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MB&F HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red watch

Having captivated the world with its soaring tourbillon and perfect symmetries over the last two years, the jellyfish-inspired HM7 Aquapod emerges from the depths for a new outing in 2019, this time in the most precious of metals and an arresting new shade – along with three-dimensional, “floating” hour and minute numerals.

Platinum, which sits at the apex of the hierarchy of noble watchmaking materials, makes its debut in HM7, its bright silvery-white hue an emphatic counterpoint to the vividly crimson unidirectional rotating bezel. Used for the first time in any MB&F creation, red is not a colour that immediately comes to mind when thinking of marine life — but it has a very particular significance when it comes to the jellyfish.

The deeper you go in the ocean, the less colour you see. Red is the first colour to disappear, being on the lowest end of the visible light spectrum and thus most easily absorbed by water. This is why you find a higher concentration of red sea creatures in the deepest waters — being red makes them almost invisible to predators. Deep-sea jellyfish often have red stomachs as a form of protective camouflage, as their transparent bodies would otherwise allow predators to spot them via their stomach contents.

HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red comes from the deepest recesses of the horological ocean, with free-floating numerical appendages and unprecedented transparency surrounding its beating heart: a 60-second flying tourbillon.

Unlike previous incarnations of Aquapod, which indicated the hours and minutes via rotating rings with transferred numerals, HM7 Platinum Red features three-dimensional numerals sculpted in titanium. The metal was specifically selected for its lightness, in order to have as little additional marginal load on the engine as possible. However, this mechanical advantage came at a cost, since titanium is exponentially denser and stronger (which is to say, harder to machine) than the aluminium that made up the time-indication rings on previous Aquapod versions.

The stems attaching the hour and minute numerals to their respective mounting rings are rendered black with a coating of DLC (diamond-like carbon), completing the ethereal floating effect that one associates with the sight of a jellyfish drifting with the ocean currents.

One of the most startling visual aspects of a jellyfish, almost alien in how far it is from the mammalian systems with which we are familiar, is its transparency. How can something so diaphanous and seemingly insubstantial be alive? HM7 Platinum Red homes in on this point, replacing the battle-axe tourbillon bridge of previous Aquapod versions with a clear sapphire component. The flying tourbillon of the HM7 engine is revealed like never before, highlighted by a halo of high-luminosity AGT.

Because, of course, HM7 Platinum Red is aglow with luminescence, just as any fascinating creature of the deep should be. Apart from the AGT ring surrounding the flying tourbillon, luminous material is found in the laser-engraved markings of the unidirectional rotating bezel and on the surface of the hour and minute numerals. These are untinted Super-LumiNova, which fluoresce white after exposure to light.

The self-winding, 391-component engine of HM7 Platinum Red was developed entirely in-house at MB&F. Fitted with a platinum case, bezel and buckle, HM7 Platinum Red will be made in a limited series of 25 pieces, each presented with three interchangeable straps (red, white and black) in aircraft-grade rubber.

HM7 AQUAPOD IN DETAIL

INSPIRATION

The idea for an aquatic watch originated from MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser’s memories of family beach holidays, which included an encounter with a jellyfish. While the encounter may have been minor, the seed it planted in Büsser’s brain for a three-dimensional timepiece powered by tentacles was anything but. And even though the concept for Horological Machine N°7 came relatively quickly, the development took many years.

ENGINE

Whereas the majority of watch movements are constructed on a lateral plane to be as flat as possible, the HM7 engine goes up, not out, with all of its components arranged vertically. The movement of HM7 was entirely developed in-house by MB&F.

From bottom to top, the winding rotor, mainspring barrel, hour and minute indications, and 60-second flying tourbillon are all concentrically mounted around the central axis. Energy travels from the rotor at the very bottom of the movement to the flying tourbillon at the very top via staggered gearing that allows mainspring torque to be transmitted from one level to the next.
This concentric architecture allows for the hours and minutes to be displayed around the periphery of the movement. However, the concurrent problem arose of how to meet the energy requirements of a large-diameter time-display mechanism without negatively affecting the chronometric performance of the engine. The answer was to develop extra-large ceramic ball bearings, to support the hour and minute displays and rotate with a very low friction coefficient. The time-indication rings are machined from titanium to minimise mass while maximising rigidity.

INDICATIONS

Hours and minutes are displayed by two rings bearing three-dimensional massive numerals machined in titanium, giving a floating appearance by the use of DLC-coated stem attachments.

A mix of mirror polish and sandblasting is used to optimise legibility and create visually distinct shapes that are large enough to easily read but still small enough to remain within the weight-bearing capabilities of the engine torque.

The surfaces of the numerals and markers are filled with untinted Super-LumiNova, making them highly legible even by night.

In order to create the illusion that the numerals are floating above the engine and rotating around the tourbillon by mysterious means, the numerals are hand-painted with protective varnish before the entire component is subjected to a treatment that coats the unvarnished surfaces in DLC (diamond-like carbon). With the support structure thus darkened, the hour and minute numerals seem to hover above the engine with no readily visible means of mechanical support.

CASE

The case of HM7 Aquapod is basically a three-dimensional sandwich comprising two hemispheres of high-domed sapphire crystal on either side of a metal case band. The unidirectional bezel floats outside the case proper, while dual crowns are located between the two structures: the one on the left is for winding the movement (if necessary) and the crown on the right is for setting the time. The large crowns are ergonomically designed for ease of use.

The bezel begins as a ring of sapphire crystal, which is then laser engraved from the underside with numerals and markers. The resulting cavities are then filled with Super-LumiNova. Following that, a bright red lacquer is applied to the underside of the sapphire-crystal ring. The sapphire crystal ring is then fixed onto the platinum bezel, to be attached to the case.

HM7 AQUAPOD TECHNICAL DETAILS

Limited edition: Platinum 950 with red sapphire crystal bezel (25 pieces)

Engine
Three-dimensional vertical architecture, automatic winding, conceived and developed in-house by MB&F
Central flying 60-second tourbillon, with sapphire balance bridge
Power reserve: 72 hours
Balance frequency: 2.5 Hz / 18,000 bph
Three-dimensional winding rotor in titanium and platinum
Number of components: 391
Number of jewels: 35

Functions/indications
Hours and minutes displayed by two grade 5 titanum discs whit flying numbers, turning on oversized ceramic central bearings
Unidirectional rotating bezel for elapsed time
Numerals, markers and segments along the winding rotor in Super-LumiNova
A round segment from AGT Ultra technology (Ambiant Glow Technology) surrounds the flying tourbillon
Two crowns: winding on left and time-setting on right

Case
Spherical construction
Material: Platinum 950
Dimensions: 53.8 mm x 21.3 mm
Number of components: 83
Water resistance: 50 m / 150 feet / 5 atm

Sapphire crystals
Top and bottom sapphire crystals treated with anti-reflective coating on both faces

Strap & buckle
Rubber bracelet moulded in aircraft-grade Fluorocarbon FKM 70 Shore A elastomer, delivered in 3 colours, red, black and white, with folding buckle in platinum.

‘FRIENDS’ RESPONSIBLE FOR HM7 AQUAPOD

Concept: Maximilian Büsser / MB&F
Design: Eric Giroud / Through the Looking Glass
Technical and production management: Serge Kriknoff / MB&F
R&D: Ruben Martinez and Simon Brette / MB&F
Movement development: Ruben Martinez / MB&F

Case: Damien FERNIER / LAB
Sapphire crystals: Sebal
Sapphire tourbillon bridge: M. Stoller / Novocristal
Precision turning of wheels, pinions and axes: Rodrigue Baume / DMP, Paul-André Tendon / BANDI, AZUREA, ATOKLAPA, GIMMEL ROUAGES
Springs: Alain Pellet / Elefil Swiss
Wheels: Patrice Parietti / MPS Micro Precision Systems
Titanium rotor: Marc Bolis / 2B8 SARL
Plates and bridges: Rodrigue Baume / HORLOFAB and Benjamin Signoud / AMECAP
Mystery winding rotor in titanium/platinum: Roderich Hess / Cendres et métaux
Hand-finishing of movement components: Jacques-Adrien Rochat and Denis Garcia / C.-L. Rochat
Movement assembly: Didier Dumas, Georges Veisy, Anne Guiter, Emmanuel Maitre and Henri Porteboeuf / MB&F
In-house machining: Alain Lemarchand and Jean-Baptiste Prétot / MB&F
Quality control: Cyril Fallet / MB&F
After-Sales Service: Thomas Imberti / MB&F
Buckle: Dominique Mainier / G&F Châtelain / Roderich Hess / Cendres et métaux
Crowns: Cheval Frères SA
Anti-refection treatment for sapphire crystals: Jean-Michel Pellaton / BLOESCH
Dials (discs for hours – minutes): Emmanuel Desuzinges U-Man Horlogers, Aurora Amaral Moreira / Panova
Strap: Thierry Rognon / Valiance
Presentation box: ATS
Logistics and production: David Lamy, Isabel Ortega and Raphaël Buisine / MB&F

Marketing & Communication: Charris Yadigaroglou, Virginie Toral, Juliette Duru, Arnaud Légeret and Maëna Le Gat / MB&F
Sales: Thibault Verdonckt, Anna Rouveure and Jean-Marc Bories / MB&F
Graphic design: Samuel Pasquier / MB&F, Adrien Schulz and Gilles Bondallaz / Z+Z
Watch photography: Maarten van der Ende and Alex Teuscher
Portrait photography: Régis Golay / Federal
Webmasters: Stéphane Balet / Nord Magnétique, Victor Rodriguez and Mathias Muntz / Nimeo
Film: Marc-André Deschoux / MAD LUX
Texts: Suzanne Wong / REVOLUTION Switzerland

www.mbandf.com

There’s a cause for celebration as MB&F celebrates its 10th anniversary, by presenting the MB&F HMX (“X” timepiece as a thank you to those who have supported the brand throughout the years. But that’s not all because there’s more to this celebratory timepiece than just a commemoration of MB&F’s decade of excellence.

“A creative adult is a child who survived.” Such is the main mantra and concept behind the 10th year anniversary, celebrating childlike wonder and awe that have managed to survive and persevere through the challenges that adulthood brings. It’s fascinating to know how MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser used to dream of becoming a car designer, even having a collection of sketchbooks full of illustrations. This childhood dream of his has served as the true inspiration behind HMX—a commemorative proof of the creativity and ingenuity of Büsser, from children and surviving well till his adult life.

Without having to go overboard with a complicated technology and an unreasonably high price tag, MB&F is going for an understated style without sacrificing quality craftsmanship that’s true to what the brand represents. This Horological Machine is a real gem for the modern man looking for a sophisticatedly whimsical touch to their ensemble.

Such fruition of Büsser’s dreams is reflective of the lifestyle of a perfect gentleman with a need for speed. Aside from the design being inspired by supercars such as the slick Superleggera style, the four colours available are derived from racing themes—Lotus black, British racing green, Bugatti blue, and Ferrari red. Little boys who loved playing with race cars and had grown into sophisticated men would indeed be drawn to the design and mechanism of the HMX.

The unconventional shape of the HMX case brings about an individual character and edge—something that’s bound to make heads turn and make curious minds intrigued. Everything about this timepiece, its every line, curve, metal, finish, and colour have been carefully refined and improved until it achieved a certain kind of perfection that a commemorative model deserves. It’s not enough to only describe the beauty and depth of the intricacy behind this Horological Machine. And much like how boys are drawn into a toy that would take all of their interest, the HMX being the fruition of one little boy’s dreams is also bound to captivate and enrapture the attention of today’s wise men.

The MB&F HMX retails approximately at $30,000

ALBERIC VIRCHAUX
WATCHESPEDIA

Sherman

Fancy a little companion to help you make out the time? Well, the geniuses from MB&F have decided that watches shouldn’t always on one’s wrists; it could also be on your desk. Presenting Sherman, a dandy clockwork friend that reminds one of those animated robots on TV. This version, MB&F notes, doesn’t talk, fight monsters, jump around planets or do house chores, unfortunately.

Sherman’s expertise is time telling, and its makers testify that it does its job well. Among its other features: make one smile, and isn’t that an already valuable gain?

The magic that brought Sherman to life was a vision by Maximilian Büsser, made tangible through the hands of was L’Epée 1839, Switzerland’s specialised high-end clock manufacture. With this collaboration, the two intelligent makers successfully birthed a tank-treaded table clock, complete with its winding accessories.

But if one would assume this is a toy, think again; Sherman is a modern clock with a brilliant movement and exceptional physique. His make is composed of a mainspring barrel bridge made to support the tracks, movement spacers which appear to be shoulders for his arms, and his non-winking eyes are actually bolt heads that supports the regulator. There are movement plates and bridges which represent its whole skeleton.

Up in the head is a transparent mineral glass dome which showcases the mechanical brain–which in fact, is the regulator that manages the robot’s time-telling precision. The movement of the complication makes one imagine how robots “think”.

Sherman’s hands are actually holders, and it can easily guard small but special artefacts, like a key or a pen. And for those boring office moments, you can let Sherman cheer you up in an imaginative play, letting its legs tread on your note-filled environment. Sherman’s mechanics are based on an in-line eight-day movement by L’Epée 1839, which offers more than enough time of accurate hours before he demands rewinding.

Specifications:

  • L’Epée in-house designed movement
  • 2.5 Hz Frequency
  • 8-day Power Reserve
  • 148 components, 17 jewels
  • Incabloc shock protection system
  • Hours & minutes function
  • Dimensions: 143 mm tall x 109 mm wide x 80 mm deep
  • Weight: 0.9 kg

Sherman will be available in two versions: the palladium plated series and the yellow-gold plated series. Each comes in 200 pieces.

PASCAL GRENACHER

WATCHESPEDIA

HM6 SV

Dubbed as the ‘Space Pirate’, the 6th edition of MB&F‘s Horological Machine has been created to conquer galaxies. The unlikely shape may look alien in sight, but for any cosmically-fascinated collector, this piece is a keeper.

The four-cornered biomorphic case of the HM6 are all rounded edges, that’s because each are installed with a 360-degree sphere, capped by sapphire crystal domes. Like eyes, the numbers move from within, rotating vertically as they display the hours and minutes. Each sphere is manipulated by a powerful automatic winding rotor, supported by twin spherical turbines. With this complication, the inner architecture regulates the winding system to reduce wear and tear.

There’s another dome found at the very core, and it showcases a 60-second flying tourbillon, MB&F’s grand showcase of artistry and intelligence. It is the main organ of the HM6’s engine. A shielded which retracts back and forth protects this precious area from UV radiation, which may speed up the oxidation of the installed lubricants.

Irregularly formed, this timepiece is made for the out-of-this-world jaunters, ready to take the universe by storm. The make is composed of a sapphire crystal back case which highlights its 470+ components, all swinging harmoniously to create a beautiful movement. There’s a winding mechanism in 950 platinum make, adding a hint of sublime luxury in its every material.

The HM6 SV is a follow up to the much acclaimed HM6. With this product, MB&F successfully manages to show their mastery of using the sapphire crystal case embedded with precious metals. The case is made up of a sandwich construction of two separated sapphire crystal plates which are distinctly line with a metal band, making the entire movement naked and exposed to one’s eyes. MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser discloses that “the most beautiful part of HM6 was its movement,” and in this ground-breaking heir, the luxury watch brand manages to fulfil their desires: a magnificent, glorious exhibit of their mechanical prowess, tucked inside a sturdy, high-end crystal glass for watch lovers to lust after.

Specifications:

  • Automatic calibre
  • One-minute flying tourbillon
  • 2.5 Hz Frequency
  • 72-hour power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal plate sandwich make
  • Hours and minutes
  • Retractable tourbillon cage
  • Dual turbine

Available in 5N red gold or 950 platinum, both with sapphire crystal cases. There are only 8 pieces for each version sold in the market.

PASCAL GRENACHER

WATCHESPEDIA