Besides the light-weight titanium middle and the noble-looking rose gold bezel, the new Franc Vila FVa35 SuperSonico 5-Minute Repeater automatic watch also sports a case-back cover made of Lightnium: a light and stiff alloy of aluminum and lithium, which is widely used in aerospace and watchmaking business. While, when it comes to such small objects as timepieces, the problem of structural rigidity may not be as serious as it is often the case with parts of jet engines, it is still nice to have your wristwatch to be crafted from such a rare material.
Equipped with their FV35 automatic movement, the new watch offers not only traditional hours, minutes and seconds display, but also sports a five-minute repeater mechanism.
The repeater is programmed in such a fashion so that one of its gongs chimes the hours and another –with the double-strike– chimes five-minute intervals.
As far as I understand, Franc Vila still doesn’t have a truly in-house mechanism in their product range: they normally use ETA-sourced ebauches and modify the living soul out of them making the movements quite difficult to recognize, especially when hidden behind layers of synthetic sapphire and all sorts of prints and engravings. The only thing that I can say here that, per usual, the movement is painstaking and absolutely impeccably finished by a skilled hand of an artisan and is equipped with an exclusively decorated Franc Vila Gold Concept winding rotor that, too, looks deliciously different (some may even find it amazing and, from where I stand, will be absolutely right about it.)
Predictably, as it is almost always the case with timekeepers that sport open-worked dials, when it comes to legibility, the watch is less than stunning. While looking decisively striking from purely esthetics point of view, the SuperSonico’s skeletonized dial doesn’t seem to be particularly legible.
The reason for that is not that only the black “frame” of the baseplate as well as one of the gears are made in black-pigmented “lightnium” alloy. Alone, these matt black-finished parts could probably look even better if the hands were finished in something more contrasting. Yet, the indicators are treated with the same black pigment (they look powder-coated to me) making it pretty difficult to discern their reading when the lighting is anything but perfect.
Yes, I understand that this is a fashion watch, but it is still primarily a watch and its owner should rightfully expect the gadget to tell time in most situations without him (or her) putting any extra effort trying to guess what time it is know precisely.
Coming in the signature Esprit Unique style, the figure eight-shaped dial with its figure eight-shaped chapter ring and solid Arabic numerals that seem to be applied directly to the sapphire crystal also doesn’t make the task of reading time any easier.
However, if you are mostly interested in the minute repeater complication or simply crave something unique, then the new Franc Vila FVa35 SuperSonico wristwatch may really be a good choice provided that the five-figure price stick is not an issue.
Photos: Franc Vila
Franc Vila FVa35 SuperSonico 5-Minute Repeater automatic watch specification
Price: Approx. $40,000 USD
Movement: Automatic, Caliber FV35, Lightnium bridges, hand-finished, modified in-house, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Exclusive Franc Vila Gold Concept rotor
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, minute repeater
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Titanium, Lightnium
Bezel material: Rose gold
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: N/A
Lug width: N/A
Case height: N/A
Dial: Skeletonized, blacked-out
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black crocodile leather strap with folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire, antireflective