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Toadtorrent

Toad's Review of the Franck Muller Crazy Hours Color Dreams

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While the debate may rage through a thousand posts what the best replica watch is for under $150, I doubt few could argue that the funkiest movement for under a $150, or even three times that price, has to be the Franck Muller Crazy Hours.

This watch, available in a variety of strap and bracelet options, dial colour layouts from sophisticated black on white to the playful Color Dreams Technicolour Rainbow is limited to a real working Jump Hour movement using a basic manual wind Asian 21J movement. What does this mean? Stay tuned...and read below for my review of this great rep that can be had for just over $100 including shipping.

Franck Muller

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Who is Franck Muller? And what has he done with my sequential ordering of numbers?

While noble Swiss watch companies like Breguet and Patek Philippe may have Royal histories dating back over 150 years of horological mastery, Franck Muller's (who was born in 1958) watch house was not established until the early 1990's. In spite of this late start, Muller through a combination of equal parts marketting and mechanical wizardry has been able to achieve tremendous respect for his innovative mechanical and stylistic innovations so much so, as to truly earn his moniker of the "Master of Complications".

With a string of patents for such things as design elements like the Curvex Diamond to tourbillon movements, Muller has been able to make such creations that have earned him the title of having the "most complicated wristwatch in the world". A look at the tri-axis tourbillon of the Evolution 3-1 pictured below is an example of this.

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While there is no hope of ever having a Chinese rep factory make such complicated precision timepieces as the Evolution 3-1, it is surprising that something like the non-sequential jump hour movement of the Crazy Hours watches can be replicated, and at an extremely low price point.

The Crazy Hours

I had read about jump movements ages ago in various watch magazines as movements that create a binary type of time display by not gradually having the selected number be determined by a gradually moving arm, but an arm that "jumps" from number to number, or a displayed number that flips at a precise point (like the date flip on a Noobmariner vs. an Asian 7750 movement).

Muller has taken this idea to the next level by printing his dial to display the hours non-sequentially going around the clock from "midnight" as 8-1-6-11-4-9-2-7-12-5-10-3 instead of 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12. Because of this unique order, the hour "jumps" around the clock at the turn of the hour, while the minute hand rotates gradually as normal, so the time is read by looking at the actual number the hour hand is pointing to, the position the minute hand is pointing to and not the actual number.

The big question that everyone has about this replica is: Does the jump hour movement work?

The answer is: YES!!

The movement is a modified Asian 21J manual wind movement. I have not opened the case, so I can't tell you any more than that.

It is a hoot set the time and watch the hour hand jump around the dial as the minute hand sweeps midnight. It is a favourite pastime of children who can tell time to gather around the watch and see the hourly jump.

This feature alone I think, makes this watch a must have for any rep collection.

When viewed from a distance, the watch will appear to tell the wrong time, but when viewed up close, it will appear to in fact tell the right time, just not in a conventional manner.

Let's take a look at the watch in closer detail.

The Case

The watch arrived in the requested stainless steel Curvex case, measuring about 42mm high, and only 30mm wide.

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The sides of the casae have a nice polish to them and there were no sharp edges.

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The relief FM logo on the crown was nicely printed, and deep.

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[The Caseback]

The caseback is joke. Although the 4 screw pattern matches the gen as pictured below...

FMhvmb4N_05.jpg

...there are so many things wrong with the caseback that came supplied with this watch.

CrazyRep-Caseback.jpg

- Spacing of the letters in Franck Muller at the top is inconsistent and much wider than the gen

- Engraving is very shallow...so much so that the last "s" in Complications is cutoff

- Missing jeweller's marks

- Spelling error "COLORDRBAMS" instead of "Color Dreams"

If it's possible to get the standard Crazy Hours caseback, that would be an improvement to at least get rid of the spelling error.

The Dial

The watch I ordered was from Silix and was a special item Jay had to find for me. It took about a week to source before he had it in the post. There are many dial options, but I chose the Color Dreams, given that if the Hours are Crazy, the colours should be Dreamy.

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As you can see by the angled dial pictures, there is a guilloche style concentric floral pattern which allows subtle numbers to appear all over the dial when viewed in certain light. This makes for a great look to the dial and adds an extra bit of zip and hint of quality.

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The dial printing is crisp and clear, and coloured numbers have a nice vibrancy to them.

The crystal is supposedly sapphire according to the sticker, but I have no means of verifying this.

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The Color Dreams

Color Dreams refers to the series of multi-coloured numbers.

I picked the Color Dreams white dial:

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Other rep Crazy Hours options include:

Color Dreams black dial:

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Black dial:

CrazyRep-DialColor_Black2.jpg

Blue dial:

CrazyRep-DialColor_Blue.jpg

White dial:

CrazyRep-DialColor_White.jpg

The Strap

The strap has the proper markings on the back, but the printing is not as deep.

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The gen is pictured below:

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The tang buckle is reasonably nice with laser etching of "Franck Muller" on the rounded top. The finish is reasonable, but lacks the quality smoothness and polish of the higher end reps. As well, the rep lacks the jeweller's marks on the bucket found on the original.

Replica:

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Gen:

FMhvmb4N_07.jpg

The leather of the strap is real, but the printing of the crocodile grain is very poor making it scream fake from a distance.

CrazyRep-Strap1.jpg

I would suggest an immediate strap replacement, even though finding a "Franck Muller" printed quality strap (outside of a gen) is likely to be difficult.

SUMMARY

The Crazy Hours jump movement makes this rep a very fun watch and I think a highly recommended watch for any collection because of the jump movement alone.

The dial printing and design allow this watch to readily be a classy but playful dress watch. With such a bad strap, and terrible caseback, it does not rank high in the accuracy department, but these are problems that can be addressed through a caseback or strap upgrade...difficult decisions to make I think, given that

the cost of this watch with shipping is less than US$150, there can be only so much quality.

I hope you enjoyed this review and have found it useful.

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  • Like 2

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Great review and explanations.

Have found out a few things I didn`t know.

Thanks.

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Wow.. first thank you for all the time spent in this detailed fun read review.. you keep out doing yourself..

saw the genuine a while back... kind of disoriented to look at the numbers the way they are layed out.. but quite an acompishment for the genuine.. as well as it being replicated..

thanks again.. great !!!

lani

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Great review of a great rep.

The Crazy Hours is just fantastic - I have the black face version. It's one of the few watches that will elicit even a glimmer of interest from non-WIS types.

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Have been thinking about this watch all afternoon.

If the time is read , noting the HOUR hand and which numeral it is pointing to,

AFTER,..... half past the hour, the time would be........ Whatever the hour numeral is pointing to........

Plus the No. of minutes, ie. ( Hour hand pointing to say 7 , plus minute hand pointing to quarter to the hour )

45 minutes. = 7.45 ?

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Plus the No. of minutes, ie. ( Hour hand pointing to say 7 , plus minute hand pointing to quarter to the hour )

45 minutes. = 7.45 ?

Sevenfortyfive, yes.

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Toad thx alot for this wonderful review of this different watch, a really pleasant and informative read, appreciated.

regards Laz

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The Crazy Hours is just fantastic - I have the black face version. It's one of the few watches that will elicit even a glimmer of interest from non-WIS types.

It's true. People who know watches look at my IWC or Omega's and say "wow...nice watches"...but people who don't say "those are big". About my Cousteau Divers, my son says "Wow...that's hu-normous"...but with the Crazy Hours, he'll sit on my lap and watch me set the time to see the hand jump around the dial, laughing away saying "that's silly". He's not really into watches...but he gets the Crazy Hours.

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Great review!

The Crazy Color dreams are some of the best the best crazy hours reps because they're the only crazy hours that Muller makes in SS--so no worries about lack of the gold hallmarks. I believe there was a better caseback version available (yours is also off because the 5850 case size indication number is wrong) but there are so many muller rep casebacks for each model, every one you buy is a crap shoot. The very best rep of the CCD is the 1200 Long Island model, which if it's still around has one of the all time best accuracy/cost ratio of all times...

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NIce review, has everything history of the gen, and a good write up of the rep..... Well done and thank you.

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Thx for sharing.

I bought a crazy hour for a friend a long time ago : Iwas surpised how good it looks and how good a cheap rep can be.

There are versions without spelling mistakes, as there are obviously different manufacturers.

Also be careful about the 1 fontshape, those from Trusty don't look always accurate.

Funny watch that will draw attention. Add the colour, and you've a really original inexpensive watch.

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Thx for sharing.

I bought a crazy hour for a friend a long time ago : Iwas surpised how good it looks and how good a cheap rep can be.

There are versions without spelling mistakes, as there are obviously different manufacturers.

Also be careful about the 1 fontshape, those from Trusty don't look always accurate.

Funny watch that will draw attention. Add the colour, and you've a really original inexpensive watch.

The font of the one from trusty with the 1 spread across the corner is incorrect, I have the Black Crazy Colored dreams with that dial, it was free so I shouldn't complain but it does bug the hell out of me that the font is incorrect, so far none of the dealers could source me a dial with the correct font... so I've been looking for a Gen Crazy Hour Dial, does anyone know where I can get one?

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Look at my review (signature) : I bought it (a long time ago) from a dealer on RWI called WBK. I'm sure our dealers here can find the same.

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I have the black and white one, and it works brilliantly... it is very noisy when winding though, there's a loud ratcheting sound.

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Just placed an order for one from Joshua after reading this post and going on some insane search for the most accurate rep (yes, even on a cheap rep I tried). Man oh man are there a lot of really bad reps for this watch though...some had hilariously bizarre fonts, some had random extra stuff written on the dial (why??!), and the colors were also wrong on pretty much every rep-ranging from using the wrong colors for the background to just having the colors a bit off. Even found a rep that seemed like it might be accurate but it was overpriced and from a website I'd never heard of.

In the end I got the white dial face and asked him to put a white leather strap on it for me (the website only seems to carry the correct white dial with a stainless steel bracelet), since that's what the watch apparently comes with. Of course a super cheap strap isn't going to come close to the real one, but I thought it looked nice with white-a little extra different if you will. The colors don't really look quite right on the rep I ordered either (the 6 is way too intense seeming from the pics), but I thought it just made the colors look even more crazy so it'll do ;)

Kind of wish I had never read this article though! Still, this might just be a good daily casual wear watch. I'd bet that about 99% of normal people would think the genuine was a $50 watch anyway, lol.

BTW in my hunt I noticed that "zenreplica.com" had some with pretty decent looking dials-the 1's look correct, the colors even looked pretty close, and on the darker dialed versions the colors weren't the light version colors. They're definitely pictures of reps too, since the caseback is obviously wrong, but I've never heard of this place, and they wanted $179 (although I guess since shipping is free the difference is more like $50 instead of $80 compared to other places).

Still...anybody bought anything from this place before? This one is pretty tempting:

franck-muller-black-crazy-color-dreams-9920.jpg

franck-muller-black-crazy-color-dreams-5698.jpg (obviously a rep since the back is wrong)

I couldn't find any reviews of this store anywhere though. But their franck muller crazy hours seem to be the nicest. There's some weird photoshop work on the front pic though that kinda worries me...did they just use a pic of the gen?!? Their other rep colors all have rep pics though, so I'm not sure if it's just weird photoshopping or what...I can't help but be suspicious since most dials are very obviously off lol.

Actually...I'm pretty sure those ARE pics of the genuine since the crown looks totally different in the front and back pics...wtf. But then again the minutes hand looks somewhat different than the gen, so it might be a rep? Argh, I'm so confused.

pic of the black gen:

frankmuller7.jpg

Edited by techd

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Thanks Toadtorrent for an excellent review and great photos. What a fascinating watch!

There are still only 24 hours in the day ....shame!

Watch sales of these beauties jump through the roof.

The only question now is where to source one :D

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I've handled the genuine (all-gold version about GBP25k), and while it was nice, it did not feel like a GBP25k watch.

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I've handled the genuine (all-gold version about GBP25k), and while it was nice, it did not feel like a GBP25k watch.

The local "high end" store here (Omega, Tag, and some other higher end brands) has curvex shaped "house brand" Birks watches with ETA movements and Muller look alike dials for a lot less. When I think about these Birks branded watches copying Muller for a fraction of the cost...then I think a Chinese rep is doing the exact same thing for fraction of that cost with THE SAME movement...I totally see the rationale behind reps.

I can tell you the rep feels better than a $100 watch (aside from the strap which feels like a $2 strap.

If you note the font on one of the Trusty pics in the post, the #1 doesn't match the others in the pictures...however it is closer to the #1 in the pic of the $1,000,000 Evolution 1-3 at the top of the post. So, it's possible (though not confirmed) there are dial variations.

I bought mine from Silix.

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Can't wait to get mine...might have to replace the strap even though I got the color I wanted since Toadtorrent is right in that the rep straps really do look like $2 straps.

Still...I don't wanna sink to much money into this watch...wanna save my money to work on my pet project watch.

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Thanks for the review! I didn't realize reps of the crazy hours even existed. I'm shocked that the pricing is so reasonable. I'm also baffled for all that is done right, the case back has spelling errors. I never understood that. Anyway, I'm new to this community and only own a single GEN which is the 2007 Tag F1. I've ordered the Omega SMP from PT and am working with Eurotimez to purchase the "noobmariner". The 2 "newbie bate" watches I guess! But, I've always wanted the crazy hours. It looks like I should get the rep and replace the band then try and source the back. If anyone knows of any good sources, please let us know!

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