Introduced in 2010, the Horological Machine No4 Thunderbolt by MB & F is an aviation inspired timepiece featuring hours and minutes hands plus a power reserve indicator. The case of HM4 blends high-tech titanium for its lightweight and strength with a sapphire centre section offering a view into the engine that has 300 plus components. Horizontally configured dual mainspring barrels drive two vertical gear trains, transferring power to the twin pods indicating hours/minutes and power reserve. The sapphire case section and display panels top and bottom allow full access to the flawless fine finishing of HM4’s intricate and vibrant micro-mechanics.
This year, Maximilian Büsser introduces new versions of the Horological Machine No4 .The limited editions HM4 Razzle Dazzle and Double Trouble take the aviation theme even further with real rivets in their fuselages and hand painted nose art inspired by the rebellious paintings on WWII aircraft, while HM4 RT offers an altogether more luxurious way to fly. HM4 is available in titanium/sapphire; HM4 Razzle Dazzle and Double Trouble are limited editions of 8 pieces each in titanium/sapphire with hand painted nose art; and HM4 RT is a limited edition of 18 pieces in 5N red gold, titanium and sapphire.
The Razzle Dazzle and Double Trouble feature vintage patina dials created from a special blend of cream-coloured Super-LumiNova and very fine copper – is directly controlled by its own crown, one to wind and re-fuel the tanks, the other to set the time, which provides direct and instantaneous feedback of the action performed.
Inspired by aviation, more specifically the model aircraft kits of Maximilian Büsser’s childhood, the case of HM4 imparts speed, power, technology and refinement in equal measure. Visually, the case is composed of three parts: two streamlined jet-turbine-styled pods supported by a horizontal section housing the engine, which is clearly visible through transparent sapphire display panels and the central section of the case itself. Technically there are also three main sections, but these comprise a fore section in titanium for HM4 and HM4 Razzle Dazzle and Double Trouble (red gold/titanium for HM4 RT), which includes the dials and articulated front lugs; a central section in sapphire offering unprecedented 360° access to the superbly finished engine; and an aft section tapering down to the dual crowns and framing the animated balance, which is supported by an aerodynamic cock. Methods borrowed from aeronautic engineering are visible in the externally mounted screws, which provide both rigidity and watch resistance to hold the case’s three sections solidly and elegantly together.
Beginning with a solid piece of sapphire, more than 185 hours of intricate machining and meticulous polishing are required to turn an opaque block of crystal into the clear, light-filled atrium of the central case section, which reveals part of the Thunderbolt’s engine and engineering details. The metal case sections are milled from solid blocks of high-tech Grade 5 titanium (red gold for HM4 RT), which undergoes hundreds of hours of machining before polishing, masking and finally satin-finishing of the surfaces. The results speak for themselves.
The contrasts of matte with highly polished surfaces, titanium with sapphire for HM4, Razzle Dazzle and Double Trouble, and red gold and titanium with sapphire for HM4 RT, straight lines with seductive curves and rigid forms with articulated arms endows Horological Machine No4 with a life and vibrancy that sets it apart from anything that has ever gone before.
|HM4 RT Limited Edition|
HM4’s engine was entirely designed and developed by MB&F over three years of intensive work with Laurent Besse and Beranger Reynard of Les Artisans Horlogers. Each of the 311 components were developed specifically for the Thunderbolt, no off-the-shelf mechanisms or parts were used at all due to the extreme nature of its architecture. Two mainspring barrels connected in parallel provide 72 hours of energy, and they transfer their power to the dual jet-turbine-like indication pods (one displaying the hours and minutes, the other the power reserve) via vertical gear trains.
Visible through a shaped sapphire display panel on the top of the case, a distinctive streamlined cock supports the balance, its centre cut away to reveal as much of the oscillating wheel as possible and validating the “kinetic” in MB&F’s “kinetic art”. A work of art rewards when viewed from different angles and the Thunderbolt is no exception. Turning the machine over reveals a veritable panorama of meticulously finished micro-engineering through the sapphire sections. In a playful trompe d’oeil, what at first glance appears to be a micro-rotor in the form of MB&F’s iconic battle-axe is actually a bridge.
With its highly legible dials perpendicular to the wearer’s wrist, Horological Machine No4 might be described as the perfect pilot’s or driver’s watch. On the left pod, the power reserve is clearly indicated by a skeletonised hand echoing MB&F’s battle-axe motif. On the right, hours and minutes are displayed by bold, arrow-tipped Super-LumiNova filled hands.
Three-dimensional horological engine developed 100% 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
Hours, minutes and power reserve indicator
Hours and minutes on right dial, power reserve indicator on left dial
Separate crowns for time setting and winding
HM4 Thunderbolt: Grade 5 Titanium and sapphire
HM4 Razzle Dazzle and Double Trouble: Grade 5 Titanium and sapphire, hand painted nose art, limited editions of 8 pieces each
HM4 Thunderbolt RT: 5N red gold, Grade 5 titanium and sapphire. Limited edition of 18 pieces
Dimensions: 54mm wide x 52mm long x 24mm high
Number of components: 65
Articulation of lugs: 3°
Sapphire crystals: Five sapphire crystals: 2 x dials, 1 x central case section, 2 x display panels (top and bottom)
Hand-stitched calfskin strap with titanium/white gold or red gold custom designed folding buckle attached to articulated lugs
Razzle Dazzle and Double Trouble: Authentic vintage leather strap crafted from Swiss military bags with contrasting white hand stitching. Titanium/white gold custom designed deployment buckle.