February 17, 2011
by Ariel Adams
These “Final Edition” HM2 Red SV & Black SV watches put the Horological Machine number 2 proudly to rest. MB&F first experimented with the “Sapphire Vision” concept with the original HM2 SV watch that was included in this article here. Using a sapphire plate, versus metal, as the top of the watch caused a whirlwind of “I want that.” MB&F freely admitted that the project probably cost them more than they anticipated given the cost of machining the sapphire plates, but it was worth it for the fans.
The original HM2 SV was limited to only 25 pieces. That is a really low amount given how popular the watch was – and it was popular for good reason. The Sapphire Vision offered not only unparalleled views of the movement, but also created a totally new looking surface for a watch that spoke all too well the language of love for watch nerds. So for the last pieces in the HM2 collection to ever be made, MB&F offers just a few more of these sexy Sapphire Visions for us to enjoy.
I first spoke about the MB&F HM2 Red SV & Black SV watches here. Visit that article for information on pricing, technical specs, etc… This will be about handling the actual watches, and what it means for the future of MB&F. What I will say right off the bat is that the watch are limited to just 18 pieces each.
The black or green colored gaskets really give these watches that extra bit of character that they need to be highly memorable. They are of course there for the functional purposes of water resistance and to keep dust out. For generations we have been interested in looking at watch movements to see how they work. I have a strong feeling that this early desire to peek under a watch’s robes influenced watch makers to create such nicely decorated movements. It makes me wonder how some watch makers draw the line between “functional” and “aesthetic.” Appreciation of timepieces inherently involves a love of mechanics and gadgetry. To know the items we appreciate are as complicated as our interests helps fuel our ongoing passions. MB&F’s founder Max Busser and the team are as much gadget-holics as they are watch makers. Timepieces such as the HM2 Sapphire Visions are perfect intersections of these two interests.
While not the first of its type, the HM2’s long, horizontally rectangular case and movement are good to frame. Especially since there are actually two “dials” to show off. This means that gear-work and polished metal are spread out nicely across the watch, suitable for “whole view” of what is under the top plate of the watch. What I am trying to say is that not many watches are sexy looking from each angle. The HM2 benefits from having a design that fits the “exposed” look. Other watches start to look less glamorous when you take their clothes off. According to information given to me from MB&F sometime ago, the sapphire plate over the movement required something like 50-60 hours to machine (for each piece). And many of them break in the machining process. The result is totally worth it, though.
The HM2 Red SV has an 18k red gold back plate, while the Black SV has a PVD coated titanium back plate. Each model is really nice looking depending on your mood at the time. No doubt that the showy flash of green on the Black SV will appeal to those times when you want your wrist to shout for extra attention. Though that statement is hard to make only for the Black SV, as the Red SV isn’t exactly an “under the radar piece.”
MB&F ensures that the dials are as easy to read on these HM2s as they are on any other HM2 model. The left dial on the watch has the date and moon phase, while the right dial has the time. On the back of the watch you have the spinning “battle axe” style automatic rotor in gold.
Technology is slowly starting to catch up to the dreams of ambitious watch makers who want to use materials like sapphire for elements like cases, etc… It wasn’t so easy for MB&F to find a supplier to do this, but in the future I think the allure of highly shaped synthetic sapphire crystal will yield new processes to carefully cut the hard crystal. If you recall the HM4 Thunderbolt watch heavily relies on a section of the case being done with a sapphire crystal. I anticipate that in the years to come MB&F will further push the limits of what can be done with sapphire crystal for watch case parts. It would be amazing to have an all sapphire watch case that clearly (and scratchlessly) displays beautifully decorated mechanics on the inside as though the case were a transparent egg.
This use of sapphire will trend over to other brands, and I think in the next 10 years synthetic sapphire crystal could become the next interesting material that high-end watch makers will use more. This will become more true when the material is easier to cut and of course, color.
Consider MB&F trendsetters in this area, and the HM2 Sapphire Vision watches examples of what can be done when sapphire and watch making come together in harmony. These watches a pain to take pictures of, but seeing them in person is all the “sell” you need. Give em a go at $98,000 a piece. MB&F