IN a bunch of “Horological Machines,” as MB&F rightfully prefers to call its creations, HM No.6 more than holds up its own. A Jules Verne-ish/steampunk/biomorphic curiosity amid a sterling group of oddities, it is a proper piece of wrist sculpture, a genuine proponent of horological porn.
In the HM No.6, the hours and minutes are displayed on two hemispheres rotating perpendicularly to the rest of the geared elements, something achieved through the use of conical gears. The watch’s self-winding system is spun by turbines. Its flying tourbillon, unlike others of the sort which are mounted as near to the movement as possible in order to guarantee accuracy, soars high above the calibre — all while continuing to precisely regulate timekeeping. As richly decorated as the case is, this 475-part calibre took MB&F three years to build.
Now, after just a little over four years of romping, the HM No.6 is saying goodbye, the announcement made by MB&F at the halls of the 2019 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva.
The HM No.6 Final Edition, like the Legacy Machine No.1 Final Edition, bids goodbye in a steel case, replacing the red gold, platinum and even a full sapphire crystal wardrobe the earlier HM No.6 pieces came with. And because the model has always placed its flying tourbillon as the central element of its design and construction, the Final Edition gets an expanded sapphire crystal cover over this mechanism, fully exposing the beating regulator and its revolving cage within.
MB&F launched HM No.6 in November 2014, with the debut piece, known as the Space Pirate, first clad in titanium before switching to red gold. In early 2016, HM No.6-SV, for Sapphire Vision, followed. This time the watch was enclosed in a case whose uppermost and lowest sections were made of sapphire crystal (the mid case was in platinum or red gold). HM No.6 Alien Nation arrived in 2017 featuring a full sapphire crystal case and six miniature sculptures of alien hominids.
In all, there were 50 titanium and 18 red gold examples of HM No.6 Space Pirate; 10 pieces of HM No.6-SV in platinum and another 10 pieces in red gold; plus four pieces of the Alien Nation edition. The HM No.6 Final Edition will have eight examples, rounding the total number of the HM No.6 production to 100 watches.
The model is the fourth Horological Machine MB&F is terminating production of, following after the HM No.2 (2008-2011), HM No.3 (2008-2015) and the HM No.4 (2010-2013). All were fittingly sent off with Final Edition versions.
Maximilian Busser and the team comprising MB&F explain that concluding a model series is a “major strategic decision” for them, and is illustrative of their quest to continue exploring and developing new products. Simply, stopping to make a model lets them move on to other pursuits.
Farewell to all that, then.