MB&F - HMX Black Badger Purple reign
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
MB&F - HMX Black Badger Purple reign

HMX Black Badger Purple reign

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HMX Black Badger Purple reign

HMX Black Badger

 

‘Performance Art’ illuminated by smouldering rage

 

 

Creativity comes from a multitude of sources, but for ‘Black Badger’ founder James Thompson the fount of his creativity was rage – a rebellious fire was lit when he felt brushed aside as a student by what he perceived as an unfair administrative decision. Like MB&F, Thompson is an outsider doing his utmost to buck the system.

 

And he is fighting his creative corner with the most unlikely of weapons: luminescent material. Thompson mills three-dimensional objects from solid light!

 

More than a decade on from a perceived injustice, Thompson's rage smoulders on in the form of vividly glowing lume. As he recounts, "It wasn't that I had tried and failed, it was being brushed aside like crumbs on a table. Here we are 12 years later and I'm still angry about it!"

 

For the Performance Art collection, Thompson has reinterpreted one MB&F Machine: HMX, first launched in 2015 for MB&F’s 10th Anniversary

 

For HMX Black Badger, Thompson redesigned the "rocker cover" of HMX's Engine, visible under the supercar-like sapphire crystal cover, milled from his signature solid blocks of brightly coloured, high-efficiency lume.

 

While the colours – Radar Green, Phantom Blue, and Purple Reign – are eye-catching by day, it's when the sun goes down that they really come out to party. The long-lasting glow emitted by the high efficiency lume irradiates the HMX Engine compartment in an ethereal bath of light.

 

HMX displays bi-directional jumping hours and trailing minutes. Light streaming through the transparent Engine cover both illuminates the top of HMX's Engine by day, and by night the brightly glowing lume provides its own colourful backlight to the time display.

 

 

HMX Black Badger is a limited edition of 3 x 18 pieces in grade 5 titanium and stainless steel, with lume in Radar Green, Phantom Blue, or Purple Reign.

 

 

Black Badger lume and the composition and energy of light

 

 

While most watch enthusiasts are likely to be familiar with lume in the form of Super-LumiNova-enhanced hands and markers, that substance is quite different to the luminous material exclusive to Black Badger. While Super-LumiNova is a liquid that is applied to surfaces and dries, Black Badger's lume comes in solid blocks that are milled by hand or machine into the desired shape. Not only is Black Badger's lume extremely efficient at storing and releasing light, being solid means that there is usually more of it, so that it shines brighter for longer.

 

"White" light, which includes sunlight, is actually composed of red, green, and blue wavelengths of light. There are also other wavelengths of light outside our visible range, including infrared, a red that is just beyond visible, and ultraviolet, which is a blue that is just beyond visible. These different colours or frequencies of light contain varying levels of energy, with red/infrared at the lower end of the energy scale and blue/ultraviolet at the upper end.

 

When charging luminous material from white light, most of the energy comes from the more energetic ultraviolet end of the spectrum. But as ultraviolet is only a small fraction of white light source emitted by most torches and sunlight, only a small fraction of the power of the light source will actually charge the lume. An ultraviolet light, on the other hand, will charge lume much more quickly because it is all high-energy light, so more energy is absorbed by the lume more quickly.

 

This effect means that while normal white light sources will more easily charge the Black Badger Radar Green and Phantom Blue colours, an ultraviolet light is needed to charge the Purple Reign lume because it absorbs more energy.

 

Technical specifications

HMX Black Badger

Technical specifications

 

 

Limited edition of 3 x 18 pieces in grade 5 titanium and stainless steel, with lume in Radar Green, Phantom Blue, or Purple Reign

 

 

Engine:

Three-dimensional horological Engine composed of a jumping hour and trailing minutes module developed in-house by MB&F, powered by a Sellita gear train

Mechanical movement, automatic winding

22K gold automatic winding rotor

Power reserve: 42 hours

Balance frequency: 28,800bph / 4Hz

Number of components: 223

Number of jewels: 29

 

Functions/indications:

Bi-directional jumping hours and trailing minutes, displayed by dual reflective sapphire crystal prisms with integrated magnifying lens. Engine "rocker covers" from milled blocks of high-efficiency lume

 

Case:

Grade 5 titanium and stainless steel

Dimensions: 46.8 x 44.3 x 20.7 mm

Number of components: 44

Water resistance: 30m / 90’/ 3atm

 

Sapphire crystals:

Sapphire crystals on top, front and display back treated with anti-reflective coating on both sides

Dual reflective sapphire crystal prisms with integrated magnifying lens

 

Strap & buckle:

Partially perforated calfskin strap with colour complementary to Engine, 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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