The Most Complicated Wristwatch

Watchmakers enjoy creating watches for their customers, and they obviously try to create watches that have features, or complications, that their customers will find useful.

Watchmakers also have a desire to create, and many of them also have a desire to show off.  Adding a single complication to a watch is difficult; adding more than one becomes even more so.

franck muller aeternitas mega 4Beyond that, the ability to create a watch with multiple functions is the stuff that watchmakers dream of doing.  Why stop at one or two complications when you can build a watch with ten?  Or twenty?

Or thirty six?

That’s how many different complications you will find in the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4, also known as the world’s most complicated wristwatch.

Note that I said “wristwatch.”  There are pocket watches with more complications, but pocketwatches don’t have the size limitations that wristwatches have.  You can’t have a wristwatch that measures 8 inches across or which weighs 5 pounds, so there are going to be some practical considerations when it comes to adding that many complications to something that someone can wear on their wrist.

Still, 36 complications is impressive, and a quick glance at the face of the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 will show you that it is indeed one very complicated watch.

franck muller aeternitas mega 4There are 1483 different parts in the Aeternitas Mega 4, and more than two dozen of the complications are actually visible to the wearer.  The watch took  5 years to create.

So, what’s “under the hood?”  What sorts of things will this amazing watch do besides tell you the time?

Here are a few of the complications to be found in the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4:

  • The day of the week
  • The month
  • A leap year indicator
  • Hour and minute repeater
  • Year indicator
  • Dual time zones
  • 24 hour indicator
  • Equation of time
  • Moon phase indicator
  • Chronograph
  • Equation of time
  • Tourbillon
  • Automatic movement
  • …and many more

It’s a nice looking watch, although it is necessarily a bit busy-looking.  It’s also a bit awkward to use, as a time-only watch might have a single knob on the crown, where this one has at least seven buttons to deal with.

On the other hand, the calendar is said to be accurate for 1000 years, so that’s a huge bonus.

The Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 comes in white gold and was made in a limited edition, though I’m not sure how many were made.

As with all mechanical watches that feature complications, the more complex the watch, the higher the price.  You will pay for all of that innovation and you’re certainly going to pay for the ingenuity that went into putting that many different functions into a form factor that can fit on your wrist.

In the case of the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4, the price is something just north of $2.5 million.  Yes, that’s a lot of money, but on the other hand, an awful lot of work went into this watch and the company knows there is a limit to how many of these that they can sell.

Not everyone needs a perpetual calendar or a repeater that sounds like the Westminster chimes.




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