Hands-on with the MB&F HM5 “On the Road Again” (with live pictures and pricing)

MB&F has just unveiled its latest horological machine: inspired by sports cars of the seventies and the brand’s new entry level machine, the Horological Machine No. 5, in zirconium.

Being a child of the seventies, Maximilian Büsser’s fifth Horological Machine takes inspiration from two objects from the seventies – sports cars like the Lamborghini Miura and the Amida Digitrend.  The MB&F HM5 is many things: a driver’s watch, a jump hour, a sports watch. But above all the HM5 is a tribute to the automobile. However, rather than having a steering wheel rotor and brake caliper pushers like all other car-themed watches, HM5 has been cleverly conceived in its entirety as an automotive watch. From the back the HM5 resembles the sloped, vented rear of a Miura and other seventies sports cars. Of all the Machines I think the HM5 might be the one with the greatest longevity in terms of design. Compared to the other Machines, it is trying less hard to be different.

Some things look best from the back

The MB&F HM5 is driver’s watch with jumping hour, which can be adjusted forwards and back. Developed by Jean-Francois Mojon and Vincent Boucard of Chronode, the movement has two oversized and overlapping discs for maximum readability. It is built on the Girard-Perragaux cal. 3100, as with most of the Machines.

The engine

But as with all Machines, it is the case that is most unusual. First, the case construction is like that of an automobile. The water-resistant chassis contains the movement and crystal, and onto that the zirconium bodywork is screwed on. Because it’s water-resistant, this watch is supplied with a rubber strap, a first for MB&F.

The chassis of the HM4 containing the movement

From the side the zirconium case of the HM5 is strongly reminiscent of the MB&F HM4 Thunderbolt, which was its immediate predecessor in the HM series.

The screws that secure the zirconium bodywork to the inner movement capsule

On the two of the watch are a pair of louvres which can be opened by a small lever on the case. These allow sunlight into the case, which charges up the Super Luminova.

The lever for the louvres

Those same louvres will also allow water into the outer zirconium case – but not the inner movement module which is sealed – so a pair of drainage vents are incorporated into the back of the case, much like exhaust pipes. 

The drainage vents on either side of the crown

Notably, the time display of the watch is actually flat, parallel to the movement. However, a wedge-shaped sapphire prism reflects the time display 90° onto the front panel of the watch. That is why the numerals – which incidentally are a sandwich construction with two mineral glass discs entirely coated in Super Luminova with masking on top – are printed in reverse.

And attached to the front of the prism is a convex crystal that magnifies the numbers by 20%, improving legibility.

The crystal

The dimensions of the watch are 51.5 mm by 49 mm, and it is 22.5mm high. On the wrist it certainly makes a statement, like any other MB&F creation.

Only 66 pieces will be made in zirconium for 2012-2013. In subsequent year, one additional variant of the HM5 will be made annually. The retail price in Singapore is SGD88,000 while Swiss retail is CHF58,500. – SJX

The Amida Digitrend with the HM5

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News: Hermes palladium pocket watch “In The Pocket”

Based on a wristwatch Jacqueline Hermès wore as a child in 1912, the new Hermes In The Pocket is a pocket watch with a leather band that transforms it into a wristwatch.

Hermes In The Pocket

Housed in a 40 mm palladium case – which grows to 49 mm when in the leather holder – the In The Pocket contains the H1837 movement, developed by Vaucher for Hermes and first seen in the Dressage H1837 launched at Basel this year.

The leather strap is hand made in the Hermes style, naturally. The press release text and series of pictures below detail the tedious production process. 

This is limited to 24 pieces. – SJX

Three layers of leather compose the longer and shorter parts of the strap: Barenia leather, an unfinished full-grain leather that is both natural and alive; an inner cow skin reinforcement chosen for its sturdiness; and a Zermatt calfskin lining.

First comes the cutting process: cut and then split into two, the hides are soaked and then moulded in a die. They dry in this way for 10 days before being cut with a pointed tool, split again, sanded and glued. Each of the parts is then partially stitched. The longer part is perforated to free the space through which the dial will be visible as well as the slit through

which the shorter part will be inserted and the hole through which the crown will emerge.

Then comes the “table” phase in which the shorter and longer parts are put together and then marked with a compass, hallmarked and sewn according to the saddle-stitch technique.


And at last it’s time for finishing, which involves hammering the stitching, marking a furrow between the sewing line, dyeing and polishing with bees’ wax.

Slowly and patiently, one operation after another, the artisans at La Montre Hermès have developed “In The Pocket”, a tribute to the Maison’s early involvement in the field of watchmaking.

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