Swiss luxury watch brand MB & F introduces MEGAWIND, the latest horology machine, which combines a giant 22k gold and titanium winding rotor with highly legible time indication cones rising up from the complex asymmetric case, like truncated gold-framed monoliths. This new model is derived from the iconic HM3 series of the brand.
Rotating within their twin gold and sapphire crystal frustums, the cones display hours (left) and minutes (right), with the time clearly visible from both the large numbers on the sides of the cones as well as duplicate indications on their flat caps. However, while it may be a temporal desire that attracts the viewer’s gaze towards the three-dimensional sculptures housing the hours and minutes, it is likely to be the giant battle-axe shaped winding rotor that mesmerises the eye as it swings unhurriedly, but indomitably, over the meticulously hand-finished movement. As they revolve, the strong, but lightweight high-tech titanium arms of the rotor intermittently reveal tantalising views through to the fervently oscillating balance wheel. Power is nothing without control and MEGAWIND offers a perfectly harmonious balance of the two.
MEGAWIND is powered by the beautiful HM3 engine designed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. Placing the rotor and regulator on the dial side required an inverted movement, which was only possible thanks to two large high-tech ceramic bearings – visible through the display back – that efficiently transmit time up to the revolving hour and minute cones above.
Rotating domes of this size and shape posed a number of technical challenges. The hour and minute domes are machined from solid blocks of aluminium, chosen for its optimal strength to weight ratio; this reduces energy requirements to an absolute minimum.
The innovative case comprises over 50 separate components with carefully considered details, including the bevelled perimeter of the rotor display crystal that adds visual flair as the angles catch and reflect flashes of light; the bespoke clover-head gold screws; and the cleverly integrated lugs attaching the strap. The MEGAWIND model is available in red gold with a 22k red gold rotor or white gold with a sky-blue 22k gold rotor.
Inspiration and Realization
The original HM3 was developed to display the machine’s beautifully finished movement in operation and MEGAWIND follows the same principle. Harmoniously crafted bridges, rapidly oscillating balance wheel, gearing and MB&F’s iconic battle-axe automatic winding rotor are all open to view on the dial side. This allows the wearer to fully appreciate the art and craft of the HM3 engine by drawing the viewer’s gaze inside the highly complex machine; a machine comprising more than 300 fine-finished, high-precision components.
The movement of HM3 has been literally turned upside down to allow for an uninterrupted panorama of the 22k gold and titanium winding rotor’s powerfully graceful arcs and the high-speed oscillations of the balance wheel. Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, winner of the inaugural award for Best Watchmaker at the 2007 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, was entrusted with turning the drawings and designs of Max Büsser and designer Eric Giroud into horological reality and, with his team at Agenhor, he surpassed the challenge.
The hour and minute cones are milled from solid aluminium to paper-thin thickness. The cones are housed within three-dimensional truncated gold and sapphire crystal cones, which are brazed together. Brazing is a high-temperature soldering technique which is aesthetically pleasing and ensures a solid, water-resistant construction.
Independent Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva (co-creator of MB&F’s MoonMachine) provided both the initial idea for the large rotor and the name, MEGAWIND.
The two 22K gold blades of the iconic MB&F battle-axe rotor on the dial make what is called a ‘mystery’ rotor because, in appearing to be symmetrically balanced instead of having a visibly off-centred mass, they look to defy the laws of physics. This ‘mystery’ is achieved by machining the underside of one of the gold blades to a razor-thin edge, so reducing its mass.
Time indications are usually located on the top, or dial side, of a movement. As the movement of HM3 is inverted to display its operation, an efficient solution was needed to bring power from the bottom of the movement to the timekeeping cones at the top. Standard pinions set in jewels would have required complex, friction-generating gearing, and would require support top and bottom – a factor which would increase the height of the movement, and thus the watch.
So instead of standard jewelled pinions, HM3 features two large-diameter (15mm) high-tech ceramic bearings. Because of their large diameter, these bearings minimise the number of friction inducing gears and, due to the rigidity resulting from their ultra-high precision design and manufacture, they only require support at one end (the base) so allow for a thinner movement.
Three-dimensional horological engine designed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht / Agenhor; Sowind oscillator and gear train
Balance oscillating at 28,800 bph
Automatic winding rotor in 3 parts: hub in titanium with outer sections in 22K gold, fastened with 4 rivets
Time indications transmitted via ceramic ball bearings
Number of jewels: 36 (all functional)
Number of components: 270
Hours on one cone
Minutes on second cone
Available in 18k white gold/titanium or 18k red gold/titanium
Dimensions (exclusive of crown and lugs): 47mm x 50mm x 17mm
Number of case components: 52
Sapphire cones and front and back display crystals have anti-reflective treatment on both faces
Strap & Buckle
Black hand-stitched alligator with 18k gold and titanium custom designed folding buckle.