Insider: MB&F Horological Machine No. 9 'Flow'. Hands-on with a Crazy Awesome Looking Timepiece.

Released at the end of September 2018, the new MB&F HM9 Flow in two limited editions of 33 pieces each was conceptualized by Max Büsser and designed by mastermind Eric Giroud. With Guillaume Thévenin who developed the movement, Camile Fournet who worked on the strap and Jean-François Mojon who collaborated on the precision turning of wheels, pinions and axes, amongst others, the HM9 Flow is heavily influenced and inspired by the aerodynamic DNA of the late 40s and 50s automotive design as well as by mid-century aviation design.

With an overall somewhat ‘steampunkish’ look, the Horological Machine No.9 Flow maintains all the design cues and DNA that MB&F is known for in a gorgeous turbine-shaped timepiece that comes in two different models available in a limited edition of 33 pieces each. While the ‘Air Edition’ features a dial designed after Pilot’s watches, the ‘Road Edition’ features a dial that resembles the speedometers on the dashboard of vintage cars from the late 40s and 50s. Additionally, the ‘Road Edition’ features a matte rose gold coating bridges as an additional differentiator.

Things to Know About the Watch

Looking at the MB&F Horological Machine No. 9 Flow from the side, one can perceive a look somewhat similar to a jet engine. Fitted with a highly complex titanium case in alternating polished and satin finishes, the movement is partially visible under elongated domes of sapphire crystal—four in total—, where two independent twin balance wheels take the center stage at the rear of the watch where the winding crown is positioned.

A third bigger pane of sapphire crystal on the central part of the case reveals the beating heart of the HM9 engine. Sitting perpendicular to the rest of the HM9 engine is the dial indicating hours and minutes.

The winding and setting crown is located on the rear of the mid-portion of the case. With deep fluting, the crown is very ergonomic and aesthetically coherent with the overall design of this crazy looking watch. Two satin-finished air scoops are mounted alongside the pods containing the oscillating balance wheels, evoking the raised vents that allow continuous airflow to high-performance motor engines.

Redefining what was thought to be possible in case design, the case of the HM9 Flow in grade-5 titanium is conformed of 43 parts and measures 57 mm x 47 mm x 23 mm.  Utilizing a geometrically complex combination of milled sapphire crystal and grade 5 titanium case elements, a patented three—dimensional gasket ensures the water resistance of the case. Turning the watch around reveals another view of the movement through a central sapphire pane that creates somewhat of a distortion or magnifying effect when looking through it.

The hand-stitched brown calf leather strap is exquisitely finished and very supple. Created by Camile Fournet who’s very well known as one of the best strap makers in the industry, the strap features the traditional MB&F double-folding clasp in titanium.

The Movement

Powered by a calibre —composed of 301 components and 44 jewels— that is the result of three years of development, the HM9 engine was created entirely in-house with the accumulated experience that came with MB&F’s 13 years in existence and previous 14 different movements.

The twin balance wheels of the HM9 engine feed two sets of chronometric data to a central differential for an averaged reading. The balances are individually impulsed and spatially separated to ensure that they beat at their own independent cadences of 2.5Hz —18,000vph— each. This is important to ensure a meaningful average, just as how a statistically robust mathematical average should be derived from discrete points of information.

While the presence of two balances beating within the same movement will inevitably bring up discussions of resonance —the mechanical phenomenon that describes linked oscillators in a state of mutual harmonic excitation— the movement in the Horological Machine No. 9 deliberately avoids inducing the resonance effect.

HM9 further calls out the MB&F Legacy Machine collection with the curved arms anchoring its balances, their polished steel finish contrasting vividly with the movement bridges. While the Air Edition of the HM9 Flow features a dark NAC coating on its movement bridges, the Road Edition features a matte rose gold coating. The movement provides a power reserve of 45 hours when fully wound.

On the Wrist & Pricing

On the wrist, the new MB&F Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’ wears slightly big and in a very unconventional way. While both watches are very nice, the Road Edition is our favorite one as it seems to match the overall design of this new timepiece by MB&F simply flawlessly. Despite the HM9 sits slightly high on the wrist, the watch is very comfortable and interesting looking. Without a doubt another great conversation piece by Max Büsser and Friends.

Sticker Price $182,000 USD. For more info on MB&F click here.