A brand of recent creation, the name Franck Dubarry may sound familiar. Franck Dubarry is a French entrepreneur and watch designer. Before launching the eponymous brand, he made his reputation in the advertising sector and in the watch industry by creating TechnoMarine in 1997. A fantastic commercial success, TechnoMarine presented truly original concepts; for instance, it was one of the first to combine diamond and rubber. After 10 years and selling over 2.5 million watches, Franck Dubarry sold his brand to a private equity fund.
In 2014, no-longer bound by a non-competition clause, he decided to return to the watch industry to develop a brand under his own name with the idea of crafting contemporary, original watches with a bold design, corresponding to his personal tastes and experiences, in particular travels.
The Crazy Wheel we are reviewing here was presented in 2017. Eschewing traditional codes, it provides its own offbeat take on mechanical watchmaking. The first thing that will catch your eye is its unconventional way of portraying time. Its original display is intriguing, a bit puzzling at first, but simple.
It is based on a proprietary module rotating 360° in 60 minutes. The hours are shown on a built-in sub-counter that revolves on a bridge around the dial that also indicated the minutes. The video makes things clearer. From a technical perspective, it is really complex with no fewer than 63 components. The play of movement, volumes, contrasting materials and colors works very well and adds a lot of visual depth.
This exclusive module is manufactured in the Swiss Jura and is coupled with an automatic caliber, operating at 28,800 vibrations per hour and with a power reserve of 42 hours. In addition to the original hour and minute indication, it also features a central second hand (with stop-seconds) and the date indication.
Featuring a sporty look and technical feel, the case is a sandwich construction (reminiscent of Hublot) that plays with different materials, colors and finishes. It is nicely finished, which is no small feat, given its angular design. The bezel is flat and secured by six hexagonal screws, and the crown is protected by crown-shields. The case back is closed with four screws and is water-resistant to 10 ATM / 100m.
The Franck Dubarry Crazy Wheel is worn on an integrated “elastogator” strap secured with a titanium folding buckle. ‘Elastogator’ is FKM rubber with a crocodile imprint and lined with synthetic material. It looks like alligator but is really soft and comfortable on the wrist. Price is set at CHF 9,200 for the titanium version or CHF 11,900 for the PVD-titanium and carbon fiber version (also featured in this hands-on review and in our short video).
For more information, the brand will be exhibiting at Baselworld, and you can visit its website here: www.franckdubarry.com.