After the successful release in 2012 of the first MB&F MoonMachine in partnership with Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva, comes the new MB&F MoonMachine 2. A new watch that adds up to the Performance Art Pieces Collection composed of very limited edition timepieces where MB&F had collaborated with artists they admire including Xia Hang, Alain Silberstein and Black Badger amongst others. The MoonMachine by Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva was the first of the MB&F Performance Art pieces reinterpreted by a watchmaker and the first to endow a Horological Machine with a new complication. To create MoonMachine, Stepan reconfigured the HM3 Frog by turning it 90° and adding his iconic moon face —moonphase— indicator. He also transformed the winding rotor into a scintillating firmament of laser-pierced northern stars, forming constellations visible in the northern sky —see picture below with the MoonMachine at the far left.
For the new MB&F MoonMachine 2 by Sarpaneva, MB&F decided to transform the Horological Machine No. 8 'Can-Am'. The HM8 engine is a compact, in-house developed movement built on a Girard-Perregaux base, with a jumping hour disc and a running minutes disc. Optical prisms fixed over the discs at specific points capture the time, refracting and magnifying the numerals so they can be read on a vertical plane. Then, the second collaboration between MB&F and Stepan Sarpaneva has resulted in a horological creation that brings us the world’s first projected moon phase display.
The projection is accomplished via an optical prism, which refracts the hours, minutes and moon discs in their flat positions to appear as if they are perpendicular to the engine. The prism is cut to magnify the hours and minutes by 20 percent for greater readability, but not for the moonphase display, which is at risk of distortion if magnified. The case of the new MoonMachine 2 is 0.5mm thicker than that of HM8, to accommodate the additional moon disc, and has a pusher on the side for quick adjustment of the moonphase display. The gold moons of MoonMachine 2 are the smallest ever created by Stepan Sarpaneva, whose timepieces have, on average, gold moons that are 10 mm in diameter and 0.5mm in thickness. In comparison, MoonMachine 2 has one moon that is 8.5 mm in diameter and 0.45 mm in thickness, and two
exceptionally small moons that are 4.5 mm wide and 0.35 mm thick.
Additionally, the battle-axe rotor of HM8 —which you can see here— has been transformed into an openworked radial web of titanium, echoing the design vocabulary of Stepan Sarpaneva’s best-known work. The sapphire crystal pane framing the top of the MoonMachine 2
engine has been metallized in a similar pattern and draws focus to the variable sheen of the brushed titanium rotor as it rotates.
There are three instances of the immediately recognizable Sarpaneva moon in MoonMachine 2, its piercing eyes and pointed features based on Stepan Sarpaneva’s own face. Two of the Sarpaneva moons are mounted on the moon disc, taking it in turns to cycle under a Korona ring —another Sarpaneva design hallmark — to indicate the phase of the moon. The third is mounted on the winding rotor. Each moon is made of gold and finished by hand, which is incredibly challenging at their size. The smallest gold moons are first stamped to a thickness of
0.55 mm, and then reduced by hand-turning on a lathe to bring their height down until just under 0.4 mm. They are then manually ground down with a stone tool until they are 0.35 mm at their thickest point, then matte blasted to create an even finish. At their thinnest point, around the eyes, the moons can be as little as 0.07 mm thick, almost like a gold foil, and the slightest pressure will cause the soft gold to perforate and the moon will have to be discarded.
A Korona-framed gold plaque commemorating the collaboration between Stepan Sarpaneva and MB&F is affixed on the sapphire crystal pane, adjacent to the crown. Available in 18K rose gold, titanium or black PVD titanium, the case of the MoonMachine 2 meaures 49 mm x 51.5 mm x 19 mm with the roll bars milled from solid blocks of grade 5 titanium and then meticulously hand-polished to gleam like tubular mirrors.
Turning the watch around reveals the exquisite finishing of the movement which in this case has been finished slightly differently to the one on the Horological Machine No. 8. The 247-component movement is inverted to put the winding rotor on top and modified to drive the prism indicator module. The finishing of the movement is exceptional with a complete open to view from the top. The movement is equipped with 30 jewels and beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph to provide a power reserve of 42 hours. The bi-directional jumping hour and trailing minute displays on the MoonMachine 2 are materialized by overlapping discs —one for the hours and one for the minutes—, completely covered in superluminova.
On the Wrist & Pricing
To round out the incredible look of the new MB&F MoonMachine 2 by Sarpaneva, the watches are fitted with hand-stitched matte alligator straps with contrast stitching and equipped with the traditional MB&F folding buckle matching the case material. On the wrist, the new MB&F MoonMachine 2 by Sarpaneva wears slightly big and clunky but with incredible wrist presence. Each model is available in a limited edition of 12 pieces each.
Sticker Price $88,000 USD for titanium and black PVD titanium and $95,000 USD for 18K rose gold. For more info on MB&F click here.