Monday, May 3, 2010

The Horological Machine No 3 FROG from MB&F - Maximilian Büsser & Friends

Seeing a sneak peek of this prototype at Baselworld had my eyes pop out quite similarly to the Frog's bulbous displays. Originally based upon the HM3 Sidewinder & Starcruiser released last year, this alternative version features innovative domes for hours and minutes.

MB&F is the only "haute" brand I know that doesn't take themselves too seriously. They build fascinating machines blending humor and style. Sure it's an exclusive club to belong to but the inspiration is free.

MB&F will only craft 32 Frog movements this year: a limited edition of 12 pieces in black titanium (with green gold rotor) and 20 pieces of a non-limited titanium version (with blue gold rotor).

Haute horlogerie is (usually) a very restrained and serious business; however one of Maximilian Büsser main goals in creating MB&F was to bring a child's sense of awe and sense of playfulness into high-end watchmaking. There is no doubting that with the HM3 Frog, MB&F have certainly achieved that aim . . . and more! The protruding eyes of the (amphibian) frog enable it to see in many directions without having to turn its head. The bulbous domes of the HM3 Frog have the opposite, but no less important, feature of enabling the time to be easily seen from many angles without having to turn the wrist. The Frog differs substantially from HM3 in that it is the aluminum domes that rotate under the sapphire crystals in the Frog, whereas it is the hour and minute hands that rotate around their respective stationary cones on HM3.

Rotating domes of this size and shape posed MB&F with a number of technical challenges. The hour and minute domes are machined from solid aluminium - chosen for its optimal strength to weight ratio. The domes weigh in at just over 0.5g. They are milled first from the outside and then the inside to arrive at a paper-thin wall thickness of just 0.28 mm, which reduces their energy requirements to an absolute minimum.

Even the fabrication of the semi-spherical sapphire crystal domes was incredibly demanding and only recently even possible at all. This is due to the fact that any slight imperfection in the sapphire might introduce a disconcerting magnification effect. The sapphire has to be shaped and polished to be perfectly uniform.

The Frog's unusual method of indicating time necessitated the development of a new gear train for the HM3 engine. This was because the aluminum hour dome of the Frog rotates in 12 hours compared to the 24 hour revolution of the HM3 hour hand. And as the oversized date wheel is driven from the hours, the gearing driving the date had to be reworked as well.

The Frog may portray the time in a playful manner, but there is nothing but serious and meticulous attention to detail and care regarding the fine hand-finishing of the high-tuned engine purring within its lightweight high-tech titanium case. A close inspection of the case is rewarded with carefully thought out detailing including a figure 8 engraved around the domes that mirrors the form of the display back(revealing dual ceramic bearings); distinctive clover-head white gold screws; and an engraved arrow discreetly indicating the easy to read over-sized date.

If the viewer's gaze manages to break away from the obiculate indications, it is likely to be arrested by the brightly-coloured 22K gold battle-axe winding rotor or the intricacies of the thoroughbred movement beneath.
The HM3 Frog is available in Grade 5 titanium with blued rotor or a limited edition of 12 featuring mark-resistant black-coated titanium with green rotor.

HM3 Frog – Technical Specifications
Horological Machine No3 Frog

Three-dimensional horological engine designed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht/Agenhor;
Girard-Perregaux oscillator and gear
Balance oscillating at 28,800 bph.
22K blued rose gold battle-axe shaped ‘mystery’ automatic winding rotor
Hour and minutes information transmitted via ceramic ball bearings to rotating domes.
Number of jewels: 36 (all functional)
Number of components: 304

Hour and day/night indicator on one dome (aluminium dome rotating in 12 hours)
Minutes on second dome (aluminium dome rotating in 60 minutes)
Date around the movement

Grade 5 titanium/blue 22K gold rotor; limited edition of 12 black titanium/green 22K gold (black treated with mark-resistant silicon oxide)
Screwed-down crown
Dimensions (exclusive of crown and lugs): 47mm x 50mm x 16mm
Number of case components: 53

Sapphire crystals:
Domes and both display backs with anti-reflective treatment on both faces.
Domes for indications: in aluminium, 0.58g

Rotating aluminium domes, stationary hands

Strap & Buckle:
Black hand-stitched alligator with 18K white gold & titanium custom designed deployment buckle

Visit MB&F Website

All MB&F Stories

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Monday, March 29, 2010

The Opus 10 by Jean-François Mojon for Harry Winston Rare Timepieces

The Opus series has lost some of its "oomph" with the lackluster #10. More avant guard than garde. Sadly leaving people like me vanting more. Either way, thanks to Ian Skellern of Underthedial for his images and video of the latest Harry Winston Rare Timepieces Opus X.

"This simplified model of the Opus 10 mechanism only demonstrates the minutes and GMT functions. It does not include the complexity of the hours and seconds".

The Shape of Time

Inspired by planetary movements and the space-time continuum, Opus X captures the shape and dimensionality of time through the synchronous rotation of circular motions. Replacing a traditional fixed dial and watch hands, time is displayed as system of rotating indicators mounted on a revolving frame. Presenting a new technical challenge, as the frame completes a full rotation, the dials of each indicator turn in the opposite direction, ensuring orientation remains constant in any position.

Recalling the celestial mechanics of the solar system, the hand-wound mechanical movement functions as a planetary gear train, consisting of solar wheel, satellite wheels, and frame. The indicators for hours, minutes, seconds, and secondary timezone, are set on the individual satellite wheels, which orbit around the central, solar wheel. Each indicator is set at a slight incline, allowing the dials to follow the curvature of the case, while ensuring fluidity in rotation. The frame is driven separately to complete a full rotation in 24-hours.

Creating coherency throughout the design, the 72-hour power reserve operates as special planetary gear train, in which the diameter of the satellite wheel equals the radius of the crown wheel resulting in a linear indication. Balance regulation and chamfered bridges enhance the stability and functionality of the power reserve. A transparent backing shows the geometric precision and beautiful finishing of the movement.

Technical Specifications

Name: Opus X
Reference: 500/MMJFMWL.K
Movement: Mechanical movement with manual winding
Functions: Display of time by modules for hours, minutes and seconds mounted on a platform
Continuous movement of the platform rotates in twenty-four hours
Twenty-four hour second time zone indicated in the periphery
Linear power reserve indicator on the case back
Case: 46 mm white gold
Strap: Black alligator
Buckle: White gold
Power Reserve: 72 hours
Water resistance: 30 meters
Limited edition: 100 pieces
Collection: Opus

For more photos-->LINK

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rebellion T-1000 Vertical Roller Timepiece with 1000 Hour Power Reserve

"One of the horological highlights of Baselworld has to be the incredible rebellion T-1000 featuring 1000 hour power reserve, 6 mainspring barrels, two tiny chains, a double hairspring, titanium case and aluminum chassis."

Special thanks to Ian Skellern of UNDERTHEDIAL for his images and descriptions.

The 6 barrels are wound by this patented innovative (patented) lever that hinges upward from the case.

The winding lever clicks into place and looks integral to the case.

The force require to wind the T-1000 is very light and there is a tactile clicking ratchet sound as the lever is moved up and down.

On both sides of the T-1000 movement, a tiny chain distributes power between 3 barrels.


With a mind-blowing power reserve of more than 1,000 hours - that's more than 40 days - the T-1OOO doesn't simply push back the boundaries of the possible, it destroys them and creates its own reality.

Baselworld, March 2010 – After the successful presentation in January of The Predator, their first watch with a round case, Rebellion launched themselves into the creation of a never-before-realized challenge: creating a watch with a power reserve of more than 1,000 hours!

The T-1OOO – birth of a challenge
It was in June 2008, after the famous 24 hours of Le Mans car race, in an atmosphere rich with the smell of motor oil and hot engines, that the team at Rebellion thought, "If we can transform these fine-tuned racing thoroughbreds into 24-hour long distance endurance racers, why not do the same with a watch? Why not see just how long the power reserve could be?"
Sporting a body of pure design
The body of the T-1OOO was designed in a collaboration of Eric Giroud and Rebellion. The case was developed concurrently with the movement to ensure completely harmonious integration. There is a sensation of flying as the viewer gazes down through the massive opening to the vertical roller-borne time indications below. Attention then plunges towards 6 o'clock, where the inclined double balance releases the immense power at a precisely controlled rate. A window in the side of the case reveals one of the mainspring barrels, with markers providing a natural "Fuel Gauge" of the state of the power reserve.

Controlling the power
Housed three on each side of the body are the six mainspring barrels providing T-1OOO with its colossal energy reserve. The over-sized winding lever endows the T-1OOO with a strong and virile identity as well as an ergonomically tactile pleasure while "filling the tank". The streamlined downward taper of the case from the centre to 6 o'clock furnishes further evidence of Rebellion's car racing pedigree. A pedigree reinforced by the fact that a patented time-setting clutch activated by a push button in the crown makes setting the time as simple (and as pleasurable) as changing gears. The three rounded structures each side of the case provide a hint to the complex engineering within, while the innovative architecture of the majestic case is in perfect tune with the demand for exceptional contemporary horology.
A true racing machine
The power reserve of more than 1,000 hours is possible thanks to the six mainspring barrels that provide the T-1OOO with its exceptional capacity. In a patented system of energy distribution, six barrels are wound in parallel via a central prop shaft driving two chains, but they discharge in series (2 x 3) to optimize a regular power supply to the regulator. The technical ability behind the realization of this elegant technical solution came directly from Rebellion's long experience in endurance car racing and the Rebellion Racing team.

  • Limited edition: 100 pieces
  • Calibre: REB T-1000, manual winding with integrated winding lever
  • Jewels: 14 ceramic & 22 rubies
  • Balance: double hairspring inclined at 39°
  • Winding system: Patented system of six mainsprings wound in parallel by chain and prop shaft.
  • The barrels discharge power in series to provide an optimal torque curve.
  • Indications: hours and minutes displayed on rollers
  • Power reserve: 1'000+ hours provided by six (2 x 3) vertical mainspring barrels
  • Number of components: 693 for the chassis
  • Balance frequency: 18'000 bph (2.5Hz)
  • Material: case in titanium and chassis in aluminium
  • Dimensions: 46,7 mm X 46,9 mm / 19,5 mm
  • Crown: time-setting mechanism using patented push-button clutch system
  • Water resistance: 50 metres
  • Strap: black alligator leather
  • Buckle: patented folding clasp with micrometric push button regulation allowing easy adjustment of length on the wrist.
Rebellion Timepieces Website

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ikepod Carbon Nanoball Hourglass designed by Marc Newson - Baselworld 2010 Unveiling

The Ikepod Hourglass is 60 minute counter made up of high-grade glass with “sand” that composed of carbon or nickel-plated nanoballs. A gold-plated nanoball version is also available.

The container measures 265mm x 300mm x 3mm.

Ikepod Website

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Thursday, March 11, 2010


If you won't be in Switzerland next week for the Baselworld watch fair for the world's first public viewing, don't worry, The Watchismo Times has an exclusive sneak peek of this über-gadget, the CELSIUS X VI II micro-mechanical tourbillon cell phone!

Celsius is a French company founded in 2006 by four young entrepreneurs. In March 2010, after three years of research and development with icons like Richard Mille and controversial movement maker "Confrerie Horlogere Hublot" (formerly BNB Concept), Celsius X VI II are launching a range of high-end micromechanical phones featuring some exceptional patented mechanical complications.

The first creation, a cell phone merged with a tourbillion watch featuring a patented Remontage Papillon mechanism, heralds a new generation of objects with high emotional value. CELSIUS X VI II reinvents micro-mechanical applications to humanize the future of communication: pushing the boundaries of established watchmaking, each creation will be a significant step towards the dream of a completely mechanical mobile phone: a phone in which every function will operate mechanically, solely through human energy.

Celsius X VI II has developed its first papillon item as an accessory for the contemporary aesthete. The successive design sketches reveal a quest for perfect elegant - skilfully contoured lines, fine materials and subtle details - through a functionalist approach, beauty without excess. The quality of the manufacture hints at a fine watchmaking influence. The pieces of the case are of the best workmanship, and most of the roughly 547 mechanical components are hand-finished. The aesthetic design plays with transparency to reveal the magic of the technology, to an even greater extent than would be allowed by the butterfly design alone.

The fact nonetheless remains that, tucked away inside its hinge, the item conceals a patented system that is activated when the wings are unfolded. Based on complex micromechanics, this innovation has its name - "Remontage Papillon" (butterfly rewinding) - spelled out on the top wing. Its presence has much to do with making this creation a favorite among enlightened enthusiasts. This ultimate appeal is an asset that opens up new horizons, as Celsius X VI II begins to explore mechanical functions that will revolutionize the world of communications, things never before seen or heard that in the future will become a major sector of the prestige market.

Celsius X VI II is fundamentally an innovative brand that combines mobile telephony with prestige watchmaking in creating nomadic objets d'art.

A dream that embraces a concept that is still impossible today but may one day come true: an entirely mechanical cellphone!

It will be unveiled next week at Baselworld 2010, starting price will approximately €200,000 ($275,000)

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MB&F HOROLOGICAL MACHINE NUMBER 4 "THUNDERBOLT" Sneak Peek into the engine of the HM4

In July 2010 MB&F will unveil its most radical Machine to date: The HM4 - Horological Machine No4 - "Thunderbolt".

As this image of the Engine of "Thunderbolt" reveals, Horological Machine No4 will feature a calibre that is a complete departure from any watch movement known today.

Max just forwarded me these early images of the movement and mentioned:

"I think people will start finally understanding why we call our movements “engines”.

I wanted to present the Engine alone so that all attention can be given to this amazing piece of machinery/horology. The whole idea of MB&F being about creating “kinetic art which gives time”, this HM4 engine symbolizes pretty well our creative philosophy."

Visit MB&F website

MB&F (Maximilian Busser & Friends) was founded in 2005 by Maximilian Busser, former Managing Director of Harry Winston Rare Time Pieces and creator of the revolutionary Opus series. By harnessing the power of the Friends, dedicated collectives of the top independent artisans and watchmakers in Switzerland, MB&F creates contemporary time-telling mechanical sculptures. Each MB&F Horological Machine represents the best of the best in the world of watches. By giving full credit to the all star team creating each Machine, the pieces become a showpiece for the most cutting edge designs, the best finishing, the integration of new technologies, in all the highest quality possible.

Possible Star Wars inspiration?

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The Hands of Time - 25 Year Anniversary of the AHCI Académie Horlogère Des Créateurs Indépendants

The Hands of Time, by watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin and watch journalist Ian Skellern, celebrates the 25th anniversary of the AHCI by chronicling the academy’s history and providing biographies and photographs of 31 current members. The members include some of the independent watchmaking and clockmaking world's best... Felix Baumgartner of Urwerk, Svend Andersen, Vincent Calabrese, Aaron Becsei, Robert Bray, Philippe Dufour, Paul Gerber, Beat Haldimann, Vianney Halter, Francois-Paul Journe, Christian Klings, Rainer Nienaber, Aniceto Pita, Thomas Prescher, Antoine Preziuso, Peter Speake-Marin, Andreas Strehler, Christiaan Van der Klaauw, Kari Voutilainen, Volker Vyskocil, and more worth discovering

Just released! Order the book here-->AHCI Book

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The 4N MVT01 Four Numbers Disc Watch by François Quentin

An interesting new concept watch from new brand 4N is being developed by François Quentin, one of the co-founders of the very cool independent watch brand HAUTLENCE.

4N was born from the desire to create a simple digital display and propose a mechanical alternative to analogue timepieces with moving hands. The name of the brand is derived from "4 Numbers", which refers to the four digits on a digital counter which represent the tens of hours, hours, tens of minutes and minutes. For more, visit the official 4N website.

Limited edition of 16 in 18-carat white gold and 16 in platinum

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thomas Prescher's Mysterious Automatic Double Axis Tourbillon

I'm looking forward to seeing this in person at Baselworld in a few weeks!

"Thomas had a problem:
How to make the visibility of the tourbillon even better than his present watches.
The solution:
Just tuck everything except the tourbillon out of the way."


"A vision. That is normally the beginning of a time sculpture manufactured by Thomas Prescher. Guided by the idea to improve the perfect visibility of the central elements of his multi Axis Tourbillon Thomas Prescher composed a new breathtaking piece of art.

Only time, Tourbillon, calendar and oscillating weight are visible. The movement is completely hidden.

Place to hide the movement was found left and right in the case, hidden by the bezel. Because the space is very limited the parts of the movement had to be located on both sides.
Later, resting in a hammock the idea was born to create an automatic movement with horizontal swinging oscillating weight. To crown this exceptional piece of art, it was a logical decision to choose something special for the heart of this watch. The escapement with its beating balance has to be a flying Double Axis Tourbillon with constant force.
The idea to add a calendar to this creation came while observing some people entering a giant swing. They could move on the surface of the swing. Why not create an oscillating weight with integrated calendar indications and let the gravity take the calendar on the oscillating weight remains always horizontal.

This mysterious watch with its transparency led automatically to the wish to wear it from sides, front and back. With the calendar located on the flat side of the oscillating weight this indication is always facing upward. It can be read regardless of which side of the watch is up.
Respecting the aspects of harmony was an important point. Two crowns were used to keep the beauty of symmetry with. One crown is used for winding and the other for setting time and calendar. Both crowns build the main symmetry axis. Now it was necessary to build the optical balance between the oscillating weight on one side and the indication of time on the other side. For that reason a three dimensional moon was placed between the two barrels, indicating the hours and minutes.

Finally, placed on a turning axis, held by a carrying arm the carriage is rotating around itself. These two synchronized motions create a gyro scoping image immediately taking full attention.
A mesmerizing kinetic sculpture is born."

Photos by Watchprosite
Visit PuristPro for more details or watchmaker Thomas Prescher Haute Horlogerie website

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