February 2, 2017
Last month at the SIHH trade show in Geneva, MB&F unveiled one of their craziest horological creations yet: the HM7 Aquapod. It is essentially their version of a dive watch. Although as you might expect, it is like no other dive watch you’ve ever seen.
The HM7 Aquapod features a unique spherical construction with a 52.8 mm x 21.3 mm case crafted from either grade 5 titanium or 18K 5N red gold, with a massively domed sapphire crystal on the top, and a less domed sapphire crystal on the bottom. Most notably, there is a circular open space in between the main dial area of the watch the rotating bezel, which MB&F has dubbed a “floating” a bezel.
The inspiration for the watch was, of course, dive watches, but also a gelatinous creature from the sea. From the symmetrical design to the tentacle-like winding rotor to the water-resistance (50 meters) and even the fact that the watch glows in the dark – the watch is inspired by jellyfish.
For what it is worth, while 100 meter water-resistance is required for by the ISO 6425 certification, and this watch is only rated to 50 meters (164 feet), presumably everything else about the watch meets the certification prerequisites.
Technically, the watch mechanics are just as interesting as the design itself.
The hours and minutes are displayed by two spherical discs in aluminum and titanium, supported by oversized ceramic ball bearings. The hour and minute numerals and markers have been hand-painted in with lume, making them legible by night. They are hand-painted because it is impossible to print neatly on such complexly-curved components. They used so much lume that even the tourbillon is lit up by the glow, at night!
In the center of the dial is a 60-second flying tourbillon, which you can see in action in the video below.
There are two crowns, one of the left for winding if necessary, and the one on the right is for setting the time. The large crowns are ergonomically designed for ease of use, even when manipulated with wet fingers.
The curved ceramic bezel features numerals and markers that were first engraved in the ceramic using a laser and then filled with metalized titanium. The whole ring was then polished to a high gloss.
One of the coolest features of virtually all automatic winding MB&F watches is the winding rotors. In this case, the rotor (or oscillating weight) is machined from a solid block of titanium, with alternating polished and satin-finished sections, and with a platinum weight underneath, crafted to look like tentacles.
Beneath the rotor, you can see the beautiful Geneva stripes on the 5N red gold-plated bridges. The movement beats at 2.5Hz (18,000 vph), consists of 303 components, 35 of which are jewels, and has a power reserve of 70-hours.
First deliveries of the HM7 Aquapod have already begun, and there will be a total of two initial editions, one in titanium with a blue bezel (limited to 33 pieces) and the other in 18K red gold with a black bezel (limited to 66 pieces).
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