Well, MB&F are as crazy as ever. Hot on the tank tread-shod heels of their latest clocky mascot comes their new, long-awaited and even longer-developed Horological Machine, Flow.
If you’ve ever seen anything like this, it would probably have been at a futuristic design expo from the 1950s. In fact, that’s where a good deal of the inspiration behind Flow’s design comes from, the cars and aircraft of the 40s and 50s.
In a way its like previous MB&F driving watches, with the ‘dial’ on the side facing the driver to make it readable with both hands on the wheel. Safety first and all that. However, looks-wise it’s like nothing else.
Take that era of inspiration with a pinch of salt; this is MB&F, not part of the current deluge of vintage-inspired pieces. With a conical midsection flanked by two sapphire crystal-opened engines holding the twin balance wheels of the differential movement, it looks more podracer than vintage watch.
It’s hard to overstate just how crazy an idea that movement is. Watches tend to be round and compact for good reason; it makes linking the various components together easy and efficient. Here… well there’s up to a 10mm height difference between certain parts. In the watch world, that’s a ravine the size of the Grand Canyon.
It required a huge amount of R&D, not to mention new manufacturing techniques. There’s a reason it’s been in development for four years; even by MB&F standards Flow is ambitious. There’s a patented three-dimensional gasket to keep things watertight; the entire movement was built from the ground up and, well, who else would want to take this on?
Surprisingly though, it’s not actually too big. It looks massive, but that’s simply what happens when you try to take it all in at once. In length, it’s 57mm. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still huge compared to a standard round watch, but for something like this it’s surprisingly compact.
Because of those dual inspirations of cars and aircraft, there will be two versions of the HM09, one with a speedometer dial and a shining, rose gold-plated movement, the other with a clearer, aviator dial and a darkened interior.
Both are limited to just 33 pieces and both are now on our mental list of the coolest pieces of watchmaking in the world.
Price & Specs:
- Model name: MB&F Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’
- Dial/Case: 57mm x 47mm x 23mm, grade 5 titanium
- Movement: Manual-winding in-house movement, two fully independent balance wheels with planetary differential, hours and minutes on vertical dial display
- Power reserve: 45-hour
- Water resistance: 3ATM (30m)
- Price & availability: CHF 168,000 (not including taxes), two limited editions of 33 pieces each
More at: www.mbandf.com