The Independent Genius Of MB&F’s HMX
by Simon Cudd
One of my recent horological highlights was getting to see independent genius MB&F at Marcus’ prestigious boutique in the heart of London’s Mayfair district.
MB&F celebrates its tenth anniversary as an independent Swiss watch manufacturer known for the marvelous Horological Machines and Legacy Machines, which most of us mere mortals otherwise know as HMs and LMs.
As much as I love “traditional” (meaning “normal” round) timepieces that tell the time in more conventional ways, it’s the quirky, amusing, and assertive way that MB&F throws the challenge of telling the time at me – be it through the aerodynamic HM5, the “way out there” HM6 Space Pirate (read Heartbeat: Horological Machine No. 6 By MB&F), or the loveable HM3 Frog I love so much.
I have long admired this brand, but particularly since the concept behind the HM3 Chocolate Frog (which happens to be my favorite piece in the whole MB&F collection) was explained to me – or at least tried to explain as I admit to having been a little overwhelmed.
Now MB&F has come up with a rather cool-looking retro watch to celebrate this tenth anniversary: HMX. The “X” stands for “ten” in Roman numerals – and is used here instead of a traditional Arabic numeral, which might create confusion with a future HM10.
This timepiece is not dissimilar to the HM5, which took inspiration from automobile design of the 1970s, especially the very famous and beautiful Lamborghini Miura. In London, I was able to see the Black and Red versions, while the Green and Blue versions were simultaneously making their way around Asia and the Middle East.
The titanium case sits beautifully on the wrist, making it easy to wear, though that would not have been a problem anyway as it is certainly much smaller than its bigger brother, HM5. The oval-shaped crystal viewing window surrounded by a steel bezel is actually split down the middle, so when you look at it straight-on it you can see the MB&F logo in the center.
When you look down through the sapphire crystal on top of the watch, the complication can be seen even more clearly.
HMX comes in a limited edition of four color schemes of 20 pieces each in Lotus Black, Ferrari Red, Bugatti Blue, and British Racing Green. They all have color-coordinated, perforated leather straps and pay homage and reference to the cars and their associated colors from which the timepiece takes its cue.
The insightful quote by founder Maximilian Büsser “A creative adult is a child who survived” that has become the brand’s anniversary tagline is emblazoned around the winding rotor visible through the sapphire crystal case back.
And in a fantastic nod to loyal friends and followers of the brand, MB&F has priced the HMX quite competitively while not sacrificing build quality: it comes in at £24,900.
My MB&F journey came full circle when I finally met Büsser in person at Baselworld 2015. We chatted about the new Melchior robot clock, the reasoning behind its name, and MB&F in general. (You too can learn about this interesting clock by reading Melchior: A Mechanical Robot Clock In Honor Of MB&F’s Anniversary.)
Case: 46.8 x 44.3 x 20.7 mm, titanium and stainless steel; dual reflective sapphire crystal prisms with integrated magnifying lens
Movement: automatic Sellita caliber with jump hour and training minutes module developed in-house
Functions: bi-directional jumping hours and “trailing” minutes
Limitation: four color schemes of 20 pieces each in Lotus Black, Ferrari Red, Bugatti Blue, and British Racing Green for a total of 80 pieces
Price: 29,000 Swiss francs + tax / $30,000 + applicable tax
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