MB&F is noted for thinking outside the box in regard to things horological, and that shows as the Swiss Brand unveils its latest timepiece. Designed and built in collaboration with Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva, the MB&F MoonMachine 2 is not only the company's latest take on its Horological Machine collection, but is also the first wristwatch to incorporate a projected moonphase display.
With its aggressive styling and strangely Victorian/Moderne case, the MB&F MoonMachine 2 certainly stands out from the pack, but it's pedigree is in full display. Housed in the stripped-down case of the 2016 Horological Machine Nº8 inspired by Can-Am race cars combined with the battle-axe rotor and the head-up display from the Horological Machine Nº5, the MoonMachine 2 takes things to another level with its projected moonphase display.
According to the company, the moonphase display is more than just an added watch complication. It required considerable redesign, craftsmanship, and a lot of patience to put a moon disc in with the jumping hour and running minute display.
Part of the problem was redesigning the optical prism that projects the hours and minutes so they appear to be vertical and perpendicular to the movement. The prism had to do this for the moon disc as well, but had to do so without 20 percent magnification used for the numbers to prevent distortion.
Another problem was with the gold moon discs themselves, which contain a stylized version of Stepan Sarpaneva's face. Two discs measuring 4.5 mm wide and 0.35 mm thick sit on the moonphase display while a third disc measuring 8.5 mm wide and 0.45 mm thick sits on the titanium rotor. According to MB&F, these are on the limit of being worked by hand with one spot only 0.07 mm thick and the discs had an 80 percent rejection rate.
The 30-jewel, 293-component HM8 automatic movement is built on a Girard-Perregaux base with a jumping hour disc and a running minutes disc. It's powered by a PVD-coated titanium battle-axe rotor cut into an openworked radial web. It has a 42-hour power reserve and a balance frequency of 28,800 vph (4 Hz).
The optical prisms are fixed over the discs and the movement is pared down to allow in as much light as possible for the display. There are also "oil sumps" that are both stylistic and provide access to the pivots on the hour and minute discs for maintenance.
All of this is sealed inside a 59-component, 49 x 51.5 x 19.5 mm titanium case tested to 30 m (90 ft, 3 ATM) and is available in natural, black, and red gold. To accommodate the additional moon disc, the case is 0.5 mm thicker than the Horological Machine Nº5 and there is a pusher for adjusting the moon phase.
Finishing off the MoonMachine 2 are sapphire crystals on the front, back, top, and bottom with the top crystal metallized to complement the rotor. There's also the familiar black alligator strap with matching titanium buckle.
The MoonMachine 2 is available in three editions of 12 units each. Price is CHF 88,000 (US$94,000) for the titanium editions and CHF 95,000 ($102,000) for the red gold.
The video below provides a tour of the MoonMachine 2.
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