In the character watch revival currently sweeping the luxury watch industry, Snoopy and the rest of the cast of the beloved “Peanuts” series have emerged as genre-spanning major players. Whether due to cultural cache or ease of licensing, the world’s most famous cartoon beagle has made appearances with brands spanning nearly every segment of the market, and for its latest release Franck Muller has become the latest marque to feature the character. Developed in partnership with famed watch customizer Bamford Watch Department, this new model pairs the brand’s signature Crazy Hours complication with Bamford’s trademark blacked-out aesthetic and a handful of unique visual surprises. The new limited edition Franck Muller x Bamford Watch Department Crazy Hours Cintrée Curvex is one of the wildest entries in the current crop of character watch designs, combining an aggressive color palette with a playful design concept for a truly unique look.
The 39.6mm case of the Franck Muller x Bamford Watch Department Crazy Hours Cintrée Curvex follows Franck Muller’s traditional tonneau shape, with a starkly modern twist. The overall form is elegantly simple, with a single unbroken flowing curve running from lug tip to lug tip and a smoothly rounded case side profile. The fully brushed finish is similarly elemental, but the addition of a classically Bamford-esque matte black coating gives the design a markedly more serious character in images. This is far from a sporting design, but even by dress watch standards the 30 meter water resistance rating is underwhelming.
Naturally, the most eye-catching element of the Franck Muller x Bamford Watch Department Crazy Hours Cintrée Curvex’s dial is the hand-painted rendition of Snoopy in profile at its center. Where so many character watch designs aim for a dynamic pose with their central figures, Franck Muller uses a cleaner, almost formalized depiction here, allowing the rest of the dial design to radiate outward from the painting in initial images. The series of concentric hand-painted black outlines firmly reinforces this effect, and in low light these raised lines reveal the design’s biggest surprise as the Super-LumiNova paint lights up almost the entirety of the dial. By contrast, the Crazy Hours series’ hallmark distorted Arabic numerals are painted in a simple non-luminous medium gray, keeping the monochrome look intact and giving this wildly cartoony design a more aggressive character in images. Eagle-eyed observers may also notice that these numerals are out of sequence, which gives away this model’s other major visual surprise. Like other iterations of the Crazy Hours series, this new design is a unique take on the jumping hours complication. Rather than smoothly moving from one hour to the next over the course of 60 minutes, the shorter of Snoopy’s arms remains stationary before jumping to the next numeral at the top of the hour. Where this really differentiates itself from the traditional jumping hour concept is the distance of the jump. Due to the random arrangement of hours numerals around the edge of the dial, the hours hand swings wildly across the dial to make the 150-degree jump from 11 o’clock to 12 o’clock, for example. The minutes hand functions normally, but this unique arrangement makes legibility at a glance almost impossible. This is a design that not only invites but demands second glances, as the wearer will likely perform more than a few double takes in trying to discern the current time. Franck Muller draws further attention to these unique hours numerals with a pair of depictions of Snoopy’s bird friend Woodstock, perched at the 9 o’clock and 10 o’clock positions. This mind-bending black and white animated dial design will likely prove to be a love-it-or-hate-it proposition for enthusiasts, but brings an interestingly graphic and nuanced bent to the character watch archetype.
Inside the Franck Muller x Bamford Watch Department Crazy Hours Cintrée Curvex beats the in-house MVD FM 2800-CHR automatic jumping hours movement. Besides the unique Crazy Hours complication, the MVD FM 2800-CHR offers solid if unspectacular performance, with a 42 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Franck Muller finishes the black-on-black look with a simple matching strap in black woven fabric.
While its chaotic complication and blacked-out animated aesthetic may not suit all tastes, the limited edition Franck Muller x Bamford Watch Department Crazy Hours Cintrée Curvex delivers one of the most unique and striking entries in the current wave of luxury character watch designs. Only 25 examples of the Franck Muller x Bamford Watch Department Crazy Hours Cintrée Curvex will be made, and the watch is available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of £28,000. For more details, please visit Bamford’s website.