MB&F announced their eighth “Horological Machine,” the HM8 “Can-Am” back in September. This weekend, U.S. watch aficionados are getting their first glimpse of the highly unusual timepiece at its “coming out party” at WatchTime New York, where we had the chance to snap some up-close photos of both the white-gold and rose-gold versions.
The HM8 incorporates several aspects from previous Horological Machine pieces, namely the angular forms and optical prism displays of the HM5 (which took design cues from the 1970s Amida watch) and the now-familiar blued-gold “battle-axe” winding rotor that debuted on the HM3. (Thus, not entirely by coincidence, HM5 + HM3 = HM8.) Other notable visual elements are directly inspired by vehicles that raced in the legendary Canadian-American Challenge Cup (Can-Am), a discontinued “anything goes” auto racing series that would have turned 50 this year.
The curvy yet angular case features dual optical prisms displaying the time by means of bidirectional jumping hours and trailing minutes, along with the battle-axe rotor positioned on top (under a sapphire crystal “engine cover”), here flanked by two Can-Am-inspired “roll bars,” milled from solid blocks of grade 5 titanium and polished to a mirror shine, which sweep from the front and taper to the back. Turning the watch to its back side reveals another distinctly automotive-inspired feature: dual “oil sumps” similar to those found on the underside of a car engine.
MB&F founder Maximillian Busser — whose original vocation was to become an automobile designer — calls the HM8 “one of the coolest pieces I’ve ever created.”
The Girard-Perregaux base movement, with an MB&F in-house-developed jumping hours-and-minutes module, has been inverted to place the rotor on top and modified to drive the prism indicators. The overlapping hours and minutes disks, which rotate horizontally on top of the movement and are visible in the corners, are coated with Super-LumiNova for low-light legibility of the numerals. The prisms are made of sapphire, a material notoriously difficult to work with at such small, precise parameters. The forward, vertical-facing time display makes the HM8, appropriately, an ideal “drivers’ watch.”
The case alone consists of no less than 60 parts and measures a hefty 49 mm x 51.5 mm in diameter and 19 mm thick. The movement features 274 components, including 30 jewels, and stores a fully wound power reserve of 42 hours. Its array of haute horlogerie finishes can be glimpsed through the rotor on the top side.
The MB&F HM8 “Can-Am” is launching in two versions, in 18k white gold and titanium, with marine-blue alligator strap, and in 18k rose gold and titanium with dark brown alligator strap. Both versions retail for $82,000.