Hands-On with the MB&F HM6 Final Edition

A steel farewell.

When a watch collection exits the stage at a major watch brand, it is usually a quiet affair, especially if the line wasn’t successful. The replacement is then announced with a lot of fanfare, and a small footnote in the accompanying press release about the recently departed.

MB&F, however, has made it a habit to celebrate the discontinuation of each of its “machines” with a final run in stainless steel (a practice that has become fashionable in Swiss watchmaking of late). At SIHH earlier this year, HM6 reached the run of its run, with the last eight of the 100 produced finally coming to market.

The HM6 Final Edition is in stainless steel, but the case material is not the only difference between it and the other HM6 variants, which were variously available in titanium and red gold.

Functionally the Final Edition is identical, with the hours and minutes indicated inside the two spheres on the lower half of the watch. The “turbines” in the spheres on the upper half are linked to the automatic winding mechanism, and help regulate the rate of winding according to MB&F.

But significant design changes were implemented in the Final Edition, making it the best looking of the HM6 series.

MB&F HM6 Final Edition time close up

The most obvious tweak is the enlarged sapphire dome over the flying tourbillon, revealing a bit more of the mechanics below, giving the tourbillon a bit more visual impact.

MB&F HM6 Final Edition top close up

While the overall case shape of the Final Edition is identical to the earlier versions, the Final Edition case differs in details. It features fluting running lengthwise along the case, accentuating the rounded, organic form of the watch.

Notably, the fluting has a contrasting finish, with the grooves being mirror polished, while the case is finished with a linear brushing.

Similarly, the bridge linking the lugs to the case has been redesigned to echo the styling of the case.

MB&F HM6 Final Edition turbine close up

MB&F HM6 Final Edition minute close up

The time display spheres are in blue, instead of black as in the preceding models

The three-dimensional movement, conceived by David Candaux and realised with the help of other specialists, is the same as in previous iterations of the HM6.

The crown on the right of the case winds the movement, which has a 72 hour power reserve, while the crown on the left operates the shutter that closes over the tourbillon.

MB&F HM6 Final Edition back

MB&F HM6 movement

Photo – MB&F

The dimensions of the piece remain the same as with earlier versions, so the case is 49.5mm wide, 52.3mm long and 20.4mm high.

Though it’s large, the steel case is relatively lightweight, while the hinged lugs help with fit on the wrist, making it relatively easy to wear.

MB&F HM6 Final Edition back close up

Key facts

Diameter: 49.5mm
Length: 52.3mm
Height: 20.4mm
Material: stainless steel
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: HM6 by MB&F with David Candaux
Frequency: 18,000bph, or 2.5Hz
Power reserve: 72 hours

Bracelet: Alligator hide leather

Price and availability

The MB&F HM6 Final Edition is a limited edition of eight pieces and priced at 210,000 Swiss francs, or US$215,000.


Update June 2, 2019: Added key facts

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Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Langematik Perpetual Honey Gold

The last hurrah for the perpetual perhaps?

Unveiled at SIHH 2019, the Langematik Perpetual Honey Gold is the latest A. Lange & Söhne wristwatch to have a honey gold case. At the same time, it is the only Langematik perpetual calendar left in the catalogue – all other versions have been discontinued – making it perhaps the swan song of the model.

The honey gold perpetual looks a little fancier than the ordinary version. First, there is the honey gold case, which is intriguing up close because it is neither yellow nor rose gold. Instead it is an unusual but pleasing in-between shade. And honey gold also has the practical advantage of being harder than ordinary gold, making it more scratch resistant.

And then there’s the chapter ring that’s stamped with a fine radial pattern. The guilloche works well for the dial, giving it a little bit more life as compared to the standard dial.

Lange Langematik Perpetual Honey Gold 1

Everything on the dial is well executed when examined up close. Crucially, all of the gold elements of the dial – the Roman numerals, hands, date window frame – are also honey gold, making them an exact visual match with the colour of the case.

The perpetual

The rest of the watch is pretty much identical to the stock model.

From a practical perspective the Langematik Perpetual offers an exceptionally legible date, though the rest of the calendar indications are just as tiny as they are on comparable perpetual calendars.

It is also set in a similar to other perpetual calendars, with recessed pushers on the case band for the calendar displays. But that wasn’t always the case; the first generation Langematik Perpetual had a pushbutton at 1o o’clock to advance the date, just like on Lange watches with a conventional date display. But Lange got rid of the button, because it apparently was too easily triggered, causing angst with accidental advancing of the date.

On the wrist the watch is compact but solid, creating a tactile feel that is similar to other Lange watches. It measures 38.5mm wide and 10.2mm high, giving it relatively elegant proportions, although no one will ever mistake it for an extra-thin calendar watch.

Lange Langematik Perpetual Honey Gold 6

The display back reveals the L922.1 movement, one of the oldest movements in the Lange catalogue. Originally known as a the Sax-O-Mat calibre, it was the first automatic movement developed by the brand.

Its most unusual feature is the hacking, zero reset seconds – pulling the crown to set the time halts the seconds hand and sends it back to 12, hence the “O” in the name.

Here it is combined with Lange’s own perpetual calendar model, although it is indistinguishable from the back from a basic automatic.

Lange Langematik Perpetual Honey Gold 4

The movement is unusual in having a micro-rotor that is larger the usual; while most micro-rotor have a diameter that’s about the radius of the movement, the rotor here covers about two-thirds of the entire movement diameter.

Though the movement is decorated to typical Lange standards, making it very attractive to behold, the rotor is notably elaborate.

The central portion is solid 21 carat yellow gold, cast with relief lettering and then finished with circular graining on its top surface. Then a platinum peripheral weight is screwed to the gold section, secured with four blued steel screws. Few rotors are as fancy as this one.

Lange Langematik Perpetual Honey Gold 3

High and lows of honey gold

Since the alloy was introduced with the 165th Anniversary ‘Homage to F.A. Lange’ set in 2010, honey gold has been used for the cases of nine different models. That does sound like a lot, and  slightly diminishes the appeal of the unusual metal, but the production numbers are actually fairly small.

All honey gold watches were limited editions, and only 1000 watches were produced across all models – a tiny number in the grander scheme of things. Since its revival in 1994, Lange has produced about 120,000 watches, so the 1000 honey gold watches are a tiny fraction of output.

Lange Langematik Perpetual Honey Gold 5

The only downside of honey gold, from a personal perspective, is the fact that is doesn’t look the best on East Asian skin tones because of the lack of contrast. That is a reason why I generally prefer white metal watches.

That being said, honey gold is rare enough to make it appealing on its own, especially when combined with a might-be-discontinued watch like the Langematik Perpetual.


 

Key Facts

Diameter: 38.5mm
Height: 10.2mm
Material: 18k honey gold
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: Automatic L922.1
Frequency: 21,600bph, or 3Hz
Power reserve: 46 hours

Strap: Alligator

 

Price and availability

The Langematik Perpetual Honey Gold (ref. 310.050) is priced at US$85,000. It is available from Lange boutiques from May 2019.


Correction June 1, 2019: The total number of modern day Lange wristwatches is about 120,000, and not 200,000 as stated in an earlier version of the article.

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