The MB&F HM11 Architect Was Inspired By Organic Architecture

As much as MB&F has been about mechanical ingenuity, it has also been a vehicle for the eclectic interests of founder Maximilian Büsser—the eponymous ‘MB’ and the brand’s primary creative force. Although his past Horological Machines were inspired by the things that fascinated him in childhood—spaceships and race cars, and the like—the new HM11 Architect (RM1.04 million) stems from Büsser’s more recent preoccupation of mid-20th-century organic architecture. Its main inspiration is Brenton House, a pod-like curvilinear residence designed by architect Charles Haertling. It was built in 1969 in the area of Boulder, Colorado, in the United States.

MB&F founder, Maximilian Büsser.

Thusly meant to be a ‘home on the wrist’, HM11 has its own four-sectioned pod structure, each serving a different function like rooms of a house. One is the timing indicator, showing hours and minutes, with a miniature sculpture of stalk-like ball-ended rods serving as markers. One is the power reserve indicator. One serves as the time-setting crown. And one carries a function common to homes but not in wristwatches—it is an analogue thermometer, moderated with a bimetallic strip, with a range of -20 to 60°C. The entire ensemble can be rotated to orient each function in whichever way suits the wearer. This is also how the watch is wound, with 10 complete clockwise turns fully charging it to 96 hours.

From above, the movement hums beneath a double-arched sapphire crystal roof. At the very centre of the watch is a flying tourbillon, ticking at 2.5Hz. The entire calibre is suspended via four laser-cut high-tension springs that isolate it from shocks. These springs are derived from the aerospace industry and are custom-made for MB&F.

The 42mm case, made from titanium, is especially complex and consists of 92 components. It needs 19 gaskets to maintain its 20m water resistance, eight of them in the crown alone, and one of them is custom-moulded, shaped in all three dimensions and sitting between the case and bezel. It takes about a week to make a single case. And to top it off, the movement has to be partially assembled within the case itself, because otherwise it will not fit inside. The main dial plate is available in two colours, blue or red gold, with each limited to 25 pieces.

The HM11 Architect’s unconventional design means its aesthetic qualities and interaction with light are very different from the horological norm. It has six outward-facing sapphire pieces in total, including the four ‘windows’ and the domed ‘roof’ of the ‘atrium’. As the blueprint of a house, it makes immediate sense; as one for a watch, it is experimental, avant-garde and highly intriguing.


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