Franc Vila is one of those niche brands that operates under the radar. In all the years that I was browsing forums and other watch-related websites, there never was an abundance in information about this niche brand. Yet every message was entertained with enthusiasm.
Recently they released a new chronograph with big calendar, called the FVi17 Chrono Bicompax Intrepido. The Intrepido case, that was introduced in 2011, has some very interesting details in terms of material used and construction.
The Intrepido collection introduced a new case, however with respect for the unique and trademark Franc Vila elliptycal case shape. This new case is lighter and slimmer then before and Franc Vila applied nanotechnology materials to accomplish this. Inside the holder, or carrure as Franc Vila calls it, is a mono-block holding the movement amongst other things.
The Intrepido case comes in two variations: NanoTube Titanium and Deep NanoTube Titanium Carbon-Graphene Composite. NanoTube Titanium (NTT) is a special titanium that is internally structured in nanotubes which is 35% less dense that the regular titanium. The other material is a new high-end performance composite is made of carbon-graphene and a percentage of NanoTube Titanium named Deep NanoTube Titanium Carbon-Graphene Composite. It has a density almost four times less then steel, more then two times less than regular titanium, and about 70% less dense that NanoTube Titanium.
For further explanation I suggest to check out the Franc Vila website here, although to me the explanation looks like jiberish. Just remember… lighter, stronger and more scratch resistant.
Inside the Franc Vila FVi17 ticks caliber FV17, which is in fact an ETA2892-A2 with chrono bi-compax module. The base movement, ETA2892-A2 is the very best that ETA has to offer, so nothing to be ashamed of! It’s one of the best movements every designed/constructed and the “A2” stands for the highest degree in finish that is offered by ETA.
Although Franc Vila calls this a big date, it looks like a pretty regular size date to me. So I assume it’s the regular date wheel and Franc Vila actually refers to the date window that shows three dates. Something that we see more lately and in my opinion a handy improvement because you can see the date even if the hour hand is in front of it.
Franc Vila FVi17 Chrono Bi-Compax Specifications and price
- Case: Bezel in Die-Hard Extreme Steel. Carrure in titanium. Special “Intrepido” shape with elliptic and circular bezel and protective inserts. Chronograph start/stop pusher at 2 o’clock and reset pusher at 4 o’clock. Crystal and case back both in sapphire with double-sided anti-glare treatment. Water resistant to 100 meters.
- Movement: High Grade Mechanical Self-Winding hand finished complicated movement Caliber FV17. FRANC VILA Exclusive Gold Concept Rotor. Power reserve of 42 hours.
- Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds. Chronograph bi-compax. Date.
- Dial: Soleil (sun) finished dial with guilloché. Chronograph subsidiary dial at 9’ (minutes). Chronograph seconds indication displayed by central hand. Date indication window at 6’. Seconds indication subsidiary dial at 3’.
- Strap: Black rubber sport or leather strap.
Limited edition of 88 pieces of each version. The red Ti-DLC version comes at a price of $22,000 and the (silver-colored) Ti-DHES version will cost $18,000. The price sounds rather steep, however I must admit that the uniqueness of the design and used materials do offer a lot of added value, besides the ‘standard’movement although it is the best of what ETA has to offer.
This article is written by Frank Geelen, executive editor for Monochrome Watches.