MB&F HM4 Only Watch 2011

Swiss luxury watch brand MB&F, in collaboration with Chinese artist Huang Hankang, unveils a unique HM4 timepiece dedicated Only Watch charity auction of this year.The HM4 Only Watch featuring a miniature flying panda bear, will be auctioned at Only Watch, the charity auction to benefit research into duchenne muscular dystrophy, which will be held in Monaco on the 22nd of September 2011 under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II.

This MB&F piece for Only Watch transports us to a fantasy dream world with a friendly panda piloting a unique space-age HM4 jet. While visiting an art gallery a few years ago, MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser noticed a painting of a panda flying on a rocket that lifted his spirits so much that he bought it. That painting was by Paris-based Chinese artist, Huang Hankang, and for Only Watch, Huang used HM4 as his canvas to convey a childlike liberation of the spirit.

When Huang was asked if he was interested in collaborating with MB&F on the Only Watch project, it only took one glance at HM4 Thunderbolt for him to realise that while this was an artistic medium he had not considered before—or even knew existed—he relished in the challenge and the cause. Huang first imagined and then painted a delightful, carefree panda bear flying free on top of HM4 and MB&F set about transforming Huang’s painting into a horological expression. Huang’s original painting accompanies the HM4 Only Watch.

HM4 Only Watch features the dream-world scenario of a solid gold panda bear riding on top of the HM4 jet, which he controls with reins made of twisted gossamer filaments made of gold. The panda was hand-carved and then cast in 18k white gold using the “lost wax” technique. And while the HM4 Only Watch is a celebration of the fantasy of children’s dreams, there is also a feature for those obliged to ground their feet in reality from time to time: the panda and his reins have been micro-engineered to be completely detachable so that HM4 transforms from a flying machine into a Horological Machine.

Technical details
Features: A detachable 18k gold panda and reins on top of Horological Machine No4 with the signature of the artist, Huang Hankang, on the sapphire glass display panel.

Case
Grade 5 titanium and sapphire with a detachable 18k white gold panda holding gold reins
Dimensions (without panda): 54mm wide x 52mm long x 24mm high
Number of components: 65
Articulation of the lugs: 3°

Functions
Hours, minutes, and power reserve indicator
Hours and minutes on the right dial; power reserve indicator on the left dial
Separate crowns for time setting and winding

Engine
Three-dimensional horological engine developed 100 percent by MB&F
Manual winding with two mainspring barrels in parallel
Power reserve: 72 hours
Balance frequency: 21,600bph/3Hz
Number of components: 311
Number of jewels: 50

Sapphire crystals
 Five sapphire crystals: 2 for the dials, 2 for the display panels (top and bottom), and 1 for the central case section

Strap and buckle
A black hand-stitched calfskin strap with a titanium/white gold custom-designed deployment buckle attached to articulated lugs

Painting
The HM4 Only Watch is accompanied by the original watercolour that artist Huang Hankang painted to express his message with MB&F’s Horological Machine No. 4.

About Huang Hankang
Born in 1977 in Suzhou, China, Huang Hankang began painting when he was just seven years old. After earning an art degree, he moved to Paris to further his artistic education, learn more about the world outside of China and experience a different culture. His talent was internationally recognised in 2007 with an exhibition in New York and subsequent exhibitions in Europe.

Huang usually paints with watercolours, utilising their nuanced delicacy and light colours to code powerful yet often sublime messages. Huang’s paintings ask the viewer intriguing questions rather than make cut-and-dry statements. These paintings often feature juxtapositions of animals in unusual situations or positions—a panda bear flying a horological spaceship is certainly a consistent expression of his philosophy.

Huang uses art as a method of communication to spread his message to a broader public. The Only Watch project with MB&F provided an unusual horological canvas on which to “paint” his message; however, he jumped at the opportunity upon discovering that MB&F’s Horological Machines are closer to art than to watchmaking and are as much products of Maximilian Büsser’s fertile imagination as Huang’s paintings are to his own imagination.

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