Franc Vila Manual Suspended Skeleton

Baselworld 2014 preview…

Franc Vila logo

Franc Vila Manual Suspended Skeleton Watch

I’ve long been a fan of small, independent watchmaker Franc Vila and it was a great pleasure to meet with him at Baselworld last year.  I’d guess the number of watches he makes in a single year numbers in the hundreds, so he is not widely known, but man does he make some great watches.  For this latest version which is of the typical Franc Vila aesthetic, the watch caliber is cased-up in total suspension, stabilized by a clever system of springs (see closeup pic below).   This somewhat gives the impression that the caliber is levitating in the dial-free structure.  Nice.  This “suspension” concept reminds me of something similarly employed by Richard Mille in the RM027 Rafael Nadal.

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Franc Vila FVi N°8 Tourbillon Intrepido SuperLigero Skeleton

Baselworld 2013 preview…

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Franc Vila Fvi 8 Intrepido Tourbillon Superligero

This year Geneva-based independent watchmaker Franc Vila adds a new model to his Intrepido collection.  First launched in 2011, the Intrepido is the one of two official collection’s offered by Vila.  This particular piece features a hand-wound tourbillon movement with Lightnium bridges (aluminum/lithium alloy) and silicon escape-wheel and lever.   The elliptical case and bezel are done in a combination of pink gold and DLC-coated titanium.  The dial is openworked  with nice symmetry.

Franc Vila Fvi 8 Intrepido Tourbillon Superligero closeup

Of course watches like this will not appeal to everyone, not that it really matters — always a brand of ultra-exclusivity, this new Intrepido Tourbillon from Franc Vila will be limited to just 8 pieces.

If you want more background on Vila check out his (not-so-user friendly) website at

Or get lots more info in my past articles on Franc Vila watches here>>> (and a hands-on Franc Vila review I did in 2011, here>>>)


FRANC VILA FVi17 Chrono Bicompax Intrepido

Limited Edition 88 pieces each

A pair of new pieces from Franc Vila, model name “FVi17 Chrono Bicompax Intrepido.”   If you are thinking these watches look somewhat different from prior Franc Vila pieces, you are correct.  That is because these chronographs are done in the style of Vila’s new collection, the Intrepido, which quietly debuted in 2011.   Though I may be mistaken (possible, but unlikely), I believe that these are the first new models with the Intrepido line that have been introduced since the 2011 Intrepido Tourbillon and FVi9 Chrono Intrepido debuted.  While I am very much a fan of the new style, and Franc Vila in general, there are a couple aspects of these new pieces that I do not like.  I’ll give you the full rundown, below.
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Franc Vila SuperLigero Automatic Titanium

Last week in Basel, FRANC VILA introduced a new timepiece in its SuperLigero Concept collection, the FVa61 SuperLigero Automatic.   It’s a cool looking piece, and with a simple dial (in the Franc Vila style) — hours & minutes, small seconds dial, and a big date at the top.  If you want to see what a Franc Vila looks like on the wrist — much like this one would — check out my earlier review of his a8 Big Date Chronograph.

But now I’ve got to take some issues with Franc Vila’s press release this time around (actually most of his PRs are like this):  for example, we are told that “The common element in all the timepieces introduced under the SuperLigero concept is the use of Lightnium, an aluminium-lithium based alloy used in state of the art aeronautical engineering.”  OK fine, except that the watch case is later stated to be made of titanium (no mention of Lightnium).  Then, according to the brand, “it’s main characteristics are lightness combined with high-tensile strength, allowing structural weight reduction and an increase in the elastic modulus performance.”  “Elastic modulus performance”  excuse me but what the heck does that mean?  I can tell you that in the context of wearing a watch, it means nothing.   Don’t get me wrong, I really like Franc Vila (see my extensive prior coverage of the brand), but the man (or his PR firm) need to step out of “chemistry and engineering world” and into the real world with these press releases.    OK, my rant is done — here’s the watch:

Franc Vila SuperLigero Automatic Titanium

limited edition 88 pieces

titanium case with elliptic and circular bezel, automatic mechanical Franc Vila movement, smoked sapphire crystal; comes with rubber strap and croc leather strap