Telling time is not the point. It’s about creating mechanical art: CEO,...

Telling time is not the point. It’s about creating mechanical art: CEO, MB&F

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HM 9 ‘Flow’ is “a 3-dimensional watch with a 3-part case and has a unique, patented 3-dimensional gasket to ensure water-resistance,” says Maximilian Büsser, CEO, MB&F in a chat with Hiren Kumar Bose on the maverick brand’s latest launch
There seems to be nothing stopping you. MB&F continues to make Horological Machines which have futuristic designs and are inspired by science fiction. Creating what we believe in, without ever thinking if there are any clients crazy enough to follow us, as you told me last. Your latest looks like a spacecraft rather than a watch. Comment.
Indeed, we create Machines that we believe in, Machines that we like – and keep our fingers crossed, hoping that there will be a few customers out there with the same crazy dreams! Telling time is not the point. There are of course a few minimal requirements: yes, the object needs to tell time. It needs to do that precisely, and it needs to fit on the wrist. It also needs to be perfectly manufactured, true to the very best of watchmaking tradition. But the most important goes well beyond those minimal requirements: this is about creating mechanical art, and like any art form, emotions and pleasure are what this is really about. In the case of HM9, what stirred our emotions was the amazing automotive and aircraft designs of the 1940s and 50s – a time before wind tunnels and computers.
HM8, a driver’s watch was inspired by fast supercars and motor racing which debuted in 2016. Is HM9 ‘Flow’ for the pilots and astronauts?
HM9 Flow is for pilots, astronauts… and anyone who is looking for something more than a timekeeping instrument: a kinetic sculpture for the wrist!

You mention HM9 ‘Flow’ with its extreme curves and acute angles required new manufacturing standards and techniques. Can you tell us in details about them?
It’s a long story. Let me say it in a brief, a classic watch case is essentially two parts, top and bottom: you install the movement in one part and then squeeze the 2 parts together, like a sandwich, making the watch water resistant thanks to a gasket. With HM9, this was impossible: the shape of the watch, and the shape of the movement inside made it impossible to use a classic sandwich construction. Instead, we have a 3-dimensional, 3-part case – and a unique, patented 3-dimensional gasket to ensure water-resistance. In addition, the extreme curves and very deep angles made traditional machining and finishing impossible – the usual tools could not reach the most difficult-to-access parts of the case (for example, between the central section and the lateral pods). Our suppliers – the amazing ‘friends’ – found new ways to achieve this: new tools and new methods which obviously remain secret!
What makes HM9 different from its earliest avatars? What do you think you have achieved, horologically speaking, with the latest Horological Machine series?
I think you’ll agree that each of our Machines is very different. HM9 represents a unique combination of complex horology: an impossible-to-craft case; the extensive use of sapphire crystals, in totally unconventional shapes; a unique movement, developed from scratch, involving not only double balance wheels and a central differential, but also the vertical display of hours and minutes. If we did not have the accumulated experience of our previous 14 movements, creating HM9 would have probably taken us 10 years to develop. Thanks to that accumulated experience, we managed it in “only” 4 years.

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