Long time readers of this site know that MB&F is a progressive brand, and if you want to truly experience its horological mastery, a watch from the ‘Horological Machine’ family has to be sampled. The Horological Machines (HM) are a delight for the eyes and now there’s a new one, and no, it isn’t called the HM7. What you see below is the stunning MB&F HM8 CAN-AM.
The HM8 CAN-AM is offered in two editions – 18K white-gold and titanium, and 18K red-gold and titanium. Like some previous MB&F HMs, the HM8 CAN-AM features optical prisms to display the time, and there’s a beautifully finished ‘battle-axe’ rotor sitting in plain sight on the top of the timepiece.
If you’re looking at this newest machine’s name and are wondering ‘what the heck is CAN-AM’, well, let us explain. In the 1960s Formula One racing was still a heavily European sport that placed a number of restrictions on teams in terms of the cars they could build and race – one of the most notable was a horsepower restriction. These restrictions didn’t sit well with a number of individuals (they’d probably vomit if they knew about modern day Formula One restrictions) on the Western side of the Atlantic, who decided to create their own racing series known as the Canadian-American Challenge Cup or CAN-AM.
CAN-AM was a Group 7 SCCA/CASC sports car racing series that ran from 1966 to 1987, and compared to Formula One, CAN-AM opted for an ‘anything goes’ approach. The cars just needed to have two seats, bodywork around the wheels, had to meet basic safety requirements, and had to finish at qualifying laps. Beyond this, anything and everything was thrown at cars that appeared at the CAN-AM races – MB&F tells us that while Formula One stayed with 500- to 600-horsepower engines for many years, some CAN-AM cars developed 1,000-horsepower, and could lap certain race tracks faster than the Formula One cars at the time.
The most prominent functional and visual aesthetic on the CAN-AM cars were their massive chrome roll bars – these were there to ensure that should a car get away from its driver and end up in a life threatening roll, the driver’s head would be protected by the raised roll bars. Paying tribute to those legendary vehicles, the HM8 CAN-AM’s most prominent visual anchor are its own ‘roll bars’.
The HM8 was conceptualised by MB&F CEO and Creative Director Maximilian Büsser and was designed by Eric Giroud. On HM8, the roll bars are made from Grade 5 titanium, which is both light and tough but because titanium is hard to mill in the shape that you see on the watch, MB&F had to get creative. The roll bars are milled from a solid block of Ti-6Al-4V, which is a blend of pure titanium with 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium, in addition to small amounts of iron and oxygen. MB&F tells us that the Ti-6Al-4V alloy is much stronger than the more common pure titanium, and offers an excellent mix of lightness, strength, and resistance to corrosion.
In addition to the roll bars, the HM8 CAN-AM has another nifty automotive trait – on the bottom of the watch, you’ll find what looks like two oil pans or ‘sumps’. On car engines this is where oil gathers and is scavenged to lubricate the moving parts, and while we’re sure they’re not serving that purpose on the HM8, it’s a design trait that looks cool.
The top of the HM8’s case gives you a glimpse of the watch’s own 4Hz ‘engine’, however it is more impressive than you might think. While it looks as though the top of the case features a simple circular piece of sapphire crystal, the reality is that the entire top of the HM8 case is one piece of crystal, and MB&F has even worked to make certain areas of the crystal present with a bluish border.
Underneath this crystal lurks a Sowind base calibre that is linked to a MB&F in-house developed bi-directional jumping hour and trailing minute indication module. MB&F deliberately flipped the movement over so you can see the 22K gold rotor through the top of the case, and when fully wound, this 247-component calibre offers 42-hours of power reserve.
We reckon the HM7 will appear in 2017, possibly at SIHH, but until then, you have the magnificent HM8 CAN-AM to keep you busy. The retail price for this piece is US $84,000 and if you want to see it, head down to the M.A.D. Gallery Dubai at Al Serkal Avenue.
To learn more about the HM8 CAN-AM, click here.
Check out our hands-on video of the HM8 CAN-AM below.