MB&F Horological Machine N°8 ‘Can-Am’

MB&F’s brand new timepiece, the Horological Machine N°8 takes its inspiration from the supercars developed for the legendary Can-Am sports car racing series.

Featuring a Can-Am racecar-inspired design, HM8’s curvaceous yet angular case houses two optical prisms which display bi-directional jumping hours and trailing minutes.

The major aesthetic feature of the watch – the Can-Am inspired polished “roll bars” majestically sweep from the front of the Machine down to the beguiling tapered back. Made from solid grade 5 titanium bars and hand-polished, these roll bars gleam like tubular mirrors.

Behind the front sapphire crystal glass, HM8’s Engine offers the breathtaking view of its mechanical complexity iced with the distinctive battle-axe winding rotor which is visible on the top. The open centre of the blued-gold battle-axe rotor enables appreciation of the circular wave finish on the movement, while the hour and minute indication discs are visible in the corners.

The generous use of sapphire crystal allows unfettered visual access to the movement while its transparency backlights the time displays, making them more legible by day. Light also charges the Super-LumiNova numerals on the hour and minute discs for maximum legibility by night.

HM8 Can-Am houses an in-house developed bi-directional jumping hour and trailing minute indication module, on a Girard-Perregaux base movement. The movement is inverted to put the winding rotor on top and modified to drive the prism indicator module. The power reserve is 42 hours.

The bi-directional jumping hour and trailing minute displays on HM8 are materialised by overlapping discs (one for the hours, one for the minutes), completely covered in Super-LumiNova. The effect of large numerals is created by masking all of the lume except for the numbers. The discs rotate horizontally on top of the movement; they are visible in the corners of the transparent Engine cover. Yet the time indications are displayed vertically in a ‘dashboard’ at the front of the case. To achieve this, MB&F worked with a high-precision optical glass supplier to develop reflective sapphire crystal prisms that reflect light from the discs 90°. The prisms also magnify the indications by 20% to maximise legibility.

HM8 has separate sapphire crystal prisms for the hour and minute displays, which are wedge-shaped with precisely calculated angles to ensure that light is reflected (and reversed) from the horizontal indications to the vertical rather than refracted (bent). A convex lens at the front provides the magnification.

Sapphire crystal is much more difficult to work to optical precision than glass, and it took considerable development and meticulous care in production to create crystals that reflected and magnified light without the slightest distortion. Because the time is reflected, the numbers are printed on the discs as mirror images so that they display correctly on the ‘dial’.

The vertical, forward-facing display makes HM8 Can-Am an excellent driver’s watch, as there is no need to lift your wrist from the steering wheel to read the display.

HM8 Can-Am is available in two versions: 18K white gold/titanium and 18K red gold/titanium.

Technical details
Three-dimensional engine conceived and developed by MB&F from a Girard-Perregaux base calibre
Automatic battle-axe winding rotor in 22k gold
Power reserve: 42 hours
Balance frequency: 28,800bph / 4Hz
Number of components: 247
Number of jewels: 30

Bi-directional jumping hours and trailing minutes displayed by two optical prisms that both reflect and magnify

Material: launch editions in 18k white gold/titanium and 18k red gold/titanium
Dimensions: 49 mm x 51.5 mm x 19 mm
Number of components: 60 components
Water resistance: 30 m / 90′ / 3 atm
All sapphire crystals –front, back, top, and bottom –treated with anti-reflective coating on both faces

Hand-stitched alligator strap in marine blue (white gold case) and dark brown (red gold case) with folding buckle in matching case material

The Can-Am
In the 1960s, Formula One car racing was dominated by Europe and had strict rules and restrictions on engines to slow cars down. The engines were only developed up to 600-horsepower. A few North American racers balked at all the restrictions and decided to create their own racing series, the Canadian-American Challenge Cup (which became more popularly known as the Can-Am).The series launched many of the greatest names in car racing, including Lola and McLaren. The Can-Am basically had no rules except to go fast.

The Canadian-American Challenge Cup was a Group 7 SCCA/CASC sports car racing series running from 1966 to 1987, with two races in Canada and four in the USA each season. Because the class permitted virtually “anything goes” in terms of engine size, power and aerodynamics, the Can-Am was a hotbed of technical innovation. Wings, race turbo-charging, ground-effect aerodynamics, and materials like titanium were all honed in the Can-Am. As long as a car had two seats, bodywork around the wheels, and met basic safety rules, it was likely to qualify. At its peak, Can-Am cars had the most advanced racing technology in the world, and with 1,000 horsepower compared to Formula One’s 500-600 horsepower at the time, Can-Am cars lapped some tracks faster than F1 cars. And those stunning chrome roll bars ensured the driver’s safety if all of that power were to suddenly turn upside down.

While lack of restrictions in Can-Am provided its main attraction, the constant race to develop more power, better handling, and improved aerodynamics was extremely expensive. But by the early 1970s the writing was on the wall. An oil crisis followed by a recession wasn’t conducive to a very expensive racing series, and in 1987 the Can-Am ran its last race.

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