Today, MB&F Launches four limited edition watches that are already sold out. That is a shame, but only if you are the type of person who is known to spend half a million dollars per timepiece. The MB&F Horological Machine No. 6 "Alien Nation" is the brand's latest "performance art" watch and is based on the very cool MB&F HM6 SV (Sapphire Vision) which aBlogtoWatch went hands-on with here.
This limited edition set of just four "Alien Nation" watches takes the MB&F HM6 SV and puts small, hand-carved-from-gold extraterrestrial aliens on the movement, which are visible through the watch's expansive sapphire crystal face. The idea is to make the six alien figurines appear as though they are somehow piloting the HM6 SV as if it was some type of spaceship. Fun fact, most MB&F watches are intended to look like some type of vessel or vehicle.
It is entirely possible that the Alien Nation name is a bit misleading. There was a television show called Alien Nation that I don't think has any reference to the watch. It is a cute name, but given that "Alien Nation" has been used in pop culture before, it doesn't clearly define the message of what the Alien Nation watch from MB&F is all about. More so, it is confusing to me what the "point" of the watch is. Previous MB&F models like this would have been more celebrated "performance art" watches that tie into a relationship with an artist or another watch maker. We don't see that in this limited edition set.
MB&F does of course credit Mr. Olivier Kuhn who did the "sculpting" work for the alien figurines. Kuhn's studio is Atelier-Creation Kuhn, but MB&F never goes into why they chose small aliens or why they worked with Kuhn. This leaves out a lot of the storytelling that MB&F is known for when it comes to enhancing the personality of very limited edition "artsy" watches such as this. My instinct tells me that MB&F made these watches for a particular client who ordered them, and from there, they felt compelled to do a press release about it, even if there was no deeper marketing purpose for the creations.
From the perspective of sheer majesty, the MB&F Horological Machine No. 6 Sapphire Vision is one of my favorite creations from the brand. Quirky and very high-end, it is thus understandably one of the brand's more acquired tastes since it lacks a bit of traditional elegance in exchange for being rather interesting and different.
The Sapphire Vision (SV) version of the HM6 debuted as a different version of the original HM6 Space Pirate (hands-on here) that included the same movement - but a more spaceship style case. The SV redid the case into something a bit more Art Deco, and here in the Alien Nation watch, MB&F seems to be combining the appeal of the first two versions of the HM6 watch.
One of the reasons that we love the HM6 so much is the movement. Produced from 496 parts, the unique movement inside of the MB&F HM6 is something that aBlogtoWatch did an entire article about here. Since we've written about the HM6 movement so much already, I encourage people to reference those articles. In short, the automatic mechanical movement features a flying tourbillon with a user-controlled titanium shield that opens and closes over it. The time is told in hours and minutes in different rotating domes, and spinning turbines which are linked to the motion of the automatic rotor. It is really a lovely sight to behold.
The entire HM6 Alien Nation watch itself is 50mm wide by 51mm tall, and 22.7mm thick. The case is mostly sapphire crystal as well as titanium. The blue glowing material is called AGT (ambient glowing technology), and it is a form of solid luminant which is applied around the periphery of the case and other parts of the watch such as the time-indicating domes, and the turbines (among other small details). The visible case gaskets are in the same color. The case of the HM6 Alien Nation watch is 96 pieces alone and water resistant to 30 meters. It is surprisingly wearable, but it is more like wearing art on your wrist versus a tool watch (rather obvious, but it was useful to mention).
The MB&F HM6 Alien Nation is actually the third watch from the Geneva-based high-end producer of horological machines to feature small hand-sculpted gold figurines in the watch. This began in 2011 with a one-of-a-kind timepiece made for a charity auction with the MB&F HM4 Only Watch (hands-on here). Later, MB&F produced the limited edition Legacy Machine 1 (LM1) Xia Hang watch with an alien-style figurine which served to replace the standard power reserve indicator (hands-on here). Thus, the HM6 Alien Nation is in good company, even if the concept isn't totally original for MB&F, or if the brand produced any good story around "why are we making this watch?" Other companies such as Romain Jerome have produced watches with little aliens on the dial, so there is a market for this. Though I think to make them as classy as possible, these items require a rich story behind them.
Given that I like the HM6 Sapphire Vision watch so much, I'd never complain about more of them out in the wild - even though I never have a hope of owning one someday. The HM6 Alien Nation is the priciest yet, and again, all four pieces of the limited edition have sold out. Retail price for the MB&F Horological Machine No. 6 Alien Nation is $500,000. mbandf.com