For the new Franc Vila FVi17 Chrono Bicompax Intrepido automatic wrist watch, the Swiss-based watchmaker of Spanish origin ditches the signature “Esprit Unique” figure-eight dial design in favor of a more traditional elliptical one that somehow reminds me of the fabulous Audemars Piguet Millenary family of ultra-luxury wristwatches. Although with the new bezel shape the watch loses some of its identity, the heavy-weight mojo of the original Franc Vila timekeepers is still there.
As usual, the watch is presented in a defiantly oversized, oval-shaped body whole 50 millimeters in width and 42 millimeters in length. Thanks to the carefully chosen proportions of the case, the large gadget doesn’t actually occupy too much of your wrist’s width, instead using is length to draw extra attention to itself (and, of course, its proud owner.)
To make the huge timepiece feel lighter on a normal wrist, Franc Vila crafted its case from titanium adding to the mix their usual “DieHard Extreme Steel” bezel, which is currently available either in a combination of machine-brushed and polished surface, or is simply coated black to better match the black leather strap and the black dial.
Visually bonding the parts together, the young Spanish designer put lots of red accents both on the leather strap and the dial with all its hands, numerals and minute markers painted bright red. Only the “big date”-styled, arc-shaped calendar aperture and the triangular hour markers are white and silver-toned respectively.
Compared to their previous chronographs (like, say, the Franc Vila Franc Vila Chronograph Grand Date Cobra that, as you have already gathered, also featured a big date complication), the new watch features a simple (also trendier) bi-compax layout with a small seconds indicator conveniently placed at 3 hours and the 30-minute chronograph totalizer moved to 9 o’clock.
The display is powered by their Caliber FV17 automatic movement, which, as it is often the case with independent watchmakers, is based on a mass-produced job (the well-known ETA 2892-A2 ebauche), but is refinished and sports a brand-exclusive “Gold Concept Rotor” oscillating weight that features an off-centered gold medallion that, thanks to the added mass, makes winding of the watch more efficient.
As usual, the brand offers its products as limited edition models with a total production number divisible by eight. This particular Franc Vila FVi17 Chrono Bicompax Intrepido will be offered in a limited run of just 88 pieces.
Pricing still remains unknown, but I am pretty sure that the piece will be initially offered at a price higher than $20,000.*
*UPDATE ON PRICING: We have just received confirmation that the version in black and red Ti-DLC will be offered at a pretty steep price of $22,000, while the silver-coated Ti-DHES will bear a more affordable price tag of $18,000.
Photos: Franc Vila
Franc Vila FVi17 Chrono Bicompax Intrepido automatic watch specification
Price: $18,000 (Ti-DHES, MSRP) / $22,000 (Ti-DLC, MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber FV17 (based on ETA 2892-A2 ebauche), modified in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 21
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 40 hours
Movement decoration: “Gold Concept Rotor” oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, 30-minute chronograph
Case material: Titanium
Bezel material: DieHard Extreme Steel
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm x 50.00 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Black and red / Silver-toned and grey
Hour markers: Triangular
Hands: Steel, open-worked
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black rubber band or black leather strap with contrasting red stitching
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire