dragons” on the dial. Depicted as doll-like characters, the dragons embrace the popular chibi style prevalent in Japanese anime and manga. Similar characters are found in most artworks of the millennial artist, making them a key part of her style.
The dragon characters on the dial are printed in black, white, and aqua blue lacquer, and positioned around each of the Arabic numerals. According to the brand, this motif was meant to convey a whimsical hide-and-seek effect, which required 12 layers of lacquer for the entire dial. Other design elements specific to this release is the turquoise finish on the radial, stamped guilloché as well as the artist’s name replacing the customary “CURVEX” inscription at six.
Except for the dial, the watch is identical to the compact Cintrée Curvex 3850, with its distinctive tonneau-shaped case and spade hands. One of several sizes intended for ladies, the 3850 case measures 32 mm by 45 mm and stands 9.35 mm high. Inside is the FM 2536-SC, an in-house movement with a bi-directional winding system and a relatively short 42-hour power reserve.
Key facts and price
Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex Ryoko Kaneta Dragon Limited Edition
Ref. 5850 SC RYOKO KANETA
Diameter: 45 mm by 32 mm
Height: 9.35 mm
Water resistance: 30 m
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Strap: Alligator strap with pin buckle
Limited edition: 500 pieces
Availability: Only at Franck Muller boutiques and retailers in Asia
Price: 18,000 Singapore dollars including 9% tax (equivalent to around US$13,400)
For more, visit Franckmuller.com
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