The HM4 Only Watch featuring a miniature flying panda bear is a magical synthesis of children's dreams and cutting-edge haute horlogerie.
While we dream throughout our lives, there is one specific dream that children experience more frequently than adults: the ability to fly! It isn’t known why dreams of flight diminish from adolescence; however, it may be that adult imaginations become more constrained as they are rooted in the realities of everyday life. Children with duchenne muscular dystrophy suffer from progressively diminished mobility leading to paralysis; however, while their bodies may be trapped, their young spirits can escape in their dreams and imaginations. HM4 Only Watch offers children a flight of fantasy, a reason to smile, and a wild ride through time and space!
HM4 Only Watch features the dream-world scenario of a solid gold panda bear riding on top of the HM4 jet, which he controls with reins made of twisted gossamer filaments made of gold. The panda was hand-carved and then cast in 18k white gold using the “lost wax” technique. And while the HM4 Only Watch is a celebration of the fantasy of children’s dreams, there is also a feature for those obliged to ground their feet in reality from time to time: the panda and his reins have been micro-engineered to be completely detachable so that HM4 transforms from a flying machine into a Horological Machine.
The HM4 Only Watch 2011 will be auctioned at Only Watch, the charity auction to benefit research into duchenne muscular dystrophy, which will be held in Monaco on the 23rd of September 2011 under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II. The auction is held every two years and brings together the cream of Switzerland’s haute horlogerie watchmakers.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a serious genetic disorder affecting 1 out of every 3,500 boys. It is characterised by a progressive weakening of the muscles, resulting in respiratory and cardiac problems that become fatal as the child gets older. There are around 30,000 sufferers of the disease in Europe alone.
For all details regarding the auction itself, organised by Antiquorum, please go to the following page.
Born in 1977 in Suzhou, China, Huang Hankang began painting when he was just seven years old. After earning an art degree, he moved to Paris to further his artistic education, learn more about the world outside of China and experience a different culture. His talent was internationally recognised in 2007 with an exhibition in New York and subsequent exhibitions in Europe.
Huang usually paints with watercolours, utilising their nuanced delicacy and light colours to code powerful yet often sublime messages. Huang’s paintings ask the viewer intriguing questions rather than make cut-and-dry statements. These paintings often feature juxtapositions of animals in unusual situations or positions – a panda bear flying a horological spaceship is certainly a consistent expression of his philosophy.
Huang uses art as a method of communication to spread his message to a broader public. The Only Watch project with MB&F provided an unusual horological canvas on which to “paint” his message; however, he jumped at the opportunity upon discovering that MB&F’s Horological Machines are closer to art than to watchmaking and are as much products of Maximilian Büsser's fertile imagination as Huang’s paintings are to his own imagination.
While visiting an art gallery a few years ago, MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser noticed a painting of a panda flying on a rocket that lifted his spirits so much that he bought it. That painting was by Paris-based Chinese artist, Huang Hankang, and for Only Watch, Huang used HM4 as his canvas to convey a childlike liberation of the spirit.
When Huang was asked if he was interested in collaborating with MB&F on the Only Watch project, it only took one glance at HM4 Thunderbolt for him to realise that while this was an artistic medium he had not considered before – or even knew existed – he relished in the challenge and the cause. Huang first imagined and then painted a delightful, carefree panda bear flying free on top of HM4 and MB&F set about transforming Huang’s painting into a horological expression. Huang’s original painting accompanies the HM4 Only Watch.
As Huang relates, “I saw MB&F’s work as art, not watchmaking. It comes from unfettered imagination, just like my paintings.”
In collaboration with American artist Sage Vaughn, MB&F expressed an emotionally powerful sentiment at Only Watch 2009. The 2011 HM4 Only Watch continues this praxis of creating compelling messages by seamlessly blending art and horology.
A long childhood passion for assembling model aircraft had Maximilian Büsser's walls, cupboards and ceiling covered in small aircraft of every description. Planes were the last things he saw at night and the first things he saw each morning. As Büsser the boy became a man, something of the child and his planes remained, quietly waiting until… HM4 Thunderbolt!
Each of the Thunderbolt’s movement’s 311 components was developed specifically for it; no off-the-shelf mechanisms or parts were used at all due to the extreme nature of its architecture.
The contrasts of matte with highly polished surfaces, titanium with sapphire, straight lines with seductive curves, and rigid forms with articulated arms endow Horological Machine No4 with a life and vibrancy that sets it apart from anything that has ever gone before.