Is it a bird, is it a plane? No it’s a house on your wrist. Before we dive into the MB&F’s new Horological Machine, the HM11 Architect, it's important to understand the idea that founder Maximilian Busser had for it. An official communication released by the brand states that the idea stems from Habitology, an approach to architecture that is inspired by the organic forms of nature. And when Büsser, looked at one of these houses, which seemed like an extension of the earth itself, he thought, “What if that house was a watch?”. And thus was laid the foundation of the HM11 Architect.
So how does the HM11 Architect execute this idea? Let’s focus on the form first. First is the origin point of the house, an atrium, from which everything else extends. This is the central flying tourbillon, which sits under a double-domed sapphire roof, and whose four-leaved upper bridge recalls the shape of clerestory windows (windows thats are high up on a wall, much above the eye level) and even skylights. From this central mechanism extend four arms that connect it to four ‘rooms’ - glossy walls with a sapphire crystal windows through which the function of each room becomes apparent.
In one rooms rests the hour and minute hands, the hour markers represented by rod-mounted titanium orbs – the larger and lighter polished aluminium ones are the quarters – while red-tipped arrow hands point to the time. In another, 90° to the left, rests the power reserve indicator – graduating small to big orbs and an arrow hand showcase the autonomy of the watch.
The different functions in the different 'rooms' of the watch
In the third room is a thermometer, presented via a bimetallic strip, available in Celsius or Fahrenheit displays. The fourth or last room has a round badge engraved with the MB&F battle-axe motif that’s set into the sapphire crystal – pull on this module or ‘crown’, and you can set the time. This crown, as is evident, is larger than ones you’d see in most watches. An exhaustive set of gaskets (8 in total) for the crown, ensure that there is no wear and tear and thus proper functioning, and the watch is protected from dust and water.
The thermometer 'room'
But inspite of all these, what’s perhaps the coolest function is that the entire structure rotates on its foundation, so the wearer can actually choose which room faces him / her. Furthermore, each 45° clockwise turn provides the watch with 72 minutes of power, and 10 complete rotations means that HM11 is at its maximum autonomy of 96 hours. To make the watch resilient to shocks, the HM11 features a full-system dampener, consisting of four high-tension suspension springs that sit between the movement and lower-case shell. An alloy of carbon and steel and structure of these springs provide exceptional resistance.
The 42mm watch is built in titanium – there is a version with a blue dial plate limited to 25 pieces, and one with a red gold dial plate limited to 25 pieces. The upper caps of each of the four HM11 rooms are machined separately, and they are fixed only after the movement has been installed. There is a white rubber strap for the blue model and khaki green for the red gold model. The watch is water resistant to 20 metres.
Images: Courtesy MB&F / Eric Rossier