MB&F reveals its most technologically evolved Horological Machine in the HM8 Mark 2. With a new “chassis” in titanium and a body panel made of CarbonMacrolon, are you ready for a new horological supercar for your wrist?
MB&F’s connection to cars runs deep, starting in 2012 with the HM5, followed by the HMX in 2015, and the HM8 in 2016. Each of these iterations is linked by its instantly recognizable speedometer-style display on the side of the case that recalls the daring and futuristic design of the 1970s. This link goes back to founder Maximilian Büsser’s childhood, and his dream of becoming a car designer.
Finding inspiration from the Amida Digitrend, a watch dating back to the 1970s. Working on a similar idea, MB&F employed a sapphire prism that would allow the jumping hours and sweeping minutes to be indicated vertically, when they are, actually, flat as a pancake on top of the movement. The time was indicated in a window that resembled an old-style speedometer on the front of the case that could also be easily viewed while driving, no less. Unlike the Amida, with its discs next to each other, the MB&F HM design features discs that are one on top of the other, maximising the size of the digits and therefore the legibility.
The idea didn’t end there, as the mission was to make the numerals look almost digital or electronic. This was achieved using sapphire disks that were coated with a black metallization, leaving the numerals clear. Super-LumiNova® was then added underneath the sapphire disc, so that the luminescence would be completely flat, not bulbous as it appears when it is applied to the dial. It is interesting to note that the numerals had to be created back-to-front as they get reversed in the prism.
The HM8 took its design cues from Can-Am cars (hence the nickname) from the famous Canadian American Racing Championship. The HM8 Mark 2 finds inspiration in different sources, such as the iconic Porsche 918 Spyder for the shape of the body, and the Zagato double bubble for the sapphire crystal.
With the original HM8 ‘Can-Am’, a sapphire crystal allowed a view on the spinning rotor. The same movement, based on a Girard-Perregaux calibre, provides the base for the brand-new HM8 Mark 2.
Under the Hood
Much of the technology inside the HM8 Mark 2 is not visually obvious, starting with the titanium chassis, which is extremely complicated to mill. Even in stainless steel, it would have been extremely complex to make, but the hardness of this alloy really put MB&F’s technicians to the test.
The same is true of the CarbonMacrolon® body panels, which due to the small production quantities, could only be milled from a block, adding another layer of complexity to the watch’s coachwork. The double-curved sapphire crystal in the HM8 Mark 2 is also complex to produce, with an extremely high risk of breakage in the production process. The battle axe rotor made from 22-carat gold measures in at 0.2mm could only be stamped, with the engraving incorporated into the stamp, as it could not be machined due to the thinness.
Finally, not quite under the hood, but equally hidden, is a brand-new type of crown that has a sort of “double de-clutch” system. This works by pushing the crown in and turning it three-quarters of a turn to release it before using it to set the time. This has the advantage of gaining space and providing additional security to the system, a genuine advantage for a sports watch.
A New Composite Material
The HM8 Mark 2 is built from an independent water-resistant chassis, with CarbonMacrolon® body panels. Developed specifically for MB&F, CarbonMacrolon® is a composite material composed of a polymer matrix injected with carbon nanotubes, which add strength and rigidity. Carbon nanotubes offer superior tensile strength and stiffness than traditional carbon fibre reinforcing. MB&F’s CarbonMacrolon® is a solid material that is hard and can be coloured and finished in a number of ways, including polishing, sand-blasting and satin-finishing. In addition to all these attributes, it weighs eight times less than steel, making it extremely versatile and interesting from both a technical and design point of view.
For the new HM8 Mark 2, this coachwork comes in a choice of white or British racing green CarbonMacrolon® that has a matt finish on the top and a high polish on the sides. The white version is paired with a green CVD rotor and light green minute markers, while the British racing green version comes with a red gold rotor and balance wheel and turquoise minute markers and is limited to 33 pieces.