The recently presented Franc Vila Cuatro Tourbillon Dial-Side Column Wheel Monopusher Chronograph watch comes packed in a signature DieHard Extreme Steel case and features a hand-decorated automatic caliber with a painstakingly executed tourbillon escapement. While there are many purists out there who argue that the complication does little, if anything to make a timekeeper more precise, it is also quite clear that the extra component significantly increases the gadget’s appeal unambiguously differentiating the device from millions of other watches that are equipped with run-off-the-mill ETA mechanisms and offer nothing more than the usual chronograph and an expanded calendar.
If my memory serves me well, the Franc Vila Cuatro Tourbillon Dial-Side Column Wheel Monopusher Chronograph (phew…) watch was first introduced in 2007, only two years after the ambitious young Spaniard Franc Vila presented his eponymous brand.
At the Baselworld 2009 show, he presented a number of limited edition watches, including a new take on the above mentioned tourbillon chronograph model.
From the very beginning, the Spanish brand positioned itself as the haute de gamme sector player with entry-level models starting at a respectable CHF 20,000 mark and going through the roof to eye-popping CHF 500,000 for the highly-exclusive models with tourbillons, minute repeaters and such.
Although the company openly refuses to become a Manufacture, they have a number of models powered by extremely complicated calibers developed in-house but produced by third-party independent manufacturers.
These are designated from “non-original” movements by a “FVN°” index, while the former bear a normal “FV” in their model number indices.
The model in question is powered by the FVN° Cuatro movement featuring three complications. Namely, a single push-button chronograph with column wheel, a power reserve indicator and a tourbillon.
Built on 32 jewels and beating at a frequency of 21,600 vph, the hand-decorated FVN° Cuatro caliber consists of 262 parts and features an impressive power reserve of 120 hours.
The watch is coming in FV’s trademark Esprit Unique case featuring a figure-eight dial with a chronograph seconds indicator visible at 2 o’clock, a meticulously crafted tourbillon carriage at 6 o’clock that also acts as a very expensive small seconds indicator, a small (and barely readable) power reserve dial at 9 o’clock, and a chronograph minutes indicator at 10 o’clock.
Unlike most skeletonized watches of this kind, this one is still quite legible thanks to the use of contrasting materials for the hands (gold) and the movement (steel).
Of course, its legibility could have been significantly enhanced if the timekeeper’s designer opted in for rose gold paint instead of black one that looks very low-contrast in this particular setting, but he probably was afraid to make the already busy dial look too cluttered.
Like all Franc Vila watches featuring a tourbillon complication, the Tourbillon Dial-Side Column Wheel Monopusher Chronograph watch will be limited to just eight units, all of them individually numbered and sol in expensive presentation boxes.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 2.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Photos: Franc Vila
Franc Vila Cuatro Tourbillon Dial-Side Column Wheel Monopusher Chronograph wrist watch specification
Price range: $345,000
Movement: FVN° Cuatro caliber, designed in-house, built by a third-party manufacturer, Swiss Made
Complications: Flyback chronograph, power reserve, tourbillon
Power reserve: 5 days (120 hours)
Case material: DieHard Extreme Steel alloy
Case dimensions: No data
Case height: No data
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Crocodile leather strap with DieHard Extreme Steel deployment buckle. Extra rubber strap included
Case back: Sapphire