The MB&F HM9 likely triggers different emotions from watch lovers across the globe, but it's fair to assume that we can all agree that it is a unique watch. First released in 2018, the HM9 "Flow" intrigued the world with its innovative and intricate mechanisms. Drawing inspiration from automotive and aeronautic designs of the 1940s and 50s, the HM9 was like no other creation from Swiss watchmaker upon its release.
Over the years, four editions have graced the market, and in August 2023, MB&F released two new versions of the HM9. One version has a PVD-coated blue engine and a white gold frame, and another similarly coated green-engine version with a yellow gold frame. Only five pieces of each version will be made.
Named the HM9 Sapphire Vision (SV), these editions retain the foundational principles of the original HM9, with tweaks primarily in engine frame color and a few nuanced details that we delve into below. While the HM9 Flow "Air" and "Road" editions celebrated terrestrial and aerial themes, the latest SV iteration takes on an ocean theme, apparent in its choice of colors and designs.
The case of the HM9 Sapphire Vision is undeniably its main attraction. Made from sapphire crystal with an 18k gold frame, it is assembled in three parts and sealed with a 3D gasket, ensuring durability without compromising elegance.
The translucent sapphire crystal shell elegantly displays the HM9 engine's detailed mechanics. Its fluid and streamlined design accentuates the SV's ocean dweller aesthetic, and minimizes vulnerabilities associated with using a rigid material like sapphire. With dimensions of 57mm x 47mm x 23mm, the SV's case comprises 52 individual components, a testament to MB&F's obsession with attention to detail.
The HM9's engine, entirely assembled in-house, is the result of three rigorous years of testing and development. Comprising 301 components and 52 jewels, it resonates with the legacy of Horological Machines N°4 and N°6, presenting a distinctive three-dimensional assembly of wheels, gears, plates, and bridges.
Its standout feature, the double balance system with a planetary differential, is inspired by the Machine N°2 and compensates for the movement's relatively low frequency of 2.5Hz. The Geneva-based company stresses that having two balances instead of one offers the watch a better-averaged reading than a system with one balance prone to delivering anomalous results. Furthermore, a new shock-absorbing system cushions mechanical movements with helicoidal springs between it and the case.
The HM9 SV's dial is perhaps its least remarkable part. Aside from its transparent base, offering a sneak peek into the intricate movements beneath it, the markings are pretty straightforward to read. The hour/minute dial, made of sapphire crystal, is treated with an anti-reflective coating, ensuring that it's easy to read at all times. You can say the same for the Super-LumiNova on the numbers and indexes.
Limited to just ten pieces, the 2023 MB&F HM9 Sapphire Vision epitomizes the evolution of one of MB&F's most iconic timepieces. Its physics-defying sapphire crystal case is a testament to the brand's dedication to horological advancement, while its intricate movement reinforces MB&F's stature as a vanguard in the industry.
Should you wish to own one of these eye-catching inventions, retail prices for either edition will set you back $520,000.00 before tax.