MB&F launched the first Horological Machine in 2007, positioning itself as an independent watchmaker primarily interesting in futuristic design. Ten years and eight Horological Machines later, (MB&F actually skipped over the HM7 a few months ago when it released the HM8), Max Büsser and his friends have remained steadfast in their mission, creating watches that look as if they were made without any standard watch parts at all. That is not longer true after today. The diver’s bezel is one of the most instantly recognizable elements of modern watchmaking, and, in a departure from form, Büsser has made it one of the chief design elements of the HM7.
Of course, he’s done something quite unexpected with it. Instead of laying it on top of the case, where one usually finds a bezel, Büsser has surrounded the double-domed case with the bezel. It ends up looking almost like Saturn’s rings – which is not what the watch is meant to look like – but the result is awesome. One of the great pleasures of MB&F’s sometimes strangely shaped horological machines usually comes not when the watch sits on the wrist, but off, discovering the watch from many different angles. And the brand new Horological Machine No. 7 might be the maker’s most three-dimensional creation to date. There simply isn’t one straight edge to it – even the lugs are dramatically arched and articulated.
Something to get out of the way up front is that the HM7 is big. Very, very big. In fact, it’s the largest machine in a collection of large machines. Bezel and all, the watch measures a whopping 53.8mm across, and yes that means the HL7 is round! This is a first in the HM line too. Because of its new movement, it sits very high on the wrist as well, being 21.3mm. Yeah, you read that right, 21.3mm.
The HM7 was designed by Eric Giroud and realized by a team of 49 friends including Büsser himself and it’s the team’s first aquatic-themed wristwatch, though its limited water resistance (50m) means it shouldn’t be treated as recreational diving gear. The Aquapod’s concentric case, articulated lugs, and luminescent details are inspired by the jellyfish, an animal which MB&F has turned horological by conceiving a new, vertically-mounted movement capable of transfering energy from the tentacle-shaped winding rotor at the bottom to the flying tourbillon regulator at the very top. The hours and minutes are displayed on lightweights discs – in aluminum and titanium – that are mounted on ceramic ball bearings around the periphery of the movement. They rotate, bringing the current time in line with the vertical indicator at the front of the display. MB&F is guaranteeing 72 hours of power reserve for this automatic movement as well.
The MB&F HM7 will be limited to two models. The company has announced that 33 pieces will be delivered in grade 5 titanium, priced at 98,000 CHF (approximately $97,150 at time of publishing), and that 66 pieces will be made in 18l red gold, priced at 118,000 CHF (approximately $116,950). Both models come on a high-grade rubber strap with a folding buckle that matches the case.