Horological Machine No4 Thunderbolt

Wrist aviation from a leading watch innovator

by Meehna Goldsmith


A provocatively sleek new watch, Maximilian Büsser’s titanium and sapphire Horological Machine No4 Thunderbolt is a raw tribute to aviation with time-keeping as a “fringe benefit.” Mounted to the strap with screws designed specifically for the watch, two pods resembling jet engines keep track of the power reserve (up to 72 hours on a full wind) and the time.

Receiving rave reviews upon its recent launch, the horological machine is as finely crafted as it is radical, taking three years to develop and over 200 hours to machine and polish just one watch.

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The movement of the hand-wind HM4 consists of 311 parts and converts power from a horizontal dual mainspring barrel to two vertical gear trains for a clear readout from two separate dials. Every element has been carefully considered for a fully functional, pared down aeronautical watch.

Büsser expects extreme reactions to the watch. While a collaborative effort with several high-end watch designers, Büsser creates for himself, expressing his own taste and wishes in what he refers to as “selfish creativity.”

Though not a limited edition, the HM4 Thunderbolt is produced in small quantities ranging from 25-35 pieces a year, with only 10 left for production during the remainder of 2010. They sell for $158,000 from retailers around the world.