Portraits of time

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Horological Machine No.7 ‘Aquapod’

Shereen Shabnam

One of my favourite past times is exploring the new innovations that emerge from the team at MB&F. The idea for an aquatic watch originated from MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser’s memories of family beach holidays, which included an encounter with a jellyfish.

While the encounter may have been minor, the seed it planted in Büsser’s brain for a three-dimensional timepiece powered by tentacles was anything but. And even though the concept for Horological Machine No.7 came relatively quickly, the development took many years.

First launched in 2017 in red gold with black ceramic bezel, and in titanium with blue ceramic bezel, HM7 is back in a titanium case with a green sapphire crystal bezel, limited to 50 pieces.

After pushing the boundaries of horological exploration by blasting into outer space (HM2, HM3, HM6), launching into the sky (HM4), and powering down the road and around the track (HM5, HMX, HM8), MB&F plunges into the water with Horological Machine No.7, aka HM7 Aquapod.

The organic jellyfish-inspired design of HM7 Aquapod is counter-balanced by the very mechanical horology within: a central flying tourbillon tops the concentric vertical movement architecture, with indications radiating out from the centre like ripples in a pond.

The HM7 Aquapod began its gestation as a horological jellyfish, and the architecture of its Engine is appropriately biomorphic. Jellyfish are radially symmetric and hence the Aquapod is radially symmetric. Where a jellyfish generates power from food caught in its tentacles, HM7 generates power from its tentacle-like automatic winding rotor.

Where jellyfish have a radially symmetric ring of neurons for a brain, Aquapod has radially symmetric rings displaying hours and minutes. Where jellyfish have a hood or bell on top, HM7 Aquapod has an imposing flying tourbillon regulating the power generated by the rotor, and transforming it into the display of time.

The winding rotor’s tentacles are crafted from a solid block of titanium; their very three-dimensional nature makes machining and finishing extremely challenging. Underneath the tentacles, a platinum mass ensures powerful and efficient winding.

And then there’s that bezel. While Horological Machine No.7 is not a dive watch, it is a timepiece comfortably at home in the water – so MB&F added the one element that all serious aquatic watches possess: a unidirectional rotating bezel. However, unlike every other dive watch on the planet, Aquapod’s bezel isn’t attached to the case, but floats apart like a life buoy.

Like many jellyfish, HM7 glows in the dark. It glows where you would expect it to, on the hour and minute numerals but also around the inside of the movement, to light up that flying tourbillon at night.

HM7 Aquapod is available in 3 limited editions: titanium with blue ceramic bezel limited to 33 pieces, red gold with black ceramic bezel limited to 66 pieces, and titanium with green sapphire crystal bezel limited to 50 pieces.

 

 

 

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