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10:46MB&F: Heading to Basel
|Geneva Wonder Week… and we’re already heading to Basel! This Wednesday, MB&F returns for the 7th time to the most important watchmaking fair of the year: 9 nonstop days (and late evenings) of intense encounters with retailers, journalists, collectors and other watch professionals from around the world. But before hitting the road to Basel, please join me for a rapid flashback to what was our most successful launch ever: the introduction of the HM6 ‘Space Pirate’.|
What could an American sci-fi comics hero, a “biomorphic” designer from Germany and a Japanese TV anime series possibly have in common?
Well, they all contributed some of their genes to our sixth Horological Machine. The sci-fi hero was called Captain Future, a space-traveling scientist and adventurer – originally published in American pulp magazines in the 1940s. He cruised the universe in a spaceship called the Comet… and somehow reappeared a few decades later in a Japanese anime series. If like me, you were a kid growing up in the late 70s and 80s, watching just a little too much television, you were probably a fan. Especially if you were living in a French-speaking country, where Captain Future became “Capitaine Flam” and was a huge hit. Align two of Flam’s spaceships side-by-side and you’ll start to see where the shape of HM6 comes from… For the final touch, add a good dose of 1970’s “biomorphic” design, championed by ground-breaking designers like Luigi Colani – and the HM6 materialises.
Those diverse influences explain the very unusual shape – even by MB&F standards – of this Horological Machine. Contrary to our previous pieces, HM6 Space Pirate is nothing but curves; you’ll need to look carefully to find a flat surface or a straight line. An engineer’s nightmare that makes the manufacturing of the case, milled from two solid blocks of grade 5 titanium, particularly challenging. All those curves also make the finishing much more complicated… and to make things worse, the case includes what must be a record of 10 sapphire crystals!
As if that weren’t enough, the HM6 engine is quite simply our most complicated movement to date: a total of 475 components including 68 jewels. Developed entirely from scratch, the totally unconventional calibre delivers 72 hours of power reserve, generated by a single barrel and powerful mainspring, regulated by a flying 60-second tourbillon. On one side, hours and minutes are displayed vertically on revolving spheres, thanks to complex angular gear trains – difficult to manufacture, but much more efficient than standard gears in terms of precision and transmission of energy. On the other side, driven through multiplying gearing by the automatic winding rotor in platinum 950, twin spherical turbines spin horizontally, automatically regulating the winding system in case of excessive speed to reduce stress and wear.
Last but not least, you may have noticed HM6 features two crowns. One is for setting the time and manual winding if required. The other crown actions the… retractable hyperspace shield. Yep, when this spaceship enters hyperspace mode, we recommend protecting the cockpit against space hazards by deploying a titanium curtain over it. More seriously, because of its position elevated above the case, the flying tourbillon is very exposed. When closed, the shield blocks the sun’s harmful UV rays from prematurely oxidising the regulating system’s lubrication oils.
Have a look at the video to see HM6 in action – you’ll see what we mean by “kinetic sculptures for the wrist”. The HM6 Space Pirate is a limited edition of 50 pieces in grade 5 titanium. There will only be 100 HM6 movements in total.
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