The jellyfish-inspired tourbillon watch joins the trend for green watches
By Chris Hall
The ninth Horological Machine from MB&F (don’t let the name fool you; we had HMX and HM8 before HM7 was launched in 2017) is now available with a titanium case and on-trend green bezel and details. I would say dial details, but as usual the idea of a typical dial doesn’t really apply here.
A quick recap: HM7 is a flying tourbillon watch that takes MB&F’s modernist creations into the ocean depths. Conceived by Max Busser and designed by Eric Giroud, it can be interpreted a number of ways: it plays with the classical idea of the diving watch, with its rotating bezel, but in placing that bezel outside a domed case, it evokes jellyfish, life-belts, and a steampunk submarine – although my mind still goes straight to old-school flying saucers.
It is textbook MB&F in so many ways: the sapphire dome and radial indexes for hours and minutes; the melding and mixing of influences; the atypical treatment of the platinum automatic rotor – which here is surrounded by what look like the teeth of a giant squid, milled from a single piece of titanium.
It is also perhaps the brand’s most polarising Horological Machine yet – when we first saw it at SIHH 2017 some reactions were muted, and while practicality and wearability have never been paramount considerations for HM buyers, the overall width of HM7 (53.8mm) and the spheroid case shape do make for an unusual experience on the wrist. It’s very easy to imagine knocking that bezel.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about the changes introduced for this edition of HM7. The watch is back to being cased in titanium (it was originally released in titanium, followed by rose gold) and as has become something of an MB&F tradition, a green colour scheme has been added later in the model’s life. In the case of HM7 that means green luminous indicators on the hour and minute dials, and most obviously, a really bright green bezel.
Whereas the original HM7 used a blue ceramic bezel, the desired shade of green proved impossible to deliver in ceramic (we’re going to be writing a lot more in the near future about just how such things are done, and why certain colours are easier than others), so MB&F found a different solution. The HM7 Ti uses a sapphire crystal bezel with a layer of vivid green lacquer beneath it. The curved cross-section of the sapphire gives the impression that the colour is solid throughout, which is a neat trick.
In other respects, the watch is unchanged. For all that it plays with dive watch designs – the triangle with luminous dot on the minute track; the typeface of the bezel, and the rubber strap – the watch is only water resistant to 50m. But hey, it’s a flying tourbillon – did you really want to take it swimming?
Perhaps HM7’s finest moment comes in its closest evocation of the marine life that inspired it. At night this watch comes to life with luminova – not only on the numerals but, thanks to three solid blocks of AGT-Ultra (pioneered by the king of all things glowing, James Thompson aka Black Badger), the tourbillon above and the teeth below are bathed in an eerie blue-green glow just like a creature of the deep.
Who needs Blue Planet now?