Max Büsser, the man behind some of the most unusual timepieces in the world, says that “no one needs a watch to tell time.” Instead, he thinks about the watches his company MB&F (Maximilian Büsser and friends) creates as a collaborative process in “kinetic sculpture that also tells time, but that’s not the point.” Each new release causes the watch world to pay attention, and often scratch their heads.
We’ve been following the brand since its inception and are consistently amazed by each radical machine—for both wrist and desk—each more innovative and imaginative than the last. Their latest, the Horological Machine No. 6 (HM6) is the sixth in their series of unusual modern timepieces. A second series riffs off of classical designs and is called Legacy Machines. We had an opportunity to preview the HM6 in person on a recent trip to Geneva. It’s appropriate that the watch, futuristic in both vision and execution, draws inspiration from galactic depths.
Büsser told us the HM6’s inspiration came from a spaceship he saw in a Japanese anime cartoon that he saw as a child, with a dose of biomorphism. To imitate the curves he remembers he crafted two solid ingots of aerospace-grade titanium alloy, touting both high resistance to erosion and low thermal conductivity. The material’s strength was a challenge to work with, taking more than 100 hours to polish into the beautiful satin finish the watch bares. HM6 then sports 10 sapphire crystals—including two domes each for the time indicators (located at the bottom) and the turbines (on top). The nine domes, after being crafted to uniform thickness, are then frosted and meticulously polished both inside and out. An additional dome covers the central tourbillon.
The watch displays hours and minutes on separate semi-spherical aluminum indicators. The flying tourbillon in the center comes complete with a retractable shield. Inside, you’ll find 476 components and 68 jewels. The three-dimensional horological engine developed exclusively for this watch by MB&F and David Candaux Horlogerie Creative took more than three years to complete. Nearly every component and mechanism within the timepiece had to be created from scratch because the complications—from the angled planes of the movement to the paper-thin aluminum indicator domes—required new designs. The carefully considered design symbolizes the infinite possibilities within advanced watchmaking, but it’s also just as alluring and luxurious to an unversed eye.
Watch our Cool Hunting Video with MB&F from earlier this year:
The Horological Machine No. 6 “Space Pirate” is available in a limited edition of 50 pieces in titanium and retails for $230,000. MB&F plans on making an additional 50 in another source material with details to be released at a later date.
Additional reporting by David Graver, images by Greg Stefano