MB&F's aircraft-inspired HM9 Flow touches down on your wrist
MB&F has released its Horological Machine No. 9 (HM9) Flow, the latest in its series of wristwatches that combines yesterday's design cues with today's technology. Resembling the streamlined instrument panel on a 1950s sports car or aircraft, the HM9 evokes the lines and curves of the past, but places them in a mechanical timepiece that boasts a number of innovations.
Over the years, MB&F has carved a niche for itself with a growing collection of whimsical designs in both watches and clocks. This has been particularly pronounced with the company's HM line with its HM4 Thunderbolt's homage to racing cars, the sideways displaying MoonMachine2, and the spaceship-like HM6 Space Pirate. Now, with three years of development behind it, we have the entirely in-house designed and constructed HM9 Flow.
The first impression of the HM9 Flow is less that of a watch and more like some post-war aircraft with a wrist strap instead of wings. Flanked by two pods, the dial showing the hours and minutes is set at right angles to the rest of the watch. This allows the wearer to read the time without turning the wrist, but it also means that the display has to be driven by conical gears that turn the watch movement 90 degrees. In addition, the winding and setting crown is placed at the rear of the watch's central pod.
The heart of the HM9 Flow is its 44-jewel, manually-wound, in-house movement made up of 301 components. It has a single-barrel, 45-hour power reserve running two independent balance wheels (one in each side pod) beating at 2.5 Hz (18,000 bph) and a planetary differential that averages the outputs of the two wheels while cancelling any resonance that might develop, so accuracy is preserved.
According to the company, the unusual design of the HM9 Flow meant that new manufacturing techniques had to be developed to deal with the pronounced curves and narrow clearances. This included finding new ways to apply the wide variety of finishes needed for the movement, as well as the development of a new three-dimensional gasket for the case to preserve its water resistance. Dividing the movement into three sections to fit transversely into three pods was also a challenge.
All of this is sealed in a 57mm Grade-5 titanium case made out of 43 components to resemble a jet engine, with alternating polished and satin finishes. It's water resistant to 3 ATM (30 m, 66 ft) and is set with five sapphire crystals for the dial, and to show off the mechanism within. It's finished off with a hand-stitched brown calf-leather strap with a bespoke titanium folding buckle.
The HM9 Flow is available in the Road edition with rose gold plated movement and speedometer-type dial, and the Air edition with darkened NAC movement and aviation-style dial. The two editions are available in a limited run of 33 pieces each. The price, for those who dare to ask, is US$182,000.
The video below introduces the HM9 Flow.