MB&F - MB&F HM5 Macrolon
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
MB&F - MB&F HM5 Macrolon

MB&F HM5 Macrolon

MB&F

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See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

MB&F HM5 Macrolon

Black. As a colour, or to be more accurate, an absence of colour, there's nothing quite like it. Other colours go in and out of fashion, but black is always in. So adding a coat of black paint, a.k.a. PVD, to the case of the super-car-inspired HM5 would appear to be the sensible thing to do.
But since when has MB&F taken the sensible route?
While Horological Machine No.5’s striking, angular case architecture faithfully echoes the form of the streamlined supercars that inspired it, those sharp corners would make a black PVD coating more susceptible to being scratched than a more conventional design.
So rather than take the easier path of adding a black PVD coat to the existing HM5 case, MB&F went in search of a solid black material that:
Could be polished and finished like metal. 
Felt as solid and substantial as metal. 
Was as hard as steel. 
Unfortunately, no material with those properties existed. So MB&F asked a specialist supplier to develop one. 
It took a full 18 months, but they finally did: MB&F calls it CarbonMacrolon. CarbonMacrolon is a dense black polycarbonate resin reinforced with carbon nanotubes. It can be polished and finished like steel, feels as solid as steel and is as hard as steel. And it is black right through, so no surface coatings to scratch off. 
 

Technical specifications

ENGINE
Three-dimensional horological engine developed by Jean-François Mojon and Vincent Boucard of Chronode
Powered by a Sowind gear train
Iridescent purple 22k gold battle-axe ‘mystery’ automatic winding rotor Power reserve: 42 hours
Balance frequency: 28,800bph/4Hz
Number of components: 224
Number of jewels: 30
Engine housed in a water-resistant, stainless steel inner container
FUNCTIONS / INDICATIONS
Minutes and bi-directional jumping hours displayed by reflective sapphire crystal prism with integrated magnifying lens
Slide to open/close louvres on case top
CASE
CarbonMacrolon with internal water-resistant steel engine container Slide button to open/close louvres
Exhaust ports to drain water
Dimensions: 51.5mm x 49mm x 22.5mm
Number of components: 80
Water resistance of engine container: 30m / 90’ / 3atm
SAPPHIRE CRYSTALS
Smoked optical grade sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating and 20% magnification. Sapphire crystal on back with anti-reflective treatment on both faces
STRAP & BUCKLE
Sculpted rubber strap, titanium tang buckle
 

Who's who

“Amazing. Maximilian Büsser is definitely an amazing person.” If you ask Laurent Picciotto to go over the main points of his history with the big man at MB&F, you’ll initially be met by a long silence and a pensive look. Where to begin? What about the first meeting, when “Max” was on a work placement at Jaeger-LeCoultre? When he was head of Harry Winston Watchmakers? When he transitioned to become a designer, bringing together the greatest watchmaking talent at MB&F? These are all stages in Max Büsser’s career; yet the person who passed through them has been so different in each role that it can sometimes be difficult to see the continuity. Be that as it may, the link between the two men was indeed first forged in Paris, twenty years ago. Laurent Picciotto had opened Chronopassion three years previously, laying the foundations for a brand that was to become a benchmark, but which at that time was pretty much a complete unknown beyond a tiny number of top watchmaking connoisseurs. Meanwhile the young Maximilian Büsser had just graduated from the Lausanne Federal Polytechnic School and joined Jaeger-LeCoultre. Büsser was enamoured with watchmaking mechanics. When he was in Paris, he went to see Chronopassion in rue Saint Honoré. “He stayed over three hours,” recalls Laurent Picciotto. “He was enthusiastic and inquisitive. He asked thousands of questions – he was an unusual young man and already knew a lot more about watchmaking culture than he was letting on.” Max Büsser worked in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Marketing department for seven years. He left in 1991 to move to Harry Winston. The 5th Avenue jewellers in New York City had already made some inroads into the watchmaking world, but without any major breakthroughs. The first timepieces dated back to 1989, but had failed to find much success. Output remained tiny, as the young Max Büsser sowed the seeds of high-class watchmaking at the jewellers. He was soon promoted to the position of Managing Director of the Rare Timepieces department. That was when the paths of the two men crossed again. “I was out for a walk in Geneva,” says Laurent Picciotto, “when a man in a car stopped next to me. He was no longer the young apprentice from Jaeger, but the CEO of Harry Winston Watchmakers. I didn’t recognise him – he’d completely changed, even physically! He really had taken on the stature of CEO. It was amazing.” The two men then saw each other every year during the course of Harry Winston business. The watchmaking part of the brand, driven by Max Büsser, gradually took shape, “but I was interested only in the Opuses,” says Laurent Picciotto with a smile. A friendship developed and when Max Büsser left Harry Winston in July 2005, a new chapter in it began. “Max told me about his new project, MB&F, standing for Maximilian Büsser & Friends. I said just three words to him: ‘I’ll follow you.’ He was a little surprised, as he didn’t have any immediate plans to establish the brand in France and he hadn’t even got the slightest prototype anywhere near ready!” Picciotto’s instinct was right, though. The first Horological Machine, HM1, came into being two years later in 2007. “This timepiece is difficult to apprehend – you need to put it on your wrist and wait a good quarter of an hour before being able make up your mind,” remembers Laurent Picciotto. The next part of the adventure is better known: four HMs and an LM, standing for Legacy Machine, a piece that pays tribute to watchmaking inventors. It is more aesthetically accessible but no less technically complicated for all that. Each MB&F item is the fruit of the greatest talents in top watchmaking, in terms of both watchmaking technology itself and design: Jean-François Mojon, Kari Voutilainen, Peter Speake-Marin, Laurent Besse, Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, Eric Giroud, and so on. “At the end of the day, MB&F timepieces really do need to be adopted by their owners. Max adds a touch of humour, born out of his uninhibited approach to watchmaking. It’s definitely a brand that brings a breath of fresh air to the watchmaking landscape, shaking it up to just the right degree,” concludes Laurent Picciotto.
 
Journaliste : Olivier Müller
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