MB&F Horological Machine No.1 (HM1)

By designing and constructing its first three-dimensional machine, MB&F broke free of the constraints imposed by traditional horology. HM1 is a totally original timepiece, featuring hours and minutes on separate dials, raised central one-minute tourbillon, seven-day power reserve, four mainspring barrels and both automatic and manual winding. It has a radical new design and construction plus a brand new movement with 376 parts and 81 functional jewels.

While the most visual technical element of the movement is the rotating one-minute tourbillon on top of the dial, it was the four massive mainspring barrels that dominated HM1’s design and construction. There is no mistaking the three dimensionality of Horological Machine No.1, both in the sheer volume of the case and in the multiple strata of its dial.

The depth and complexity of the dial encourages and rewards an oblique viewpoint as there is so much more to see than simply the time. The single arm of the tourbillon cock, reminiscent of vintage Breguet pocket watches, allows an uninterrupted view right into the beating heart of the movement.

The key figures behind Horological Machine No.1 were designer Eric Giroud, who spent hundreds of hours turning Maximilian Büsser’s sketches into the final 3D designs; and movement engineer Laurent Besse and independent watchmaker and AHCI member Peter Speake-Marin, who together turned the radical conceptual drawings into micro mechanical reality. The synthesis of Besse’s engineering background with Speake Marin’s roots in classical horology ensures that, although the movement looks as though it comes from the future, its quality and finish are solidly founded on the very finest aspects of traditional haute horlogerie.

Using four massive mainspring barrels in parallel – two on each side of the movement – enabled MB&F to reduce the torque of each mainspring, thus improving isochronism, decreasing wear and increasing longevity… all while maintaining an enormous seven days reserve of power.

The barrels are not the only mechanical system needing to communicate across a constricted divide: the hours on the left must synchronize with the minutes on the right, both for timekeeping and time-setting. This necessitated the development of an over-sized wheel centrally located under the dial. Extremely flat and mirror polished, this wheel is cleverly supported by floating it between two layers of precision adjusted jewels.

A central one-minute tourbillon is a complicated enough mechanism in its usual position, i.e. level with the dial inside the movement. Horological Machines, however, are three-dimensional structures, therefore the tourbillon has been elevated thus creating its own centre stage. And driving the tourbillon cage from both sides one which applies force more evenly, reduces torque and increases movement longevity is yet another highly innovative development.

There is no mistaking the three-dimensionality of Horological Machine No.1, both in the sheer volume of the case and in the multiple strata of the dial. HM1’s unusual form dominates the senses and dictated the architecture of the movement. With its 48 discrete elements, HM1’s case has a complexity and sophistication matching its movement. The HM1 case features a modular construction enabling every part to be independently refurbished.This is a design looking completely at home in the fantasy worlds of both 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Looking at the dial we see: hours indicated on the left; raised central one-minute tourbillon; minutes indicated on the right-hand dial; and the seven-day power reserve displayed on a higher stratum inside the minute dial. The twin upper-level sapphire bridges not only allow a clear and uncluttered view of all the indications, the four columns supporting them play a dual role in housing the ingenious movement to-case fixing cones.

Technical details

Movement
Raised central one-minute tourbillon, separate hours and minutes, seven-day power reserve
Balance oscillating at 28,800 bph
Automatic winding
Four mainspring barrels in parallel
Number of jewels: 81 (all functional)
Number of parts: 376 (including jewels)

Functions
Left dial: Hours
Right dial: Minutes and Seven-Day Power Reserve

Case
Available in either 18ct white gold, 18ct red gold and the HM1-Ti in titanium (LE of 10 only)
Dimensions: length 41mm, width 64mm, height 14mm
Number of parts: 48

Sapphire crystals
Dial side with anti-reflective treatment on both faces
Display back with anti-reflective treatment on single face

Dials
Available in either silver/ruthenium (silver), ruthenium/silver (dark grey) or open (HM1-Ti)
Hour and Minute bridges in sapphire crystal

Straps
HM1- Black hand-stitched alligator with 18ct gold custom-designed deployment buckle
HM1- Brown hand-stitched alligator with 18ct gold tang buckle
HM1- A dynamo-metric screwdriver allowing the customer to easily change straps
HM1-Ti – Extra wide black hand-stitched alligator strap with white gold/titanium folding buckle

Presentation box
Bespoke ETRO pin-stripe flannel and leather designer carry bag hosting the presentation box

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