He’s done it again. Max Busser of MB&F (Max Busser and Friends) is back with a maddening blast of space age, high-tech, sci-fi blending that presents itself in the HM No. 6 – just unveiled to the world today in Switzerland. Fondly called the HM6 Space Pirate, this new creation is designed to survive the hostile elements that one might encounter in space (or in everyday work and play environs).
For those who know Max Busser and MB&F, the company is not necessarily a watch brand, but rather a group of like-minded friends and thinkers designing radical concept watches micro-engineered in a laboratory and bringing them to 3D fruition. Busser – enamored with the concept of space and space travel since childhood – brings his inspirations and concepts to the drawing board time and again with unparalleled canny. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the HM6 Space Pirate was inspired by a Japanese animated TV series – Captaine Flam (or Future in English) — that Max watched as a child.
The HM6 Space Pirate looks less like a spaceship and more like an alien – the unusually curved biomorphic square case features four 360° spheres that are capped on the top and bottom by domed sapphire crystals. There is one in each corner of the watch. The HM6 features the hours and minutes displayed in each of the two front spheres. The back spheres feature twin turbines spinning horizontally, thereby regulating the winding system. These aluminium domes inside the spheres that display the hour and minutes are machined to paper thinness and revolve on ruby bearings. They rotate vertically at a 90-degree angle to the movement –requiring a specially devised gearing and drive train.
In the center of the watch sits another domed crystal, which reveals a 60-second flying tourbillon made expressly for this watch. While it sits in glory – the tourbillon is, however, exposed to constant UV light shining on the central dome, which can cause premature oxidizing of the movement’s lubricating oils. To prevent this, the Space Pirate has a retractable titanium protective shield made of six overlapping curved titanium blades that can be opened and closed in the blink of an eye via a crown at 9:00.
The reverse side of the watch features a sapphire crystal portal through which one can view a portion of the complete 475-part movement, including the platinum winding iridescent-green battle-axe rotor. So sophisticated is this space machine that the engine took more than 3 years to develop.
The case of the watch is crafted in aeronautic grade Ti -6Al-4V titanium, and a titanium brace in the center of the case runs vertically across the circumference to reinforce its strength and support the lugs. The polishing and finishing of the complex case with all its curves and space age nuances – requires more than 100 hours of hand labor.
The Horological Machine N°6 ‘Space Pirate’ is being built in a limited edition of 50 pieces and only 100 HM6 movements will be made. Each will retail for approximately $230,000. In total, the Space Pirate features 10 crystals, 9 of which are domed. As is the case with all MB&F Horological Machines, many Friends were involved in the making of the timepiece. In fact, nearly every component of the case and mechanism had to be developed from scratch for this watch.
Below is a list of just some of the Friends involved in HM6. And further down, you can witness Max Busser in a video explaining his inspiration for this new and wondrous baby.
Concept: Maximilian Büsser / MB&F
Product design: Eric Giroud / Eric Giroud Design Studio
Development and production management: Serge Kriknoff / MB&F
R&D: Guillaume Thévenin and Ruben Martinez / MB&F
Movement development: MB&F with David Candaux
Case: MB&F and Fabien Chapatte and Riccardo Pescante / Les Artisans Boitiers
Profile-turning wheel / pinion / axis: Yann Le Martret /mudec
Steel spring + turbine aluminium: Alain Pellet / Elefil
Tourbillon: Dominique Lauper / Precision Engineering
Retractable shield: Benjamin Signoud / AMECAP
Plates and bridges: Rodrigue Baume / Damatec, Georges Auer / Mecawatch, Benjamin Signoud / AMECAP
Platinum winding rotor: Denis Villars / Cendres et métaux
Hand-finishing of movement components: Jacques-Adrien Rochat and Denis Garcia / C-L Rochat
Movement assemblage: Didier Dumas, Georges Veisy, Anne Guiter and Emmanuel Maitre/ MB&F
In-house machining: Alain Lemarchand / MB&F