An Exclusive Visit to Franc Vila Geneve
– Part 2. The Flagship Geneva Boutique and the Vault Collection
– Jon Z.
After visit to the workshop and witnessing the eye-popping complexity of producing and assemblying the intricate Franc Vila watches (see Part 1 here), we next make a pilgrimage to its Geneva flagship boutique and office. It is located in the old town part of Geneva, tastefully designed to give it a modern twist to the century-old cobblestone grounds and its residing historical building.
Here, you will find a team of in-house watch makers who takes care of maintenance and repairs, the marketing, PR, and finance teams.
Mr. Vila is gracious enough to offer me a rare glimpse of the company vault. There, one will find an array of compents, amazing dials (never shown before to the public) made of precious materials ready to be installed on future watches, as well as be pleasantly surprised by several high complications and special-order pieces that sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and will adorn the wrists of royalties and tycoons.
Mr. Vila inquires about a special order from a senior staff in-house watchmaker.
The company has a large library of special Franc Vila features by hundreds of publications around the world, along with its recognition in its participation at the prestigious OnlyWatch. This is an annual charity event hosted by Monaco, where 35 of the most renowned watch brands in the world are asked to create and donate an unique piece of their best creation, for fundraising of the research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Franc Vila designed the fully black Cobra Chronograph Big Date Fv8ch, for the OnlyWatch charity.
Drawers with various dials, for different models.
Tahitian Black Mother of Pearl for Chronograph Big Date.
Multi-layered Carbon Fiber Dials for Chronograph Big Date
The New Big Date Automatic, with the rotating second-hand disc at 6’O clock.
Minute Repeater High Complication Dial, made with a single piece of Sapphire crystal.
Fva5 World Timer dials in mother of pearl, and black meteorite.
Worldtimer dial in Carbon Fiber.
Ladies’ pieces with mosaic mother of pearl pattern dial.
High Jewelry dials for ladies’ watches, made of gold and diamonds.
Annual Calendar Chronographs with hands and movements assembled, ready to undergo the hundreds of hours of rigorous testing for consistency and reliability.
Annual Calendar Chronograph dials in exotic red carbon fiber.
A special-order piece by a wealthy client in Mexico, with a special dial reflecting the colors of the Mexican flag, and 11 and 1’O clock indices swapped out by the client’s initials.
Another special-order Fva15 column regulator in beige meteorite, with 88 etched on the hour wheel.
Dials for the grand complication tourbillons
Movement of the minute repeater.
18K Rose Gold Buckles.
Mr. Vila showcasing the complexity and intricacies of the multi-layered case construction.
Look at how the inside of the case is just as beautifully polished as the outside – this is purism and dedication.
Back case with curved crystal – extremely difficult and expensive process. The result is a more ergonomic curvature and increased comfort. This is the reason why Franc Vila watches, despite of their large sizes, are surprisingly comfortable on the wrist.
Now on to watches…
A special-order dial for the Fva9 Annual Calendar Chrono, with dial set with VVS diamonds.
The big date Fva61. Check out the details of the dial and on the movement
Tourbillon 8 days in Platinum
Meticulous traditional finishing on a modern movement design. The deep blued movement bridge matches the front of the dial perfectly.
Wears very well on my 7 inch wrist
The same 8-day tourbillon movement in with carbon fiber dial and case…
… and a more traditional movement finish pattern, with beautiful Geneva stripe decorations running vertically on the bridge, and anglage polish on the edges
Tourbillon monopusher chronograph in 18K rose gold
We appreciate Mr. Franc Vila for granting us an exclusive look into his magical world of ultra-high end watchmaking. Being a long-term collector myself, I was amazed by the amount of painstaking details that the production and assembly process involve, and the amount of work that is hidden from the end consumer. This type of dedication is not so easily found in the megabrands anymore… I hope that after reading these two articles, you would develop an appreciation for the Franc Vila brand, and for the way how these mechanical art pieces are made – by master watchmakers, with passion, patience, and tradition, one piece at a time.