United We Stand Among Independents Through Unprecedented Collaboration
In this crowning expression of the ties binding H. Moser & Cie. and MB&F for more than ten years, Edouard Meylan and Maximilian Büsser have composed a duet recital in the form of an exceptional concerto for devotees of fine watchmaking. For the first time in its history, MB&F is contributing to a Performance Art endeavour flowing in both directions in an entirely reciprocal manner. Within this framework, the two Maisons are co-signing a pair of creations whose DNA blends the main characteristics of each. A story of friendship between two men against a backdrop of shared values, for the pleasure of building and sharing, and then of jointly presenting the results of this extraordinary project.
H. Moser & Cie. and MB&F are both independent, human-scale Swiss companies. They are run by two passionate personalities, longstanding acquaintances who both appreciate and respect each other on both a personal and professional level. The brands have in fact been working together for more than ten years, with Precision Engineering AG – a sister company of H. Moser & Cie. – notably supplying MB&F’s balance springs. It is therefore not surprising that MB&F asked Edouard Meylan to take part as a “friend” to help create a Performance Art Piece. The latest aspect of this collaboration lies in its being a two-way street. Maximilian Büsser says: “When I called Edouard to tell him that I wanted to collaborate on a creation, I mentioned that I really liked the double balance-spring, the Moser fumé dials and the Concept watch series. Edouard immediately told me that he would let me borrow these features, but on condition that he could also reinterpret one of my machines.
After an initial moment of surprise, I gave it some thought. Being 50% Indian and 50% Swiss, I am firmly convinced that mixing DNA creates interesting results, so why not try the experiment in watchmaking? I therefore agreed and suggested the FlyingT model, which is particularly dear to my heart.” In a spirit of sharing and openness, while cultivating the notion of strength in unity, H. Moser & Cie. and MB&F have thus jointly created two models, available in several versions and issued in 15-piece limited series. This number is a nod to the 15th anniversary of MB&F as well as honouring the 15th anniversary of the relaunch of H. Moser & Cie. By pooling their strengths, these two competing yet friendly brands are working to harness the combined strengths of talented artisans, entirely in keeping with the philosophy adopted by MB&F.
LM101 MB&F X H. Moser
The Legacy Machine 101 distils the very quintessence of mechanical watchmaking: the balance wheel, the power reserve and the passing of time. It is therefore no coincidence that MB&F has chosen to revisit this model – one of the purest and “simplest” in its collection – since it is indeed minimalism that guided the creation of the LM101 MB&F x H. Moser model. Like H. Moser & Cie. and the “back to basics” approach embodied in its Concept watch series, MB&F has chosen to remove its logo and return to its roots and indeed to the very origins of horology, when only the movements were signed. In the same understated spirit, it has abandoned the floating domed subdials to display the hours and minutes as well as the 45-hour power reserve by means of hands placed directly on the main dial. The fumé dials borrowed from H. Moser & Cie. can thus be expressed in complete freedom, also enhanced by a refined bezel. Four fumé dials have been chosen for the LM101 MB&F x H. Moser: Red fumé, Cosmic Green fumé, Aqua Blue fumé and, of course, the famous Funky Blue fumé. Topped with a domed sapphire crystal, the case is made of steel, for only the third time in the history of MB&F.
The mesmerising large suspended balance wheel continues to take centre stage, albeit completely redesigned on the LM101 MB&F x H. Moser in order to highlight the beauty of the fumé dials. This beating heart, which represents the quintessence of watchmaking in the eyes of Maximilian Büsser, has been fitted with a double balance spring produced by Precision Engineering AG. Thanks to this pair of matching balance springs, the displacement of the point of gravity undergone by each spring as it expands is corrected, significantly improving precision and isochronism in a continuous quest for perfection. In addition, the paired balance springs also reduce the friction effect normally encountered with a single balance spring, resulting in optimised isochronism. Through the case back, the curved sapphire crystal reveals the ‘engine’ driving this timepiece. Unlike the base movement of the Legacy Machine 101, of which the finishes were determined by co-creator Kari Voutilainen, the aesthetics of the calibre that powers the LM101 MB&F x H. Moser is more contemporary, with a subtle NAC treatment to enhance its beauty.
H. Moser & Cie X MB&F – United We Stand Among Independents Through Unprecedented Collaboration
Edouard Meylan and Maximilian Büsser are delighted with this rewarding collaborative project. In addition to the beauty of the models created in tandem, two bodies of expertise and two sets of DNA have been blended and mutually enriched. The two different communities of the two Maisons have also pooled their skills in a wonderful spirit of openness and transparency. This experience leaves Edouard and Maximilian with a keen sense of coming back to a sense of pleasure: the pleasure of working together and of creating.
H. Moser & Cie. and MB&F are both independent, human-scale Swiss companies. They are run by two passionate personalities, longstanding acquaintances who both appreciate and respect each other on both a personal and professional level. The brands have in fact been working together for more than ten years, with Precision Engineering AG – a sister company of H. Moser & Cie. – notably supplying MB&F’s balance springs. It is therefore not surprising that MB&F asked Edouard Meylan to take part as a “friend” to help create a Performance Arts piece. The latest aspect of this collaboration lies in its being a two-way street. Maximilian Büsser says:
“When I called Edouard to tell him that I wanted to collaborate on a creation, I mentioned that I really liked the double balance-spring, the Moser fumé dials and the Concept watch series. Edouard immediately told me that he would let me borrow these features, but on condition that he could also reinterpret one of my machines. After an initial moment of surprise, I gave it some thought. Being 50% Indian and 50% Swiss, I am firmly convinced that mixing DNA creates interesting results, so why not try the experiment in watchmaking? I therefore agreed and suggested the FlyingT model, which is particularly dear to my heart.”
In a spirit of sharing and openness, while cultivating the notion of strength in unity, H. Moser & Cie. and MB&F have thus jointly created two models, available in several versions and issued in 15-piece limited series. This number is a nod to the 15th anniversary of MB&F as well as honouring the 15th anniversary of the relaunch of H. Moser & Cie. By pooling their strengths, these two competing yet friendly brands are working to harness the combined strengths of talented artisans, entirely in keeping with the philosophy adopted by MB&F.
Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon – H. Moser X MB&F
H. Moser & Cie. has borrowed from MB&F the concept of three-dimensional movements, a strong element of the Geneva Maison’s identity, protected by a sapphire dome and featuring a one-minute flying tourbillon that rises above the main dial through a ventricular opening appearing at 12 o’clock. Benefiting from the expertise of its sister company Precision Engineering AG, H. Moser & Cie. has equipped its tourbillon with a cylindrical balance spring, the same as that developed by Precision Engineering AG for MB&F’s LM Thunderdome. Invented in the 18th century, the cylindrical balance spring is reminiscent of a worm- or corkscrew, rising perpendicularly around the upper rod of the balance staff.
Commonly used in historical marine chronometers at the time, it offers the advantage of developing concentrically, and therefore geometrically, since it works perfectly along the axis of its pivots. This gives it a significant advantage over the flat balance spring, whose opposite ends tend to exert forces on the pivots, despite the Philips or Breguet terminal curves which were specifically developed to partially correct the non-concentric opening of the balance spring. Fitted with a Breguet overcoil at both attachment points, the cylindrical balance spring reduces pivot friction and greatly improves isochronism. Due to its specific shape, the cylindrical balance spring is far more difficult to produce and takes ten times longer to make than a traditional balance spring.
The relationship between man and watch is as nuanced as the one between man and dog. The best examples of such connections last for years, even decades, shaping lives and stories. In some cases, the watch chooses its owner as much as the other way around. After all, whether it’s your first or hundredth time, there’s something special about the moment you set eyes on The One. So it is, as they say, with Man’s Best Friend. Presenting Horological Machine N°10 ‘Bulldog’.
A rounded, compact body of titanium or red gold, coupled with a generous ration of sapphire crystal. Two prominent aluminium time-display “eyes”, rolling at anyone who dares look its way. A collar studded with projections that allow you to wind the mainspring or set the time. Stout but flexible “legs” that wrap firmly around your wrist. A massive jaw. And above all, a big heart beating steadily at 2.5Hz (18,000vph).
Just like the creature for which it is named, there’s more to HM10 Bulldog than meets the eye. Its hinged jaws open and shut according to the amount of wind left in its mainspring — a fully closed mouth tells you that “Bulldog” is wound down and ready for a nap. If you can clearly see the rows of shining teeth lining the jaws, get ready, because that means “Bulldog” is full of fight, charged up with a 45 hours of mainspring energy. This massive power-reserve indication has been carefully designed and calibrated to consume the least energy possible, allowing HM10 Bulldog to direct its considerable mainspring torque solely towards its suspended balance and its revolving hour and minute domes.
The manual-winding engine of HM10 Bulldog was designed and developed in-house, leveraging the best of MB&F’s technical expertise built up over the years; longtime members of the MB&F Tribe will recognise elements that hew closely to the horological lab’s best-loved creations. The large suspended balance that hovers just beneath the central dome of sapphire crystal was made possible by the various iterations of this mechanism in the Legacy Machine collection. The massive jaws that indicate the level of mainspring wind are a much-expanded demonstration of the power-reserve management that was first deployed in the 2014 LM1 Xia Hang. The paper-thin aluminium domes have their roots in the HM3 Frog and were refined in 2014’s HM6. Even the grillework design motif in the “ribs” set beneath the balance and in the tail-end of the body echoes the automotive-inspired HM8, HMX and HM5. Taken altogether, the message is clear: HM10 Bulldog is a highly bred machine.
Despite its outsize personality — measuring 45mm across, 54mm from nose to tail and with a maximum height of 24mm — HM10 Bulldog is surprisingly wearable. Its sprung strap attachment “legs” allow the body to fit closely around the wrist, with the calf-leather strap as robust as any well-made leash — fastened with either a folding buckle or Velcro system. Available in both titanium and a combination of titanium and red gold, HM10 Bulldog is assembled with highly distilled expertise in micro-mechanical engineering. Fitting the requisite elements of timekeeping and time display within such a limited three-dimensional volume, while maintaining top levels of artistry and finish, requires careful balance between technical and aesthetic factors.
MB&F creations have always attracted a highly loyal audience and HM10 Bulldog returns the favour in spades: its allegiances go solely to its owner. Both the time indication and the power reserve display are visible only from the point of view of the wearer.
One final piece of advice for those who come across Horological Machine N°10 ‘Bulldog’ is engraved on its body, like a cautionary message you might find on the collar of a particularly feisty canine. The beast may be intimidating, but it ultimately exists in service of another. People would do well to remember — “Forget the dog, beware of the owner”.
MB&F Horological Machine N°10 ‘Bulldog’ is available in two launch editions: grade 5 titanium body with blue “eyes”, and 18k red-gold and titanium body with black “eyes”.
Inspirations for HM10 Bulldog
The design came to Maximilian Büsser while he was travelling in Japan; Horological Machine N°10 ‘Bulldog’ bounded up in his mind’s eye just as a loyal pup might greet a returning master.
“What you see now in front of you is more or less exactly what I saw at the time,” says Büsser, “and it was the first time I actually saw a watch in my mind, just like that.”
HM10 Bulldog coalesced from various MB&F influences and motifs that dedicated enthusiasts of the brand will immediately recognise. In a deeply affirmative way, HM10 Bulldog is simultaneously a reflection of MB&F and a paean to the fidelity of their followers. The traditional saying “as stubborn as a bulldog” parallels the determination of MB&F to chart an untraditional path outside of conventional watch design, sometimes with creations that have polarised the horological community. In similar vein, the British bulldog may be a dog of pedigree and stature, but it is certainly no crowd-pleaser.
The Latin root for the word “animal” is anima, meaning “soul” or “spirit”; the enlivening element. Little wonder that the MB&F creations that draw inspiration from the natural world — such as Horological Machine N°3 ‘Frog’ and Horological Machine N°7 ‘Aquapod’ — have also provoked some of the strongest responses. HM10 Bulldog follows this evocative path, with its large eyes, expressively mobile mouth and exposed heart.
Legacy Machine 101 (LM101) was launched in 2014 and houses the very first movement developed entirely in-house by MB&F – this initiated a long series of movements developed internally. The latest addition to the series – the LM101 Palladium edition – is also the first MB&F piece in palladium, a rare silvery-white metal. The naturally white colour of palladium contrasts with a new sunray dial, which varies between grey and shades of pale blue and green depending on the light.
For a classically sized 40mm wristwatch, Legacy Machine 101 covers a lot of ground. Or to be more precise, LM101 covers a lot of time: over 100 years between inspiration and realisation.
Legacy Machine 101 embodies and accentuates the very essence of what is essential in a wristwatch: the balance wheel, which is responsible for regulating precision; how much power remains in the mainspring, which indicates when it needs to be next wound; and of course, the time.
Visually, LM101 is dominated by the monumental suspended balance wheel, its sedate oscillations drawing the eye ever closer. Two pristine-white subdials hover just above the fine sunray-engraved movement top plate: At the top right, highly legible hours and minutes are displayed by beautiful blued-gold hands contrasting against the immaculate white, while the 45-hour power reserve indicator is displayed in a smaller, but similar subdial below. Two ‘Frost’ limited editions add even more contrast between these elements and the effervescent backdrop of the hand-finished frosted dial plate.
In an apparent feat of magic, the sapphire crystal protecting the dial appears to be invisible; creating the illusion that you can reach out and touch the prodigious balance wheel hanging mesmerisingly from elegant twin arches. The arches are milled from a solid block of metal and require many hours of hand polishing to achieve their mirror-like lustre.
Turning over Legacy Machine 101, the display back crystal – domed to reduce the thickness of the caseband and, visually, the height of the watch – reveals the exquisitely hand-finished movement. Sensually curved plates and bridges pay homage to the style found in high quality historic pocket watches and testify to the respect accorded to historical legitimacy.
With its undulating Geneva waves, hand polished bevels, gold chatons and countersunk blued screws, the beauty of LM101’s movement doesn’t just stay faithful to a bygone era. It also heralds the dawn of a new epoch as it was the first MB&F calibre to be entirely conceived and designed in-house.
While award-winning independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen took responsibility for the movement’s fine finishing specifications and fidelity to the horological past, its architecture and construction are 100% pure MB&F.
LM101 was first launched in 18k red or white gold, then in two limited ‘Frost’ editions with frosted finishing (18 and 33 pieces), followed by a limited edition of 33 pieces in platinum 950. The latest addition to the series is the LM101 Palladium, limited to 18 pieces.
The Ladies’ Complication Watch Prize is awarded to MB&F, for the Legacy Machine FlyingT.
Only Watch, the world’s most high-profile charity watch auction, returns in 2019 in its eighth edition to continue raising awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and pursuing a cure for this genetic disorder primarily affecting male children. MB&F is participating in the Only Watch charity auction for the fifth time, donating one of its creations to be sold in support of the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies.
All previous MB&F Machines created for Only Watch were unique pieces from existing collections that incorporated visual elements related to the auction. For this 2019 edition of Only Watch, MB&F and L’Epée have made the unprecedented choice to contribute a previously unreleased piece, highlighting the special nature of the auction.
‘Tom & T-Rex’ will be the first – and a unique – example of the T-Rex clock co-created by MB&F and L’Epée 1839, which is planned for general release at the end of August 2019.
What sets ‘Tom & T-Rex’ apart from the main T-Rex collection to follow? A sculpture mounted atop the body of the hybrid beast, shaped like the figure of a young child. The rider of T-Rex – who MB&F and L’Epée have named Tom – is both companion and ward of his redoubtable steed.
Tom specifically represents the children living with the degenerative disease that is Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which causes the gradual loss of basic motor functions, including the ability to walk. Tom, who spends his waking days tethered to an unfavourable reality, has found in T-Rex a friend who can take him on adventures beyond his wildest dreams. Measuring only 4.3cm high, the sitting rider is less than a fifth as tall as the 26.5cm T-Rex; in real-life proportions, it could easily look right into the second floor of an average apartment block. Cross-legged in a particularly youthful, tranquil yet vulnerable pose, Tom stares down into a transparent blue marble of Murano glass nestled in his cupped hands, perhaps imagining a different world…
Children are capable of great imaginative feats, and especially so in the case of those limited by illness or disability. T-Rex offers an escape for elastic minds, carrying its little companions away into fantastical realms with the earth-shaking strides of the mightiest of dinosaurs, under the fierce protection of an all-seeing cyborg eye. Made of hand-blown Murano glass, the “eyeball” also functions as a clock dial, indicating hours and minutes via two curved hands driven from the centre of the hemitoroidal component.
T-Rex is a metaphor for the factors that sustain the daily existence of a sick child: the flights of imagination that nourish the spirit and the scientific advancements that will one day effect a long-awaited cure. These symbolic elements are without a doubt what strike at first – but they are substantiated by the mechanical nature of the clock, crafted according to highest-quality clock making tradition. Beating within the 201 finely finished components is a hand-wound mechanical movement conceived and manufactured entirely in-house by L’Epée 1839: hours and minutes are regulated by the balance wheel beating at 2.5Hz (18,000vph), powered by a single barrel offering no less than 8 days of power reserve. Time is set with a key, fitted through the centre of the Murano glass dial, while the power reserve is separately maintained with the same key at the rear of the movement.
T-Rex is crafted primarily from palladium-plated brass, bronze, stainless steel and Murano glass, the contrasting strength and fragility of the materials providing a challenge to balance when executing the bold design. Despite being completely fixed in position, the jointed legs of T-Rex are deliberately posed to suggest energy and a sense of motion. A combination of sandblasted and polished surfaces directs the way that light interacts with the body of T-Rex, so that the clock seems light and agile, ready to run off with its diminutive passenger to a land where disease has ceased to exist.
If you’re a serious watch enthusiast, you have undoubtedly heard of Loupe System – quite simply the most advanced portable magnifying loupes in the world today.
Loupe System has teamed up with MB&F to create Project LpX: an intergalactic magnification station enabling accurate viewing of watch movement details, while simultaneously reminding you of the immensity of our galaxy. Five elements combine to make a rocket entity much larger than the sum of its parts.
This versatile rocket ship offers dust-free storage of the highest quality magnification loupes, but does much more than that while sitting on a desk looking pretty: Project LpX is a smile-on-your-face reminder of the space-themed stories many of us read as a child, inspiring countless dreams of space travel and explorations of the unknown.
And then, you turn off the lights to discover an eerie greenish glow emanating from underneath the rocket base, making the capsule appear to lift right off the desk. The smile on your face broadens as more childhood memories flood back.
Project LpX is made up of five modular parts, perfectly packaged in a sturdy travel case:
The anodized aluminium rocket base contains a tritium capsule “booster” emitting a cosmic glow in the dark, making it ready for take-off in search of new lifeforms. The light comes from a self-luminous tritium capsule with a half-life of 15 years; torches/flashlights using the same technology were part of the equipment that NASA issued to Apollo astronauts. The glow requires no supplementary power sources and it is not affected by temperature, humidity, or altitude. Polished and satin-finished stainless steel, non-articulated landing struts are also attached to the base so that Project LpX can stand on its own.
Three Modular Body Components
The rocket can be configured to accommodate one, two, or three Loupe System loupes, each hidden inside the rocket to be revealed at the owner’s leisure (and pleasure). The three anodized aluminium “stage” components attach to each other using a clicking bayonet system (similar to the lens mount for an SLR camera), making them easy to assemble and disassemble (or play with). Project LpX comes with two Loupe System loupes in different strengths: 3x and 6x magnification.
The Nose Cone
The anodized aluminium top rocket section doesn’t just minimise aerodynamic drag, it points toward space providing a constant reminder that there’s more to discover out there. The nose cone can be attached to any of the modular “stage” components using the same bayonet system.
Bonus: The Universal Clip
Loupe System’s universal clip is also included in the case, allowing you to attach the loupes to any mobile phone or tablet, and thus use them to take macro photos or videos.
Project LpX launches in 4 limited editions of 99 pieces each in black, blue, red or green.
Project LpX: inspiration and design
Synchronous, forward-thinking imagination knows no bounds: the idea for this ballistic project began when the founder of Loupe System saw MB&F’s just-launched Arachnophobia at Baselworld 2016. As fate would have it, he simultaneously presented a spider-shaped holder for his high-quality loupes at his booth at the same fair. The following year at Baselworld, when MB&F launched the rocket-shaped Destination Moon clock, Loupe System had a rocket-shaped loupe-stacking system. And then again at Baselworld 2018, when MB&F launched the spacecraft-like Fifth Element weather station, Loupe System had a flying saucer-shaped loupe holder at its booth. That final act of synchronicity convinced MB&F founder Max Büsser that a cosmic co-creation with Loupe System was virtually predestined.
“For three years running, we separately came up with the same ideas presented at the same editions of Baselworld,” says the founder of Loupe System. The third time was obviously a charm!
Project LpX was designed by Maximilian Maertens, the same designer responsible for the recently introduced clock T-Rex (which MB&F co-created with clock specialists L’Epée 1839). Maertens, who began as an intern working with Büsser on various projects, was loosely inspired by both past MB&F projects and the SpaceX Falcon, a partially reusable two-stage heavy-lift launch vehicle.
“Project LpX” (pronounced “loupe ex”) derives from the working code name for the project begun in 2018 – “Project X”. The X caught on, and prefixed with an abbreviated version of Loupe, became Project LpX.
In the post-war years of the late 1940s and 1950s, aerodynamic principles were just beginning to take root in the field of automotive design. The boxy, carriage-like shapes of previous decades were melting into something more streamlined. At the same time, curvilinear forms became more prominent, carrying the immediate promise of power and speed. The sophisticated computer modelling and wind-tunnel technology we have today were far-off dreams at that time – designers were guided more by their aesthetic sense than by any scientific precepts.
The result was some of the most beautiful man-made objects ever created, epitomised by automobiles like the Mercedes-Benz W196 and 1948 Buick Streamliner. Other industries followed, notably that of aviation, producing aircraft such as the sleek-bodied, snub-nosed De Havilland Venom that patrolled Swiss airspace for 30 years.
Presenting Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’, inspired by the dynamic profiles of automotive and aviation mid-century design.
Reminiscent of a jet engine, a highly complex case in alternating polished and satin finishes encloses an equally complex manual winding movement, developed fully in house. Independent twin balance wheels beat at a leisurely 2.5Hz (18,000bph) on each flank of Horological Machine N°9, visible under elongated domes of sapphire crystal. A third pane of sapphire crystal on the central body reveals the gearbox of the HM9 engine: a planetary differential that averages the output of both balance wheels to provide one stable reading of the time.
Sitting perpendicular to the rest of the HM9 engine is the dial indicating hours and minutes, driven by conical gears that ensure precise engagement even when motion is put through a 90° planar translation. The winding and setting crown is located on the rear of the central body, its deep fluting providing ergonomic grip as well as aesthetic coherence with the overall design.
Two satin-finished air scoops are mounted alongside the pods containing the oscillating balance wheels, evoking the raised vents that allow continuous airflow to high-performance motor engines.
HM9 Flow treads the path first opened by the HM4 Thunderbolt and subsequently by the HM6 Space Pirate, utilising a geometrically complex combination of milled case elements in both sapphire crystal and metal (grade 5 titanium and 18k red gold). However, HM9 goes beyond its predecessors, redefining what was thought to be possible in case design – illustrated for example by a patented three-dimensional gasket ensuring water resistance.
Quite naturally, HM9 Flow was therefore declined in two versions, drawing their inspiration from the two main sources: A “Road” version with a speedometer-style dial; an “Air” version with an aviator-style dial.
The Horological Machine N°9’Flow’ was launched in 2018 in two limited titanium editions of 33 pieces each: the “Air” version with darkened movement; the “Road” version with pink gold treated movement.
In 2019, MB&F presents two new limited editions in 5N+ red gold with 18 pieces each: the “Air” version with blackened movement and rhodium-plated balance wheels; the “Road” version with rhodium-plated movement and red gold balance wheels.
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
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
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
Material: Platinum 950
Dimensions: 53.8 mm x 21.3 mm
Number of components: 83
Water resistance: 50 m / 150 feet / 5 atm
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