A PARALLEL WORLD

Wednesday May 2 2012 / Science & Technology - MB&F

MOONMACHINE by Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva is both the first of the MB&F Performance Art pieces by a watchmaker and the first to endow a Machine with a new complication. With MOONMACHINE, Stepan has taken a specially configured HM3 Frog and transformed it with his iconic moon-face moon-phase indicator set in a scintillating firmament of northern stars.

MB&F MOONMACHINE

The MOON:
Around 4.5 billion years ago when the young Earth was still forming, Theia, a proto-planet the size of Mars, is thought to have struck our planet and disintegrated in a ‘Giant Impact’. Some of the debris was attracted by the Earth’s gravity and the rest – consisting of material from both Earth and Theia – went into orbit around the Earth. Within 12 months this orbiting debris coalesced to form the Moon.

Over the next 4.4 billion years, the Earth’s tilt in relation to the sun was stabilised by the gravitational pull of the Moon, which provided regular relatively mild seasons over much of the planet’s surface – ideal conditions for life to form and evolve.

Without that cataclysmic event, we would not be here. You might say we are all Children of the Moon.

And no sooner did modern man start walking the earth than he stared up at the night sky in wonder and awe at the biggest and brightest orb in the heavens. Perhaps none more so than the inhabitants of Finland – including Stepan Sarpaneva – because the less romantic and less well-known counterpoise to the summertime Land of the Midnight Sun are extremely long nights in winter, which gives the population more time than most to study the moon and stars.

MB&F MOONMACHINE red gold

MOONMACHINE: While considerably less cataclysmic than the formation of our Moon, MOONMACHINE was also forged from the creative collision of two worlds: MB&F's HM3 Frog and independent watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva.

Before launching his own brand Sarpaneva Watches in 2003, Stepan Sarpaneva worked with some of the most prestigious Swiss brands including Piaget, Parmigiani – where he worked alongside Kari Voutilainen – Vianney Halter and Christophe Claret.

MB&F MOONMACHINE Maximilian Büsser and Stepan Sarpaneva

"Stepan has an incredible sense of design and a real sense of detail. His work and everything he surrounds himself with is extremely coherent." Maximilian Büsser

Stepan Sarpaneva: Stepan’s three signature themes are all celestial: his very distinctive moon face; the northern stars and constellations; and the crenellated form of his Korona case – the korona/corona is the plasma atmosphere of the Sun – and all three have been incorporated in MOONMACHINE. Sarpaneva's two moon faces indicate the phase of the moon through a Korona shaped aperture, while the mystery winding rotor is actually a blued 22k gold disc with laser-pierced stars forming stars and constellations visible in the northern sky.

MB&F MOONMACHINE emgine

“The visible movement at the top of HM3 Frog added a technical aspect that provided a serious counterpoint to the playfulness of the bulging frog-eyed indications. In covering the movement, the moon phase and sky hides this and makes the timepiece more poetic. With MOONMACHINE, HM3 is transformed into a fairy tale.” Stepan Sarpaneva

MB&F MOONMACHINE titanium

You will find more information regarding the HM3 MOONMACHINE at www.mbandf.com/machines/performance-art/moonmachine

Suggested by
Maximilian Büsser

Saturday January 15 2011 / MB&F

The HM2 engine: Developed by award-winning master watchmaker Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, features the world's first mechanical movement offering: Instantaneous Jump Hour, Concentric Retrograde Minutes, Retrograde Date, Bi-Hemisphere Moon Phase and Automatic Winding. One highlight (of many) of the HM2 complication is the highly energy-efficient Jump Hour/Retrograde mechanism developed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, which uses his exclusive (and patented) asymmetrical-tooth gear wheels to ensure high precision and play-free functionality.

The sapphire case: Surprisingly, because it is largely unseen, the sapphire cases of these final editions are a substantial 3.6mm thick. Thanks to anti-reflective treatment on both sides - in itself no small technological feat to uniformly apply - the case becomes virtually invisible and allows for full appreciation of the myriad nuances of the complex movement. Eight mounting bolts traverse the sapphire plate like pillars, passing through the twin tracks of the rubber gasket sealing the sapphire case and caseback, add to the architectural nature of the three-dimensional case.

The case, with its flying buttresses, bolted portholes and sliding crown guard, was so complex - over 100 components go into its construction alone - that it could only be developed with an innovative modular method inspired by the Meccano sets of Maximilian Büsser's childhood.  And in line with best engineering principles, this modularity also simplifies future refurbishment of the case should it ever be necessary.

Technical Innovations:  The principle technical challenge in developing the movement was ensuring that the jumping hour functioned both instantaneously and simultaneously when the retrograde minute flies back from 60 to 0. And not only instantaneously: without using excessive energy.  The usual method of activating Jumping Hour indications is to store energy in the minutes before the change to power the jump; however, while this energy is being accumulated it takes power from the balance causing it to loose amplitude - an effect detrimental to time-keeping precision.  Wiederrecht's solution was as brilliant as it was simple: he designed a ingenious mechanism so that when the minutes fly back, a snail on the minute mechanism hits the hour star causing the hour to jump. The hour jumps instantaneously with the minutes because it is triggered by the minutes and, as the jump is powered by the energy of the minutes flying back, it has virtually no effect on the amplitude of the balance.

While the complications and functionality operate with maximum efficiency, with 349 components in the movement alone, there are no doubting HM2's credentials as an incredibly technical tour de force.

The complication has another very special feature. Specific gears in HM2's movement are manufactured to extremely high precision using Mimotec's UV-LIGA technology. These gears mesh together with a virtually a no-tolerance/no-play engagement. Normally, gears interacting this tightly would bind; however, Wiederrecht's patented asymmetrical-split-tooth gear design ensures this does not occur. The high precision of this gearing enables very accurate time-setting and offers high reliability.

To maximise the efficiency of MB&F's already iconic battle-axe automatic rotor, one of the 22K gold blades was machined down to a razor sharp edge of just 0.2mm - a dimension that pushed the very limits of micro-machining! 

While Horological Machine No.2 is a high-tech machine of the 21st century, the quality and hand execution of the fine finishing is a showcase of the very best in traditional craftsmanship.  Light flashing off hand finished mirror-polished surfaces and immaculate bevelling brings vivacity to the rich combination of colours, materials, shapes and textures.

HM2 Final editions – Technical Specifications

HM2-Black SV and HM2-Red SV are limited editions of 18 pieces (each)

Movement: Jean-Marc Wiederrecht/Agenhor designed functionality regulated and powered by a Girard-Perregaux base
Balance oscillating at 28,800 bph
22K red gold battle-axe automatic winding rotor (green PVD coated 22K for HM2-Black SV)
Number of components: 349 including 44 jewels
Functions:
Left dial: Retrograde Date and Bi-Hemisphere Moon Phase
Right Dial: Jumping Hours and Concentric Retrograde Minutes

Case:

HM2-Black SV: Sapphire/black PVD coated titanium baseplate, electric green gasket, limited to 18 pieces
HM2-Red SV: Sapphire/18K red gold baseplate, black gasket, limited to 18 pieces

Dimensions (exclusive of crown and lugs): 59mm x 38mm x 13mm
Water resistant to 30 meters (3 ATM)
Number of parts: 120 (case only)

Sapphire crystals: Sapphire case top and crystals over the dual dials treated with anti-reflective treatment on both faces. Display back with anti-reflective treatment on single face.

Dials: Brushed sapphire and black [IanS1]metallic disks

Strap & Buckle: Black hand-stitched alligator with 18K gold & titanium folding buckle

Presentation box: Precision engineered aluminium and leather instrument case featuring an integrated Rüeger thermometer

 

Wednesday July 14 2010 / MB&F


Inspiration and Realization:
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 what he saw last thing at night and planes were what he saw first thing each morning.

The boy became a man, but something of the child and his planes remained, quietly waiting until…HM4 Thunderbolt!

Many boys sketch supercars and fast planes, but few have the drive and determination to make their dreams come true. Büsser created MB&F to do just that. The HM4 Thunderbolt is born of the child's fantasy and the man's tenacity.

Engine: HM4's engine was entirely designed and developed by MB&F over three years of intensive work with Laurent Besse and Beranger Reynard of Les Artisans Horlogers. Each of the 311 components were developed specifically for the Thunderbolt, no off-the-shelf mechanisms or parts were used at all due to the extreme nature of its architecture.

Two mainspring barrels connected in parallel provide 72 hours of energy, and they transfer their power to the dual jet-turbine-like indication pods (one displaying the hours and minutes, the other the power reserve) via vertical gear trains.

Visible through a shaped sapphire display panel on the top of the case, a distinctive streamlined cock supports the balance, its centre cut away to reveal as much of the oscillating wheel as possible and validating the "kinetic" in MB&F's "kinetic art".

A work of art rewards when viewed from different angles and the Thunderbolt is no exception. Turning the machine over reveals a veritable panorama of meticulously finished micro-engineering through the sapphire sections. In a playful trompe d'oeil, what at first glance appears to be a micro-rotor in the form of MB&F's iconic battle-axe is actually a bridge.

Indications: For a timepiece not developed specifically to tell the time, HM4 performs that role superbly. In fact, with its highly legible dials perpendicular to the wearer's wrist, Horological Machine No4 might be described as the perfect pilot's or driver's watch.

On the left pod, the amount of fuel in the tanks - or power reserve - is clearly indicated by a skeletonised hand echoing MB&F's battle-axe motif. On the right, hours and minutes are displayed by bold, arrow-tipped Super-LumiNova filled hands. Each of the two aviation instrument-styled dials is directly controlled by its own crown, one to wind and re-fuel the tanks, the other to set the time, which provides direct and instantaneous feedback of the action performed.

Case: Inspired by aviation, more specifically the model aircraft kits of Maximilian Büsser's childhood, the case of HM4 imparts speed, power, technology and refinement in equal measure. Visually, the case is composed of three parts: two streamlined jet-turbine-styled pods supported by a horizontal section housing the engine, which is clearly visible through transparent sapphire display panels and the central section of the case itself.

Technically there are also three main sections, but these comprise a fore section in titanium, which includes the dials and articulated front lugs; a central section in sapphire offering unprecedented 360° access to the superbly finished engine; and an aft section tapering down to the dual crowns and framing the animated balance, which is supported by an aerodynamic cock. Methods borrowed from aeronautic engineering are visible in the externally mounted screws, which provide both rigidity and watch resistance to hold the case’s three sections solidly and elegantly together.

Beginning with a solid piece of sapphire, more than 100 hours of intricate machining and meticulous polishing are required to turn an opaque block of crystal into the clear, light-filled atrium of the central case section, which reveals part of the Thunderbolt's engine and engineering details. The metal case sections are milled from solid blocks of high-tech Grade 5 titanium, which undergoes hundreds of hours of machining before polishing, masking and finally satin-finishing of the surfaces. The results speak for themselves.

The contrasts of matte with highly polished surfaces, titanium with sapphire, straight lines with seductive curves and rigid forms with articulated arms endows Horological Machine No4 with a life and vibrancy that sets it apart from anything that has ever gone before.

HM4 Thunderbolt is the quintessential machine as three-dimensional kinetic art.

Horological Machine No4 Thunderbolt – Technical Specifications

Engine:
Three-dimensional horological engine developed 100% by MB&F
Manual winding with two mainspring barrels in parallel
Power reserve: 72 hours
Balance frequency: 21,600bph/3Hz
Number of components: 311
Number of jewels: 50

Functions:
Hours, minutes and power reserve indicator
Hours and minutes on right dial, power reserve indicator on left dial
Separate crowns for time setting and winding

Case:
Grade 5 titanium and sapphire
Dimensions: 54mm wide x 52mm long x 24mm high
Number of components: 65
Articulation of lugs: 3°

Sapphire crystals: Five sapphire crystals: 2 x dials, 1 x central case section, 2 x display panels (top and bottom)

Strap & Buckle: Black hand-stitched calfskin strap with titanium/white gold custom designed deployment buckle attached to articulated lugs

'Friends' responsible for Horological Machine No4 “Thunderbolt”

Concept: Maximilian Büsser/MB&F

Product Design: Eric Giroud – Eric Giroud Design Studio

Technical and Production Management: Serge Kriknoff/MB&F

Production logistics: David Lamy/MB&F

Movement Development: Laurent Besse, Béranger Reynard and Patrick Lété of Les Artisans Horlogers

Movement manufacturing: Daniel Uhlmann/Azuréa Technologies, Nicolas Broquet/Broquet Décolletage, Yann Ryser/Tital

Hand-finishing of movement components: Jacques-Adrien Rochat and Denis Garcia of C-L Rochat

Movement assemblage: Didier Dumas and Georges Veisy/MB&F

Case and buckle construction and production: Jean-Pierre Kohler and Lionel Gavignet of Profusion, Martin Stettler of Stettler, Dominique Mainier and Bertrand Jeunet of G.F.Châtelain

Dials: François Bernhard and Denis Parel of Nateber

Hands: Pierre Chillier, Isabelle Chillier and Félix Celetta of Fiedler

Strap: Olivier Purnot/Camille Fournet

Presentation box: Olivier Berthon/Berthon & Co

Communication:
Graphic Design - Alban Thomas and Gérald Moulière of GVA Studio
Product Photography - Maarten van der Ende
Display Architecture - Frédéric Legendre/Lekoni
Portrait Photography - Régis Golay/Federal
Webmasters - Stéphane Balet and Guillaume Schmitz of Sumo Interactive
Texts - Ian Skellern
Project Manager - Estelle Tonelli/MB&F


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