In the world of luxury timepieces, where innovation and craftsmanship merge seamlessly, MB&F has always stood out as a visionary brand pushing the boundaries of horology. The year 2018 marked a remarkable milestone in its journey with the introduction of the Horological Machine N°9 aka HM9 ‘Flow’. A tribute to the iconic automotive and aeronautic designs of the 1940s and 50s, this horological marvel captured the essence of that era’s flowing and aerodynamic aesthetics. However, what truly set it apart was the intricate engine inside, a creation hailed by Maximilian Büsser, the founder of MB&F, as “the most beautiful movement we’ve created to date.” The natural progression for such an exceptional movement was to be encased in a transparent shell that would not only protect it but also showcase its inner workings. And so, the HM9 Sapphire Vision editions – or HM9-SV – were born. These editions took the artistry of horology to a whole new level, merging mechanical engineering with artistic design in an exquisite symphony.
The HM9 Sapphire Vision made its initial appearance in four distinctive editions, each limited to just five pieces. Two editions boasted an 18K red gold frame coupled with a NAC-coated black or a PVD-coated blue engine, while the other two featured an 18K white gold frame with a PVD-coated purple or a red gold plated engine. These editions, with their fusion of precious metals and engine aesthetics, were a sight to behold.
Fast forward to the present year, and the HM9 Sapphire Vision family has expanded to welcome two new entrants, both equally mesmerizing. One flaunts a PVD-coated blue engine nestled within a white gold frame, while the other showcases a PVD-coated green engine encased by a yellow gold frame. As with their predecessors, these editions are also limited to just five pieces each, adding an aura of exclusivity to their breathtaking beauty.
At first glance, the HM9-SV is a masterpiece of sapphire crystal and precious metal, painstakingly curved and assembled into a three-part structure. This crystal marvel is sealed using a proprietary blend of a patented three-dimensional gasket and a cutting-edge high-tech bonding process. The result is a watch capable of withstanding water pressure up to 3ATM (30 meters), all while maintaining an impeccably seamless design.
What truly sets the HM9-SV apart from its predecessors is the inclusion of two fully independent cantilevered balances that work in harmony, channeling their data into a differential mechanism that transforms their individual heartbeats into a singular, coherent time pulse. This intricate dance of balance wheels not only enhances precision but also adds to the visual spectacle through the transparent case.
This visual feast continues on the reverse side of the timepiece, where co-axial beneath each balance sit propellers – twin turbines that elegantly spin, adding an element of kinetic artistry. It’s as if these propellers are waiting for the next adventure to begin, beckoning to be part of a new voyage of exploration.
Having conquered both land and sky with the initial ‘Air’ and ‘Road’ editions, the HM9-SV takes us on a deep-sea journey, unlocking the mysteries of the ocean depths. It’s reminiscent of an exploratory vessel from Atlantis, powered by technology that’s simultaneously familiar and alien to our eyes.
The design language of the HM9-SV pays homage to its predecessors while embracing the demands of ocean exploration. The fluid dynamics that governed its design are still prevalent, albeit with a more lenient approach to accommodate the underwater environment. The curves and lines are not just visually pleasing; they also enhance the timepiece’s resilience against the ocean’s pressures.
Inside this exquisite exterior resides the heart of the HM9-SV, an engine that defies convention. The intricate arrangement of wheels, gears, plates, and bridges creates a three-dimensional symphony, housed within a crystalline body. The traditional balance frequency of 2.5Hz may appear traditional, but the presence of two balances compensates for this seemingly anachronistic choice, offering enhanced shock resistance and more accurate timekeeping.
In a quest for even greater resilience, the HM9-SV introduces a novel shock-absorbing system. Helicoidal springs, meticulously crafted from polished stainless steel using laser technology, provide both elasticity and limited lateral displacement. These springs absorb shocks and impacts, safeguarding the intricate mechanism within.
Perhaps the most captivating aspect of the HM9-SV is its transparency. Every element of the engine is on display, allowing the observer’s gaze to follow the intricate interplay of components – from the barrel to the balance, from the differential to the dial. This openness invites enthusiasts to delve into the world of horological engineering, appreciating the complexity and artistry that go into crafting such a masterpiece.
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