MB&F exists to push boundaries, and after crafting wonderful timepieces that were inspired by space, the sky, as well as road and track, the independent horological lab has now delivered its first aquatic timepiece. It looks like a mechanical jellyfish, it’s called the Horological Machine 7 Aquapod (HM7 Aquapod), and it’s amazing.
The idea for this incredibly organic looking timepiece came from the mind of MB&F Founder Maximilian Büsser, who encountered jellyfish during a family beach holiday. The brand tells us the concept for HM7 came quickly, however developing the timepiece (with the design assistance of Eric Giroud) took a number of years because of the unique shape of the case, and the need for a new, purpose-built movement.
For anyone keeping track, MB&F has already created (and these are seriously impressive numbers) 12 calibres in 11 years – this is number 13. The long gestation period ultimately pushed MB&F to release HM8 last year, several months ahead of HM7 (read about HM8 here).
The basic architecture of the Aquapod’s massive case (it measure 53.8mm in diameter and 21.3mm thick) is essentially a sandwich featuring a metal case band sitting in the middle of two high-domed sapphire crystals. The unidirectional ceramic bezel is attached to the metal main case, and encircles the timepiece, while two crowns sit within the perimeter of the bezel. What’s interesting to note here is that this is the first Horological Machine to have a round case, and moreover, this is also the first time that MB&F has equipped a HM with a bezel.
If you’re looking at the top sapphire crystal of the jellyfish timepiece straight on, the left crown is for winding the movement (if needed), while the right is for setting the time. MB&F designed the oversized crowns so they can be manipulated even by wet fingers, however this is not an actual dive watch. The crowns do not screw down, and water resistance is 50m, which in watch nomenclature means it can deal with splashes of water, and is not suited for scuba or deep diving.
On the HM7 hours and minutes are indicated by two spherical discs (one aluminium and one titanium), which are supported by purpose built ceramic ball bearings. The hour and minute numerals are hand-painted using Super-LumiNova paint, which makes them legible in the dark. MB&F had to rely on hand-painting here because of the shape of the components – the brand says it would have been impossible to neatly print onto curved components such as these.
Sitting within the Horological Machine 7 is an all new automatic calibre. The engine (as MB&F calls it) features a central flying 60-second tourbillon, and 72-hours of power reserve. The spherical vertical architecture of this movement was inspired by ‘onion’ pocket watches, which were popular in the 18th century. Like those watch movements, the HM7’s calibre has its various components (there are 303 of them) arranged vertically, in contrast to what is usually done with movements (designed to be horizontal and as flat as possible).
Of course the movement was developed entirely in-house by MB&F, and the architecture has the rotor, mainspring barrel, hour and minute indications, and flying tourbillon concentrically mounted around the central axis. Ingenious stepped gearing transfers power from the bottom of the movement (where the rotor is) to the top, where the flying tourbillon regulator sits.
MB&F says the choice of a flying tourbillon was deliberate since the upper bridge of a normal tourbillon would have forced the brand to use smaller, less legible time-display rings. Three panels of AGT Ultra (Ambient Glow Technology) lume have been placed inside the movement to illuminate the tourbillon for maximum appreciation by night, and sitting up top, the tourbillon is eminently visible by day.
The independent brand has given the calibre’s winding rotor a seriously interesting look, which is meant to mimic the tentacles of a jellyfish. The ‘tentacles’ in this case are far more high tech, they are machined from a solid block of titanium, and MB&F has opted for alternate finishing on every other tentacle – polished and satin-finished. And to ensure that the rotor winds efficiently, the brand has also hidden away a heavier sector in platinum under the tentacles.
The Horological Machine 7 Aquadpod is presented in two editions, one features a grade 5 titanium case with a blue bezel (limited to 33 piece), and the other packs a 18k 5N+ red-gold case and a black bezel (limited to 66 pieces). Both offer blue luminescent details and are presented on an engraved aircraft-grade rubber strap, and we love the fact that MB&F has made the non precious metal reference more rare. More of this please!
The retail price of the titanium reference is approximately CHF 98,000, while the red-gold version is CHF 118,000. Both prices are excluding tax – we’ll update the story once we have Middle Eastern pricing information. Check out the watch at SIHH at MB&F’s booth.
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