The guys at MB&F can’t sit still for long. Max Büsser and his very talented friends have spun their magic into a new Horological Machine once again, and this year’s iteration is called the HM8. While the Swiss watch brand might not have centuries, let alone decades worth of history (it’s only been founded in 2005), the watch maestro has created some of the most peculiar, intriguing and covetable timepieces these recent years.
It’s not everyday the horological world comes across a genius like Büsser. His portfolio eclipses many fellow watch designers his age. At 31, he left his post as product manager at Jaeger-LeCoultre to helm Harry Winston’s dismal watch division, and multiplied its revenue ten-fold to make the company US$80 million. He left the company shortly after to start work on his ultimate dream: establishing his own shop. Eleven years later and eight Horological Machines later, the HM8 continues to break norms and challenge the rest of the industry.
The first thing you’ll notice about the HM8 is its unusual case design. Inspired by the Canadian-American racing series (a.k.a Can-Am) in the ’60s, the race saw automobiles way ahead of its time taking part, utilising technologies such as turbocharging and lightweight titanium alloys. This isn’t just some random inspiration too; Büsser once aspired to be a car designer. He might’ve found his calling in the watch industry, but that hasn’t stopped him from melding his two loves.
Now, as a fitting tribute to its 50th anniversary, Büsser’s new timepiece rises from the turbocharged ashes of the “anything goes” racing series. The HM8 is a unique amalgamation of curvy and angular, and you’ll see features that harken back to Can-Am. Two titanium bars flanked on each side of the watch’s face reflect the roll bars of a racing car, sweeping down the front to its tapered back. Peer in and you’ll see the watch’s engine revving with the same tenacity as a vehicle. Turn it around and you’ll find engine-like dual “oil sumps”, just like those in cars.
The HM8 jumps the gun here by being launched while the seventh Horological Machine is still in the works. Dual optical prisms vertically display the bi-directional jumping hours and trailing minutes,materialised by two overlapping discs — one for hours and one for minutes — which rotate horizontally above the movement. Being a true driver’s watch, the time indications are displayed vertically in a ‘dashboard’ at the front of the case, legible even when your hands are busy on the steering wheels. Base movement in the HM8 is courtesy of Girard-Perregaux, but unlike most jumping hour mechanisms that only go forward, this one can be also be set backwards for convenience.
Launched in two versions — 18K white gold/titanium and 18K rose gold/titanium — the watch will be a US$82,000 (S$116,000) accessory. But that’s a decent price to pay for such an architectural and mechanical feat.
For more information, head over to The Hour Glass, who is the exclusive retailer of MB&F.