PARIS — After months of speculation that Franck Muller and his business partner, Vartan Sirmakes, had an acrimonious falling out, the luxury Geneva timepiece and jewelry firm that bears Muller’s name on Tuesday announced that Muller had left the company he co-founded with Sirmakes in 1991.
In a statement, the firm said Muller, the creative part of the partnership, would remain an “important shareholder,” but that Sirmakes would secure the group’s management.
The split was attributed to “growing pains” and “different strategic [and] personal objectives” between the two.
The company employs some 500 people and has annual production of more than 50,000 watches.
It said that a “team of designers and watchmakers will continue to carry the creative vision and to launch…novel watches.”
A spokesman declined further comment, but said the company was not for sale. Muller could not be reached for comment.
Since its inception, the firm gained a swift reputation as among the most creative of a new generation of independent Swiss watchmakers. Muller’s pieces were classic and irreverent, usually with slightly oversized casings and numerals in his signature bright colors.
The firm, which also controls the Pierre Kunz and ECW brands, declined to give revenue figures, but said it expected a 15 percent increase for the year.