Trust Max Busser to, in the first place, get stung by a jellyfish and in the second, be inspired by the jellyfish! But before I go on, if you're new to watches, the you need to know who Max Busser is? He's the founder of MB&F which stands for Max Busser & Friends. It's a small watchmaking firm that makes some of the most magical watches on planet earth. And not a single one of their pieces is under USD40,000. This is mainly because they employ some of the top talents in Switzerland and Europe and they also make small quantities of watches. So if you can buy any of their HM (Horological Machines) then you know you are one of the few who have that piece.
Max & the Jellyfish
But I digress, so let's get back to the jellyfish. Mr Busser was with his family, on holiday in the Mauritius (or was it the Maldives?) when the incident occurred. He was relating this story just before Baselworld this year during lunch, and after the meal, put came the timepieces. Doing some research into the beast that stung him, Max was struck by its beauty and simplicity. And like all artistic types, he gained inspiration and began laying out a watch that had the makings of the jellyfish.
Which bring us to the Horological Machine No.7, aka the HM7 Aquapod. Like the jellyfish, the Aquapod looks incredibly simple on first glance. Jellyfish are radially symmetric, Aquapod is radially symmetric. Where a jellyfish generates power from food caught in its tentacles, HM7 generates power from its tentacle-like automatic winding rotor. Where jellyfish have a radially symmetric ring of neurons for a brain, Aquapod has radially symmetric rings displaying hours and minutes. Where jellyfish have a hood or bell on top, an HM7 Aquapod has an imposing flying tourbillon regulating the power generated by the rotor, and transforming it into the display of time.
With 303-components and a 72-hour power reserve, the HM7 Engine was developed in-house by MB&F which makes sense. Can you imagine the conversation with a movement maker like ETA?
"Hi, this MB&F, we are making a watch based on a jellyfish, do you have anything along those lines?"
"Errr, no." *Hangs up*
Spherically three-dimensional, all its mechanisms – from the winding rotor at the bottom, past the mainspring barrel and hour and minute displays, to the flying tourbillon on top – rotate concentrically around the centre. The curves of the high-domed sapphire crystal are mirrored in the shape of the time display rings, which are not simply flat and angled, but are mathematically precise, curved spherical segments. And, like many jellyfish, the HM7 glows in the dark. It glows where you would expect it to – on the hour and minute numerals – but also around the inside of the movement, to light up that flying tourbillon at night… and in addition, along the tentacle-like winding rotor so that its operation, too, can be appreciated in the dark.
And finally, and for me, the most astonishing is the water resistance of this piece which is 50m. Most pieces of this kind are barely water-resistant! And on top of that, notice where the bezel is? It's not attached to the case. It's uni-directional in case anybody wants to take it diving! It's not a small watch by any stretch at 53.8mm x 21.3mm, and it's made from titanium or 18k red gold. And then there's that ceramic bezel.
That's basically MB&F for you. It's crazy, practical, whimsical, engineered and well, a typical Max Busser piece.