Sometimes I wait a bit after news “breaks” to discuss a topic. That was the case with MB&F’s new HM (horological machine) 2.2 watch. The timepiece is a further extension of the quite pricey luxury HM2 watch. MB&F has given the watch several version done in combos of metals (gold, titanium…), ceramic, and of course colors and styles. I’ve worn a few of them, and admit they are sorta cool. One of the biggest criticisms of that watch is that it was unwearable. True, the the wide box is tough to wear on your wrist, but it isn’t exactly “unwearable” (like the DeWitt WX-1). From a practical standpoint MB&F watches are wearable art. Few people would actually wear and HM1, HM2, or HM3 watch all the time, but I for one quite appreciate them. Max Busser of the brand is a marketing master as well. He really knows how to get people excited about his watches, and items such as this limited edition of 8 pieces HM2.2 watch are a great was of doing that.
For me, this collaboration with watch maker Alain Silberstein is very impressive. I don’t know whose idea it was, Max’s or Alain’s but the result is said to have quite shocked Mr. Busser. What Alain did is take a watch, make some arguably minor changes, and totally alter the look of the timepiece. His inspiration was vintage box style cameras from the 1940s, and you can see the connection in the design. Only the little colors triangle, square, and circle indicate his hallmark touch. Well those and the smiling moon phase indicator (styled after art nouveau characters. This “Little Nemo”) .
Silberstein really changed how the watch seems to tell the time and other indications – even though he really didn’t. What he did do is make reading the watch easier. As such, you can read the retrograde minutes, jumping out, and retrograde date and moon phase indicator with pleasant ease. While Busser is a showman, Alain is a true watchmaker who emphasizes function, and happens to be a great contemporary French artist as well. Oh, and I like that the dials have luminant on them. Much of the time these $100,000 watch forgo such “functional” embellishments.
Aside from the new looks of the watch (that are actually a bit subdued given how showy the two like to me, there are some interesting uses of materials. See the spec list below for full details, but allow me to specifically mention a few of the things you should now. Most of the watch case is in titanium, with a mostly steel interior. The Titanium is coated in a special type of PVD that uses silicium in it (that haute material being used in some ultra high-end stuff). So aside from being exotic, why is this done? Well pretty watches only stay pretty so long as you don’t get your mitts on them. Finger prints are the bane of a nice presentation. But Silberstein says that the new coating is highly resistant to fingerprints, so that the exterior of the case is most always looking presentable and clean. Love that he was able to accomplish this. Not only that, but the outcome is suppose to appear quite impressive. A good use of exotic materials for more reasons than just to be exotic.
Inside the watch is mostly the same HM2 automatic movement that has always been a joy to check out. Alain added a 22k blued gold (yup!) automatic rotor that is shaped like a battle axe. And yes, that is not just me talking, but the automatic rotor is intentionally shaped like a kick-ass weapon! On the side of the watch is a simple inscription that should sum it all up for you. “Le vrai bonheur est d’avoir sa passion pour métier,” which translates into “True happiness is having one’s passion for a profession.” I agree, and hence why I do the work that I do commenting and reviewing watches. I seem to be in good company with these two men. I look forward to hopefully checking out an HM2.2 Black Box watch sometime, though that chances of that are not likely. With only 8 pieces ever, and enough fans of both M&F and Alain Silberstein out there, these watch are gonna go fast (if not already).
Technical specifications of the Horological Machine No2.2 direct from MB&F:
Jean-Marc Wiederrecht/Agenhor designed functionality regulated and powered by a Girard-Perregaux oscillator and gear train
Balance oscillating at 28,800 bph
22 k blued rose gold “Battle-AX” automatic winding rotor
Number of components: 349 including 44 jewels
Left dial: Retrograde Date and Moon Phase
Right Dial: Jumping Hours and Concentric Retrograde Minutes
Silicium PVD coated titanium; limited edition of EIGHT pieces
Dimensions (exclusive of crown and lugs): 59mm x 38mm x 13mm
Water resistant to 30 meters (3 ATM)
Number of parts: 89 (case only)
Dial side with anti-reflective treatment on both faces. Display back with anti-reflective treatment on single face.
Strap & Buckle:
Black hand-stitched calfskin with titanium custom designed buckle
Precision engineered aluminium and leather instrument case featuring an integrated Rüeger thermometer
See MB&F and Alain Silberstein watches on eBay here.
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