Insider: MB&F Horological Machine No. 6 HM6 'Space Pirate'. Hands-On Review of a Biomorphic Extraterrestrial Looking Watch.

By now, we are used to seeing some of the most spectacular space inspired creations coming from MB&F. The new MB&F Horological Machine N°6 —HM6— ‘Space Pirate’ has been designed with space in mind and its inspiration came from a Japanese anime TV series from Maximilian Büsser's childhood called "Capitaine Flam" —Captain Future in English. "Capitaine Flam" had a spaceship called the Comet that consisted of two spheres joined by a connecting tube. The curved lines of Horological Machine N°6 make it a softer, more organically shaped Machine than its predecessors. The inspiration for this came from the biomorphism art movement, which takes its cues from design elements based on the shapes of living organisms. In each of the four corners of HM6's biomorphic case there is a 360° sphere, capped top and bottom by transparent sapphire crystal domes.

Up forward, two semi-spherical indications rotate vertically —90° to the Engine—, respectively displaying hours and minutes in large, highly legible numerals and marked by a set of green arrows.

Back aft, driven through multiplying gearing by the automatic winding rotor, twin spherical turbines spin horizontally, automatically regulating the winding system in case of excessive speed to reduce stress and wear.

The central dome houses a 60-second flying tourbillon, the precision regulator of HM6's Engine. The flying tourbillon is functional —the fact that it looks sensational is a bonus. There is no room at the top of the domed crystal for an upper support bridge and a flying tourbillon requires no upper bridge. A case of function following form.

Perhaps, one of the coolest things about this watch, is that the wearer can close or open —at will—, a retractable semi-spherical, titanium protective shield. The shield —that sits between the central dome and the tourbillon cage— protects the tourbillon from the harmful UV rays coming from the sun. It is known that UV rays affect the performance of lubricants inside watch movements and the shield can be the perfect barrier during those sunny days in Dubai while enjoying the sun at the Palm Jumeirah or the Palm Jebel Ali. Simply by rotating the crown located on the left side of the case at 9 o'clock, one can close as much or as little said shield.

While the transparent cupola on top of the MB&F Horological Machine No. 6 HM6 'Space Pirate' offers a tantalizing glimpse into the sophisticated engine below, the sapphire crystal display portal on the back reveals more of the 475 finely finished components making up the highly complex movement, which required over three years of development. Also visible through the display back is part of the winding mechanism and the high-grade platinum 950 winding battle-axe rotor. The movement is a tridimensional horological engine developed exclusively for the HM6 'Space Pirate' by MB&F with David Candaux Horlogerie Créative. The 475 parts that compose this automatic calibre include a flying tourbillon with retractable shield and iridescent green platinum 950 battle-axe automatic winding rotor, 68 jewels and twin aluminum turbines driven by the winding rotor. The movement provides a power reserve of 72 hours when fully wound while beating at a frequency of 18,000 vph.

Horological Machine No. 6 ‘Space Pirate’ is a limited edition of 50 pieces in Ti-6Al-4V titanium. There will only be 100 HM6 movements made in total. While Horological Machine No. 6's gentle curves and bulging "eyes" may give it the appearance of a friendly extra-terrestrial life form, the strength of its exoskeleton is formidable thanks to the aeronautic grade Ti-6Al-4V titanium case, a metal stable at over 400°C. With its lightweight titanium case —total weight of the watch is 73.4 grams— and spherical corners, HM6 comfortably hugs wrists of all sizes, whether you believe it or not. The case of HM6 Space Pirate was machined from two solid ingots of aerospace grade Ti-6Al-4V —Grade 5— titanium. It has a chemical composition of titanium alloyed with 6% aluminum, 4% vanadium, 0.25% —maximum— iron, and 0.2% —maximum— oxygen. This high-tech titanium alloy is both strong and light, has high resistance to corrosion and low thermal conductivity. While the strength of this titanium alloy makes it ideal for a space-age watch case, polishing and satin finishing Space Pirate's complex curves requires more than 100 hours of work.

A titanium band wraps lengthways around the case, with a circular aperture on top circumventing the central dome. On the back, the flat band is fixed to a metal disc in the centre of the display back crystal. This band both strengthens the case as a whole and acts as a support to the free moving lugs. The pivoted lugs enable the strap to fit snugly around the wrist and, along with the lightweight titanium case and form-fitting spheres in each corner, ensures that HM6 is an extremely comfortable watch to wear, even on smaller wrists. The dimensions of the Horological Machine No. 6 are 49.5 mm x 52.3 mm x 20.4 mm. The new MB&F Horological Machine No. 6 'Space Pirate' watch is equipped with a nice rugged looking —but soft to the touch— black strap by Camille Fournet and fitted with a double folding clasp.

On the wrist, surprisingly enough the watch wears very comfortable and quite ergonomically. The Horological Machine No. 6 ‘Space Pirate’ is available in a limited edition of 50 pieces in Ti-6Al-4V titanium. There will only be 100 HM6 movements made in total.

Sticker Price $230,000 USD. For more info on MB&F click here.