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15:07The HM4 virtually impossible to catch!
Stealth. If you look at any plane or boat designed with stealth in mind, they usually look to all intents and purposes anything but inconspicuous. And the stealthier they are, the more strikingly – radar excepted – obvious they are.
Lockheed’s sensational F-117 Nighthawk was the world’s first operational stealth aircraft. While visually unmistakable, the F-117’s flat, faceted panels reflected radar away from detection and its dark surfaces blended seamlessly with the night sky. The Nighthawk was also revolutionary in the fact that its structure was a mix of aluminium and titanium.
Like the iconic F-117, HM4 Final Edition features square angular panels, dark surfaces and high-tech titanium. It looks fast. It looks menacing. And to date there have been no reports of a Final Edition being picked up by radar, so that’s the ‘stealth’ box ticked as well.
The aviation-inspired case and engine of Horological Machine No. 4 – first launched in 2010 – are one. This 2013 'Final Edition' case blends high-tech titanium for its lightweight and strength with a sapphire centre section offering a view into the engine. Black PVD provides the titanium with its shadowy cloak of concealment without blocking the light playing off the contrasting matte and highly polished surfaces.
The HM4 engine is the culmination of three long years of development. Each of the 300-plus components – including the regulator and even the screws – was developed specifically for this anarchistic calibre. Horizontally configured dual mainspring barrels drive two vertical gear trains, transferring power to the twin pods indicating hours/minutes and power reserve.
But describing HM4's engine through its mechanical functionality is like describing Renoir's work through the chemical composition of his paint. Only careful contemplation enables full appreciation, and the sapphire case section and display panels top and bottom allow full access to the flawless fine finishing of HM4's intricate and vibrant micro-mechanics.
HM4 Final Edition is an elusive limited edition of just eight pieces. It closes the book on the HM4 series, which was limited to only 100 movements over all models.
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