America’s largest luxury watch show is returning to the Big Apple this fall. The second edition of WatchTime New York will be held at Gotham Hall on October 14-15 (click here for event details and to purchase tickets) and will feature an array of luxury watch brands, from large, world-famous manufacturers to innovative independents. Among the latter is MB&F, whose horological highlights will include its most ambitious “Horlogical Machine” to date, the MB&F Horological Machine No. 6 SV.
The “SV” in the watch’s name stands for “sapphire vision” — an apt moniker, as the watch is a completely transparent version of the company’s HM 6 Space Pirate of 2014. There are sapphire plates on the top and bottom of the watch. Glued to these plates are nine sapphire domes; five on the front of the watch and four on the back. Four of the domes cover the rotating minutes and hours indications, which are made of aluminum machined to the thinness of paper. Four more cover two turbines, driven by the winding rotor (visible on the back of the watch) via a gear train designed to multiply the number of rotations.
The purpose of the turbines is to slow the spinning of the rotor, via increased air friction, in case it starts spinning too quickly. This reduces wear on the rotor. The center dome covers the watch’s flying tourbillon. The tourbillon has a retractable titanium shield designed to protect its oils from being damaged by ultraviolet light. The shield opens and closes (as seen below) by means of a crown at 9 o’clock.
The HM6 design comes from a Japanese animé TV series from brand founder Max Büsser’s childhood called “Capitaine Flam” (or “Captain Future” in English). Capitaine Flam had a spaceship called the Comet that consisted of two spheres joined by a connecting tube. Büsser says the seeds for the original “Space Pirate” design were planted when he imagined combining two such craft.
The movement in the HM6, with its central tourbillon regulator, required more than three years of development, and is comprised of more than 475 pieces including 68 jewels. Nearly every component and mechanism had to be developed from scratch. The case — whose design draws inspiration from the Art Deco style known as “Streamline Moderne,” is made up of no less than 78 separate pieces, and attaches to the strap with the pivoted, movable lugs characteristic of the MB&F brand.
The MB&F Horological Machine No. 6 SV (HM6 SV for short) is an extremely limited edition, with 10 pieces in rose gold ($368,000) and 10 in platinum ($398,000, pictured). If you’re interested in finding out how this very unconventional timepiece looks and feel on your own wrist, click here to reserve your spot at WatchTime New York 2016.