When MB&F first debuted the Horological Machine No. 6 (HM6) in 2014, it was clearly a timepiece unlike any other we had seen—spaceship inspired, curvy and luscious. The brand followed this version (known as the Space Pirate) with a second, featuring a case predominantly composed of Sapphire Glass, this time known as the Sapphire Vision. A thin, precious metal case band held it all together. From an engineering perspective, it was a tremendous advancement. Aesthetically, however, it offered a window into the tremendous technologically development beating at the watch’s core. Today, a third HM6 arrives—and its case has been crafted entirely from Sapphire Crystal. This material in essence reveals the skeleton of the whole vessel. Incredibly challenging to machine, it takes up to 500 hours to produce. The piece defies expectation, weighing far less than expected and resting well ergonomically on the wrist. But to take their vision even further, the Maximilian Büsser and Friends team made two additional updates.
First, the Alien Nation (as the third generation HM6 is referred to) has received a double application of lume. There’s the vibrant AGT Ultra (which they incorporated on a collaboration with Black Badger previously) used along the case band and, of course, Super-LumiNova used for the indicators and along the hand-painted turbines. The resulting glow (as seen in our hero image) carries such eerie magnificence. Further, only four limited edition HM6 Alien Nations will be produced, and each has a specific AGT Ultra lume accent —green, blue, purple and turquoise.
Second, for the first time the spaceship piece has been populated with a crew. Artist and engraver Olivier Kuhn hand-sculpted six aliens per watch—each with arms and necks finer than a grain of sand. 34 hours were required for each white gold alien—one of which pilots the watch from an external seat. We’ve seen the filmic world embrace highbrow science fiction over the past few years, but MB&F has been doing it a long time and the Alien Nation is a prime, shining example.
The four unique HM6 Alien Nation pieces retailed for $500,000 each, though one collector purchased all of them in advance. Due to the engineering feat at play, the buyer has allowed journalists to get hands-on with the first finished piece before it enters his private collection.
Additional reporting by David Graver, hero image by Josh Rubin, all other images courtesy of MB&F