MB&F is in the business of being different, and it's always fascinating to see what their next creation will look like. As you explore the company's catalog of timepieces, saying the company is unconventional would be a massive understatement. While many in the horology community may consider their watches too eccentric, it's safe to say there's no denying the creativity that goes into making the timepieces.
Their newest creation, the HM11 ((Horological Machine Nº11)) Architect doesn't stray from the watchmaker's mission. Its goal is to amalgamate the best of watchmaking and architecture. Essentially, in this watch, you have a house with four rooms.
While it's hard to digest the MB&F claim that a watch 'is lived' without a chuckle, here's a watch design that's bound to turn heads. Inspired specifically by the architecture of the mid to late 1960s, this watch doesn't have conventional dials on the face. All you see through the 10mm diameter sapphire crystal roof is the flying tourbillon in the middle, surrounded by the inner workings of the mechanical parts of the watch's interior.
So how do you tell the time with this watch? The quatrefoil-shaped upper bridges, which mimic the shape of temple windows, offer four parabolic 'rooms.' These rotating rooms house the dials of the watch. Functions include an hour and minute dial, a power reserve indicator, and a thermometer. So, what does the fourth 'room' hold? It houses the crown of the watch.
You can freely rotate the watch to change the positions of the rooms depending on which function you want to look at directly. Besides the intrigue the unusual design creates, the rotation is actually functional. Each time you perform a rotation, it contributes to the watch's power reserve in an efficient manner.
The 92-component case is made of titanium and sapphire crystal. The lower part of the case is constructed with grade 5 titanium with varying interior and exterior profiles. The case also has sapphire crystal components; the largest two of which are domes stacked concentrically to create the transparent 'roof' of the HM11. This design was borrowed from the 1970s architecture which often featured dome skylights.
The watch is water resistant up to a depth of 20m, which definitely doesn't qualify it as a diving watch, but given the complex construction, most fans will look past that.
The barrel of the HM11 gets energy either through kinetic action or manual input via the rotation of the crown. Remarkably, the HM11 gets 96 hours of power after ten full rotations of the case. Compare that to the 48 hours of power which requires anywhere from twenty to thirty rotations in a standard watch.
The star of the show is the flying tourbillon, which has previously appeared in the HM6 and HM7. The balance wheel rotates at a frequency of 2.5Hz. Since tourbillons are vulnerable to shocks that can affect performance, MB&F opted for a full-system dampener with four high-tension laser-cut springs between the movement and the lower-case shell to guard against any performance interference. The alloy composition and crystalline structure of the springs also offer wear resistance.
Beyond the esthetics the HM11 Architecture offers, it is clear that a lot of thought went into the design of the different components. While detractors may scoff at the unconventional style of the watch, the impressive engineering and dual theme will likely make the timepiece endearing to fans of the brand.
The HM11 Architect comes in two variants: one with a blue dial and another with a red gold dial with white and green straps respectively. Only 25 of each variant will be made, with each one retailing for close to $245,000.