Inspired in part by an obscure 1970s watch known as the Amida Digitrend, MB&F today unveiled its fifth “horological machine”. Introducing the piece, MB&F says the HM5 (Horological Machine 5) “may appear relatively simple, but it’s complicated: the hour and minute displays look straightforward, but they are bi-directional jumping hours with indications inversed, reflected 90° to the vertical and magnified 20%; HM5 has a futuristic case design, but it’s from the 1970s; HM5 has a mechanical movement, but it was inspired by an era when quartz was King; the rear louvres on supercars block light, but on HM5 they let it in; HM5 has exhaust pipes, but they drain water.”
As shown below, the HM5 is direct homage to the daring and rebellious Amida Digitrend which refused to accept the quartz revolution of the 1970s. Though unlike the steel case and the acrylic prism of the Amida Digitrend, MB&F Chief Max Busser has brought the watch into the 21st century with modern day high tech materials and precision mechanics. Rear window lourvres of 70s supercars also played a key role in the HM5 design.
Price: 54000 CHF (about $58k at current f/x), limited to just 66 pieces.
MB&F HM5 “On the Road Again”
Zirconium case with internal water resistant steel engine container
Note that the watch comes on a rubber strap, a first for MB&F.
The vertical forward-facing display is actually a reflection of the time discs through a sapphire crystal block:
An optical grade sapphire prism reflects the horizontal hour and minutes so that they display vertically and a convex lens magnifies the numeral by 20% for improved legibility
The Amida Digitrend, circa 1970s:
Notice prism on the Amida was made of acrylic!
Amida Digitrend ad for the 1976 Basel Fair
The HM5 also takes unmistakable cues from the sleek low-slung supercars of the epoch. The Lamborghini Miura being but one example of a supercar with louvres on their near horizontal rear windows to block sunlight and heat.
MB&F Founder Maximillian Busser Wearing the HM5 and Playing with Lamborghini Miura Model
Conversely, the slide operated louvres on HM5 open to allow light in to charge on the Super-LumiNova numbers on the time disks.
The sideview of the case also bears some similarities to an earlier MB&F machine, the HM4 Thunderbolt.
Because the outer “case” is not secure from the elements, the movement is actually housed in an “inner” watertight case. Integral to the inner case is part of the sapphire crystal prism which allows light down onto the super-luminova numbers of the hour and minute disc (when the flaps are open):
The HM5 “Engine”
The movement was done in collaboration with MB&F friends are Jean-François Mojon (of Harry Winston Opus X fame, among other notorious work) and the acclaimed Vincent Boucard of Chronode. Chronode has been key in creating the MB&F Legacy Machine 1, the Cyrus Klepcys, among others). Like other MB&F machines, the HM5 engine is built on the Girard-Perragaux cal. 3100.
The disc on top is the jumping hours, the lower disc the minutes. The discs are bi-directional meaning the user can easily set time on the watch. Note that the numbers are printed in reverse so as to display normally when reflected through the sapphire glass prism.
Nicely done, Max Busser & Friends!