Homage to the jellyfish
Gisbert L. Brunner has been writing about watches and chronometry since 1981
Max Büsser & Friends (MB&F) aren’t known for their everyday timepieces. Their wristwatches stand out from the crowd both in the way they look and their mechanical inner workings. Perfect examples of this are their Horological Machines (HM) numbers 2 to 6.
None of these or their other watches has been suited to ongoing contact with water. This partnership with friends which led to the creation of MB&F in 2005 also arose from the fact that Max is not a watchmaker but actually an ambitious product-designer with a pronounced passion for extraordinary mechanical microcosms.
For the 2017 SIHH, the Swiss Microtechnology graduate who now lives in Dubai has decided to take the proverbial plunge, as you can tell from the Horological Machine No.7’s sobriquet, Aquapod.
Jellyfish, whose brains are a radially symmetric ring of neurons, were the inspiration behind the organic look to this piece, which Max Büsser very much doesn’t want classified as a diving watch. Its outer form marks a stark contrast to the natural tick of the inner workings with a flying tourbillon under a sort of bell. The balance vibrates 18,000 times per hour.
Another jellyfish reference is in the tentacles which these thoroughly dangerous creatures eat their prey with. In the watch’s case, the tentacles assist with the automatic winding. The energy sent to the barrel, which gives the watch a 72-hour power reserve, feeds a titanium rotor which has a platinum sector underneath.
MB&F chose radially symmetric rings for the hour and minute display. Another stand-out feature is the unidirectional and locking rotating ceramic bezel. It is not attached to the idiosyncratic case but floats apart like a lifebelt.
The engine consists of 303 components in all. Everything in it, from the winding rotor to the barrel, the hours and minutes and the tourbillon, rotates concentrically around the centre.
Like many types of jellyfish, the HM7 also glows in the dark. The winding rotor lights up just as the hour and minute numerals do. MB&F put three panels of AGT (Ambient Glow Technology) lume around the tourbillon for that very purpose.
There will be 33 53.8-mm (in diameter) and 21.3-mm thick HM7 Aquapods made of grade 5 titanium with a blue bezel (retailing at €95,000 plus VAT) and 66 made of 18-carat pink gold with a black bezel for €110,000 plus VAT. They are water-resistant to five bar, meaning to a depth of 50 metres.