Last month while we were visiting the M.A.D. Gallery in Geneva, we decided to work on this special review with live pictures of the fascinating MB&F Horological Machine No.5 in red gold. After the original Horological Machine N.5 5 in zirconium was presented in 2012, most would wonder why would MB&F craft the HM5 in a limited edition of 66 pieces in red gold. Well, because they thought it would look damn beautiful and they were damn right. Perusing this watch in the flesh was an exhilarating experience and a tremendous joy.
This watch inspired by iconic watches from the 70s —with a similar case shape— like the Girard-Perregaux Casquette LED, the Amida Digitrend Jump Hour and even the Bulova Computron Driver, comes full of surprises.
Fitted with an 18K Red gold and titanium case —with internal water resistant titanium engine container— measuring 51.5mm x 49mm x 22.5mm, a slide button to open/close its back louvers and exhaust ports to drain water, the HM5 RT is something out of this world and conceived in the most futuristic and flawless way possible.
Perhaps one of the most interesting features of this fascinating timepiece is the way the hour and minutes are shown via a display that faces the front of the watch, but where the time is indicated with bi-directional jumping hours that are inverted, reflected at a 90° angle and magnified at a 20%. The smoked optical grade sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides and magnification provides excellent readability in any angle. Looking at this watch directly from the front, definitely brings memories of WALL-E the romantic robot from Pixar's science fiction animated movie with the same name.
HM5 RT has a mechanical movement, but its inspired by an era when quartz was king. The rear louvers on super cars block light, but on the HM5 RT they let light in. Befitting its automotive heritage, HM5 RT has exhaust pipes, but they drain water. The gold endowing the HM5 RT case with such a rich lustrous glow was found on earth, but was actually created billions of years ago in deep space. The louvers are angled and the back of the watch appears as if it was the rear window of the iconic DeTomaso Mangusta but fitted with louvers. Frankly, a watch doesn't get any sexier than this.
Via the display case back of the Horological Machine No. 5 —HM5 RT— one can see the amazing beating heart inside this timepieces. The display case back also reveals the surprise of an inner case. Like a Russian Matryoshka doll, peeling away one layer reveals a second case in titanium/zirconium. The reason for housing the movement in an inner container is for water resistance. Jean-François Mojon, Vincent Boucard and the team at Chronode developed the HM5 movement. The automatic calibre is composed of 224 parts, 30 jewels, a battle-axe 22K gold ‘mystery ’ rotor and is fully hand-finished. Opposed to what one would think, the discs with the hours and minuted are actually placed in horizontal position but displayed vertically thanks to the reflection and magnification of a sapphire crystal optical prism. It may appear simple, but it’s very complicated. Jumping hours are bi-directional, enabling the time to be easily set both forwards and backwards —via the crown located at the back of the watch or what would be considered the 12 o'clock position on a conventional watch. The two mineral glass disks of the hours and minutes are supported by a flat wide bridge and the disks overlap to maximize their diameter and space for large legible numerals.
To round out the amazing design of the MB&F Horological Machine No. 5 in Red Gold, the watch is fitted with a black rubber strap with pin buckle. The strap features oval perforations as well as very thin ridges to match the ridges on the back of the case and the oval display window on the front. Although the rubber on the strap is very malleable and comfortable, the ridged texture on it is a magnet for collecting dust and lint.
On the wrist, be prepared to wear a very unconventional watch with a funky but very comfortable fit. Once you strap this timepiece to your wrist, be prepared to be transported back to the future. While the design of the case and the time display window are very reminiscent of those 70s iconic watches, the craftsmanship, finish and overall design of this watch is definitely years ahead of our time. Without a doubt, this is another singular and fascinating creation from MB&F.
Sticker Price $82,000 USD. For more info on MB&F click here.