MB&F Horological Machines – A Thematic Evolution: Space and Origins
MB&F Horological Machine
Space travel and exploration is as much a venture into the unknown as it is an attempt to understand the origins of existence. Where things are unknown or inexplicable, we often rely on our imagination to form stories to fill that gap in knowledge. The space-themed Horological Machines poetically reflect that sentiment.
This series is inspired by space stations of mid 20th Century science fiction. The Meccano-like construction of the bolted rectangular case forms the foundation for the two domed sapphires, beneath which are the two dials – the left, a retrograde date and bi-hemisphere moon phase; the right, a jumping hour with concentric retrograde minutes. The sapphire versions are perhaps the most like a space station. The moving and stationary components of the movement are fully visible, and it’s easy to see the artistic representation of human life beneath a giant glass oxygen dome of another satellite harking back to sci-fi creations of decades past.
There are two original iterations of the HM3, the Starcruiser and Sidewider, which are essentially the same watch, differentiated by how the watch wears on the arm. Sidewinder, as the name suggests, has the time-indicating cones running perpendicular to the arm and the crown to the side; Starcruiser, which would become the foundation for the later HM3 iterations, has the cones in line with the arm. Beneath the cones are the time displays: the day/date and hour indicator on one, and minutes/seconds on the other. The battle-axe rotor is visible through the central sapphire, and a date disc placed around the circumference.
The final iteration of the HM3, named the Megawind, returns to its spaceship roots. Foregoing the date indicator, it frees up room for a larger battle-axe rotor to be fitted in the movement. The Megawind retains the 12-hour display of its sibling, The Frog.
HM6: Space Pirate
The HM6 Space Pirate starts to bring together elements of past Horological Machines, as well as cues from the Legacy Machines. With almost no flat surface on the watch (only the display back sapphire is flat, the remaining 9 are all domed), it is, visually, a creation that pushes the notion of a watch to the extreme. The centre 60-second flying tourbillon, with its own retractable UV shield, is positioned like the control pod. The four surrounding pods (which house the hours and minutes indicator in front, and turbines which regulate the winding system in the back) could well be pirate pods that break away to attack.
HM1: The First Horological Machine
The watch that was the first in the MB&F family laid the foundations for the MB&F DNA. With its central 60-second tourbillon flanked on the side by separate hour and minute indicators, the multi-layered dial give the watch a sense of depth. On the underside, the battle-axe rotor makes its first appearance. Enclosed by an unusual figure-8 shaped case, there is a strong sense of otherworldliness in its construction. The HM1 was a strong statement by MB&F that it would challenge conventional notions of watchmaking and design, and that it would dare to be different. The is itself inspiring tale of friendship and kindness.
While each Horological Machine has its own character, there is a continuity in the designs to still bind as a collection. Perhaps it is the underlying sense of science fiction manifested in steampunk elements which achieves this congruency in the design language. Perhaps it is the glimpse into expansive possibilities of the human imagination which ties it all together.
A final note: for anyone who has met Max Büsser, or has heard him speak, you’ll know he is a compelling storyteller as he is a daring creator. While he is proud of his products, he is also humble and gives credit where it is due. His Horological Machines are the same: these creations are, undoubtedly, incredible pieces of watchmaking and mechanical art, and their stories only enhance their appeal.
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