MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On Hands-On

On the wrist, the Horological Machine No. 7 "Aquapod" felt as though it was easily the weirdest MB&F timepiece I'd ever put on. Those who know the brand will be quick to point out the severity of that statement. Pretty much all MB&F Horological Machine (HM) timepieces are weird by design, yet mostly very comfortable on the wrist. That means in order to be "the most" visually unconventional, the HM7 needed to go that extra distance - to beat out other close contenders such as the HM1, HM2, HM3, HM4, HM5, HM6, HMX, and HM8. That is actually all of the other Horological Machine watches, and I have realized that each in its own way has a very unique wearing experience. With that said, the HM7's uniqueness, to me, was the most assertive. Perhaps that is because it is the first round-shaped Horological Machine watch MB&F has ever produced.

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Like most HM timepieces, the MB&F HM7 Aquapod is expensive, technically interesting, built with very high quality standards, and utterly polarizing. Even among the aBlogtoWatch team - who tend to be rather open-minded - there was mixed sentiment toward the MB&F HM7 Aquapod. That's fine and to be expected, as very few people out there have the same level of desire for each and every MB&F watch that Max Busser and team produce. Though, I've found that the watches produced by the brand which are the most conservative (relatively speaking) are actually the least interesting for me. Thus, I consider myself among those people who need a high degree of "craziness" to feed my passion for what MB&F produces.

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Just prior to SIHH 2017, MB&F released the Horological Machine No. 7 Aquapod watch and I wrote about it at length here. I don't intend on reiterating each technical detail and fact, so if the watch is new to you, I suggest you click on the above link to our introductory article on the MB&F HM7 Aquapod to get acquainted with this limited edition watch collection. The debut versions (meaning that limited edition versions with material or cosmetic changes will come in the future) of the MB&F HM7 Aquapod are relatively numerous by MB&F standards and will come as 33 pieces in titanium and 66 pieces in 18k red gold.

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On Hands-On

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On Hands-On

When writing about the MB&F HM7 Aquapod earlier in 2017, I found it interesting (and I mentioned it then) that more versions of the MB&F HM7 Aquapod watch would be produced in gold versus the more "affordable" titanium. This is, after all, about as close as MB&F has come to a sport watch (I suppose you might argue the same about the HM5) so you'd expect wearers to value the lightness of something like titanium. Then I needed to remind myself that, no, this is indeed a $100,000 luxury product - even with the titanium case. Though still, this awesome sea creature look-alike is so dangerously close to a diving watch...

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On Hands-On

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Unfortunately, my dream (and perhaps that of others) for an authentic MB&F diving watch will need to wait as the MB&F HM7 "jellyfish" has a case with only 50 meters of water-resistance. That is more than enough to take a light dip with it, but no vigorous swimming while wearing this watch is recommended. I asked the brand about what prevented the MB&F HM7 Aquapod from having more water-resistance. They indeed performed a series of pressure tests on the case. Apparently, the weak spots were the dual crowns on each side of the case, which are used to wind or set the time (respectively). It is possible that with some more hardcore gaskets or a screw-down system the MB&F HM7 Aquapod could increase its water resistant to 100 meters or so in future versions - but I have no idea if that will help MB&F sell any more of them. I suspect that even if I were among those people with the disposable income sufficient to purchase this watch, there would be a great number of other watches I would more immediately take into the depths than my precious MB&F.

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On Hands-On

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On Hands-On

With that said, I think it is precisely because I love dive watches (and MB&F) that the MB&F HM7 Aquapod appeals to me as much as it does. I'm typically a believer in Max Busser and Eric Giroud's (the actual designer) design sensibilities, so what the MB&F HM7 Aquapod does is combine at least two things I have a passion for. It is also visually wild, consisting of an inner sphere-style case with a flying tourbillon immediately framed by multiple angled rings that indicate the time, and a rotating diver's style metal and ceramic timing bezel that feels like an MB&F nod to the Rolex Submariner.

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On Hands-On

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On Hands-On

From the side, the MB&F HM7 Aquapod looks a lot like a 1950s- or 1960s-era idea of a UFO, which goes directly to MB&F's enduring love of science fiction themes married to horological elegance. Even though the case is quite large at 53.8mm wide and 21.3mm thick, the bulk of the mass actually sits up above your wrist, making it very comfortable. Moreover, the high-end rubber strap is very comfortable (and neat-looking) and allows for a snug fit on the wrist. When paying the big bucks for something like an MB&F, you know for sure that you are investing in both design and ergonomics - seriously.

Even the action of rotating the bezel feels smooth, with assured clicks at each stop. This element of the watch feels no less well-engineered than the rest, and I can easily say that now that MB&F has designed a rotating bezel, they did a pretty nice job. Functionally, the watch is rather straightforward, offering the hours and minutes via the rotating rings, and the tourbillon cage more or less doubles as the seconds indicator. An electric blue line facing the wearer is where you read the current time. It's actually quite easy to read once you get the hang of it.

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On Hands-On

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The closer you look at the rotating bezel and the rotating rings that tell the time, the more you realize all the subtle nods to traditional diving watches - like the Rolex Submariner, but not limited to it. The font used is exclusive to MB&F, but you can tell the numeral layout and design is thoroughly inspired by someone having spent years appreciating the look and feel of diving watches. Even the 60-minute indicator on the minute ring is an applied triangle with a lume pip, a style you'll find on the bezels of many serious diving timepieces.

What do you think?
  • Interesting (24)
  • I want it! (12)
  • Thumbs up (9)
  • I love it! (6)
  • Classy (3)
  • Polly Molly Moo

    This is like designing a car with 5 wheels on it. It’s certainly different, wilfully so, but at the back of the wearer’s mind must lurk the faint whisper of ‘I look a bit of a plonker with this on my wrist’. I guess that if you’re heavily into getting noticed, this may be for you, assuming you’ve got the dosh to lay out 100k on a watch. I think for this money I’d be knocking on the door of Kari Voutilainen!

    • Which is why the Legacy Machines are among the best watches in the whole wide world!

    • Sevenmack

      If you can afford this watch, you already own a Voutilainen, a Dufour, a couple of Rolex Subs and a Grand Seiko. In short, you buy this watch because you want something different from all the other three-handers and chronographs you already own.

      Chances are, the wearer is looking at the watch and saying “yes, I really love this watch!”

      • Polly Molly Moo

        And everyone else is thinking something quite different.

        • Sevenmack

          When you have the kind of money to buy a MB&F, you don’t care what others think. Of course, you shouldn’t care even if you don’t have that kind of money. Because those folks aren’t feeding your family.

          • Polly Molly Moo

            One man’s grail watch is another man’s idea of rubbish. I have no doubt about the engineering excellence of this thing, but it just screams “Look at me everyone, look what I can afford to have on my wrist. Please notice me and ask to have a look” like Richard Mille. Perhaps I prefer something more discreet and don’t feel the need to flaunt my wealth and lack of taste for all to see. This watch is undoubtedly highly-engineered expert design with thousands of hours needed to assemble each watch. I can see the appeal to watch aficionados with the cash to buy something like this, but the law of diminishing returns kicked in for me several tens of thousands of pounds below this level.

          • Sevenmack

            From where I sit, the MB&F looks like great watch engineering at a level that can’t be bought by those of us with more dreams than cash. Which is fine by me. That’s based on my preferences, biases and junk that I bring to the table of life. Others feel the same way. You feel differently for reasons only you know based on whatever combination of biases, preferences, and other junk that come with you. The good news is that you are no more required to buy this watch than I am.

            The thing that I cannot understand, however, is that why can’t you appreciate the fact that others may enjoy this watch for what it is? More importantly, as a collector, why haven’t you figured out how to appreciate a watch on its terms even as it may not appeal to you? I’m not a fan of the Rolex Submariner, but I can appreciate how it is a fine piece of watchmaking that I don’t want to own.

          • Polly Molly Moo

            Re-read my last post and then reply.

          • Sevenmack

            I did. If anything, you still didn’t explain how you can’t appreciate a watch on its terms even if it doesn’t appeal to you. If anything, your statement that the watch “screams “Look at me everyone”” comes off as rather unsophisticated prattling from someone a tad jealous of someone else’s ability to buy a watch at a certain price point.

            What would be interesting is to do what Marius did in explaining why he didn’t prefer it. In his comment, he noted how he felt that it would be impractical to wear on a daily basis (which is valid), and that the bezel doesn’t fit with traditional designs for dive watch bezels (also valid). I may disagree with Marius. But he looked at the MB&F from the perspective of aesthetics and function, a perfectly valid view.

            Again, I read your comment. Read it twice. I responded. The issue you have is that my response doesn’t complement yours. Which is really your problem.

          • Polly Molly Moo

            Ah – an irate keyboard jockey – keep taking the pills!

          • Sevenmack

            I don’t know. On a watch blog, one would expect comments to be thoughtful, look at the particular qualities of a watch, and critique constructively. Based on that standard, I wouldn’t be called an “irate keyboard jockey”.

            You, on the other hand, seem to be a tad annoyed that someone called you out. That your response lacks any quality speaks volumes.

          • Polly Molly Moo

            QED!

  • IanE

    Well, for an Eric Giroud design, one can at least say that it does not remind one of a Nomos! Rather inelegant, but I guess elegance was not a design goal here.

    • Bauhaus Overdaus

      Don’t you mean “elegancy”? 🙂

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    These MB&F are definitely conceptual end points. Sort of horological versions of Malevichs “Black Square”, or John Cages “4,33”.
    But im afraid I can’t agree with its wear-ability. Apart from sitting on the sofa, with your wrist wrapped in cotton wool, when would you wear it?

  • Bill Davidson

    Under a thawb ?

  • Raymond Wilkie

    *Clunk™

  • WatchMark

    Make a dive watch version that’s water resistant to 100 meters? Why? Is someone, even with this much disposable income, going to swim with this watch? Never! This is a wear once-a-year watch (on April Fools Day or to a costume party). This is a “more money than sense” watch.

    • SuperStrapper

      My favourite comment.

      Anyone that can afford something you can’t has more money than sense. Warms me heart it does.

  • For those that love this but find it too large, I suggested to Max that he remove the rotating bezel, make it a flat backed manual wind and call the next iteration the Terrapod. I offered him this idea in exchange for a Terrapod, to which he replied “who’s to say we don’t already have this in the pipeline?”!

    Just putting it out there to help my lawyers when the Terrapod (R) launches 😀

    • SuperStrapper

      Where you been?

      • Super top secret facebook community, face-to-face WIS action, planning next project! Miss you guys 🙂

        • SuperStrapper

          I don’t do failbook, so it doesn’t have to be secret to pass me.

          But great to see you back.

    • Lincolnshire Poacher

      I’ll add, Hello, welcome back..

  • MEddie90

    Quick reminder that this was designed in collab with the people behind those Carl Edmond monstrosities. Probably the most compelling evidence for the existence of multiple personalty disorder I’ve seen yet.
    https://www.ablogtowatch.com/carl-edmond-watches-designed-eric-giroud-adrian-glessing/

    • Polly Molly Moo

      What’s wrong with those Carl Edmond watches? Reasonably priced quartz watches with a hint of the Nomus about them. Not my personal choice, but far from offensive. I’d sooner wear something like that than just about anything from Hublot, Rolex or Breitling!

  • Word Merchant

    Destined to live in the safes of rich collectors. These photos may well be the first and last time this watch is actually worn by a human.

  • Sam Soul

    Unlike others that are quite repulsive, I find this one fascinating, regardless of the size or price.

  • BNABOD

    Love the lume shots and while completely impractical and way out of my meager budget I find the flying saucer of “dive” watches for princes and the likes stunning. It is utterly useless yet absolutely mesmerizing kind of like the snake in jungle book

  • Erik Törnberg

    Mother of Jesus, what is this thing!

  • Omegaboy
    • SuperStrapper

      It literally looks nothing like that. Try harder.

      • daveyah2002

        I think he did well. I had a hard time spotting the difference.

        • SuperStrapper

          I believe you.

  • Very unique design and execution. I am impressed with the work that goes into MB&F stuff. But does anyone actually buy their watches?

  • Tim

    This is one of my favorite watches from MB&F. I definitely have a soft spot for their creations. I would love to own one one day.

  • TheChuphta

    Neat gizmo. Of course few people would consider buying it and no one will actually wear it so it seems a bit of a failure as a “watch”, but nifty nonetheless.

  • DanW94

    Probably my least favorite of the Horological Machine offerings from MB&F. That bezel couldn’t be more awkward looking.

  • For me I have to get rid of the story to actually enjoy it as the watch it is. I mean to say, if I have to think of it as a jellyfish and hence a diver, it fails. If I say -as Ariel says- that to me it looks more like an UFO it also fails because that is not the inspiration for the watch.

    So just enjoy it as it is: a horological follie.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5ced66a5683f598ec471dc309dde67bc3c72a3fbc8e646081a8fe4da55e7f7c1.jpg

    P. S.: Just how cool was the Hammacher Schlemmer Aquapod?

  • Marius

    To be honest, I’m not terribly impressed by this watch.

    Firstly, I really don’t see any connection to a dive watch. To me, this watch looks more like a starcraft-inspired timepiece, à la Vianney Halter. Regardless of its inspiration, I really don’t like the design as the rotating bezel is utterly out of place, and the whole watch looks like an amalgam of circles and spheres. For me, this watch suffers from a confused personality.

    Secondly, this is an extremely impractical watch to wear. Of course, I understand that this watch is a statement piece, but still, it looks quite ridiculous on the wrist. What’s more, due to its dimensions, I can imagine that it’s very easy to damage the watch by banging it into doorframes, doors, etc.

    Lastly, from a pricing perspective, I just can’t see this as a $120,000 watch. Granted, on paper this watch looks very good: prestigious independent brand + flying tourbillon + original design. Yet, in reality, this watch doesn’t convince me that it’s worth its price. Furthermore, MB&F has to keep in mind that the market for independent brands is getting more crowded every day. Sure, 10-15 years ago there were extremely few independents around, but nowadays there is a plethora of such brands, and although MB&F is a respected name, in this instance, I would take the $120,000 to another independent.

  • Birdsong

    None of the on-the-wrist shots were advertising the watch as something to be seen wearing. Sorry.

    Rolex, you win again.

  • Ulysses31

    Quite a clumsy effort from this brand, which has given us so many elegant and proportional watches. The dive “bezel” looks so detached from the rest, and makes the watch unnecessarily bulky, giving it seemingly ridiculous dimensions.

  • benjameshodges

    I loved the look but when tried it at Baselworld 2017 I hoped the bezel had a more satisfying feel but it was a bit flimsy.

  • You know folks,it is all well and good stretching the bounds of design. But while we all love a well designed wristwatch. Let us not forget that a wristwatch goes on your wrist. If a designer of a wristwatch forgets this, then they have have left out a large part of the equation in its design.
    -LordZguitarist-