With so many of its previous Horological Machines already cruising through the time/space continuum at unimaginable speeds, MB&F’s latest model, the HM9 Flow, has to travel light years to catch up. But, since the HM9 Flow is essentially a jet engine, it will undoubtedly reach the MB&F HM4 Thunderbolt and the MB&F HM6 Space Pirate very soon.
Launching today from deep within the bowels of MB&F’s mysterious Geneva HQ, Horological Machine No.9 clearly recalls aeronautic jet propulsion with its two satin-finished air scoops seamlessly mounted alongside two balance wheels ensconced in sapphire-topped pods. Between them, the movement’s prominent (and unusual) planetary differential gear ensures that the dial, showing hours and minutes, remains precise, even though the dial is set at a 90-degree angle to the movement.
Of course, MB&F is well versed in creating time machines that seem to defy gravity and the laws of physics. But this watch demonstrates that MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser also frequently battles with watchmaking convention. Because of HM9’s unusual aerodynamic shape, Busser and Friends needed to divide the 57mm-wide titanium case along two axes and devise an unprecedented three-dimensional gasket for the watch. This patented innovation, which makes the case water resistant to 30 meters, is completely new in watchmaking.
The engine within this dramatic case took three years to develop, and could very likely only have been devised by the team that has created fourteen unusual movements, at least one of which (Legacy Machine No. 2) also utilized a double balance paired with a differential.
How does the differential operate? As MB&F explains: “The twin balance wheels of the HM9 engine feed two sets of chronometric data to a central differential for an averaged reading. The balances are individually impulsed and spatially separated to ensure that they beat at their own independent cadences of 2.5Hz (18,000bph) each. This is important to ensure a meaningful average, just as how a statistically robust mathematical average should be derived from discrete points of information.”
MB&F emphasizes that unlike other multi-balance movements, this engine deliberately avoids a resonance effect (a type of harmonic mind meld among two linked oscillators) in favor of a system using the two balance wheels to obtain “discrete sets of chronometric data” translated by the differential to produce one stable averaged reading.
Also note the polished, curved arms that hold the balances. These recall the MB&F’s Legacy Machines, where the arches dominate the dials. Here their placement is almost as critical to the dramatic architecture of the piece, despite being less surprising than they were when we discovered them in the earlier watches.
The polished arches also serve to contrast with the finish of the movement bridges below. MB&F is offering the movement with a choice of two finishes: an ‘Air’ edition with darkened NAC movement and aviation-style dial, and ‘Road’ edition with a rose-gold-plated movement and a speedometer-style dial. Each choice contrasts beautifully with those shiny arches.
In short, MB&F’s latest Horological Machine, No. 9 Flow exhibits a kinetic aerodynamic shape that, with judicious polish and satin finishing and dramatic sapphire windows, nicely frames a technically exacting engine. Flow fits perfectly into this independent maker’s ongoing series of retro-futuristic time machines.
Each of the two MB&F HM9 Flow editions, Air and Road, will be made in titanium cases and limited to 33 pieces each. Price: $182,000.
Specifications: MB&F HM9 Flow
Movement: Manual-winding in-house movement, Two fully independent balance wheels with planetary differential, 18,000bph frequency, single barrel with 45-hour power reserve, hours and minutes on vertical dial display
Case: Grade-5 57mm x 47mm x 23mm titanium, 43 components, water resistant to30 meters, assembled in three segments with patented three-dimensional gasket, five sapphire crystals
Strap: Hand-stitched brown calf-leather strap with custom-designed titanium folding buckle