Hands-on review MB&F Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’

A photographic essay with personal notes

Reading Time: 6 minutes

When I  have heard that a new Horological machine will be released I was thrilled. After reading and publishing the press release of the MB&F Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’ I was impressed. But after taking the HM9 in my hands, everything changed. It was like changing from a frivolous high school summer love to a profound and mature lifetime-long love. This is my hands-on review with a few words but many pictures. Click on the pictures for viewing at a higher resolution.

MB&F Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’

Before anything else, let’s have a look at the video below. What is extremely interesting is the sound of the HM9. Being familiar with the resonance at two or more balance wheels, the sound of HM9 is the first to show the lack of resonance between them. The clip contains two videos with 120fps reduced to 30fps – it is clearly visible that the balances have no intention of joining each other in resonance.

 

 

MB&F Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’

The HM9 is the result of a fantastic team led by Maximilian Büsser. To know more about him, you can read this excellent interview for The Naked Watchmaker. To understand the accomplishments of Max Büsser and Friends, one needs to understand that this team became strong by fire and struggle. The MB&F team is not only a team of exceptional specialists and masters but a league of extraordinary ladies and gentlemen. Only the passion can fire up the creation of the impossible. Because it has been said that the HM9 is impossible to manufacture. Having it in my hands, I was thinking: “Maybe for others“.

The look – aeronautic and automotive in a common shape

It’s a bird! No, it’s a plane… Or maybe an automobile…

The Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’
I think James Dean would have loved this piece

The line between aeronautics and automotive is inexistent in this one. The Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’ can pass easily as a pilot’s watch and as a gentleman driver’s watch. The curves are sculpted into a design torn from the post-war beauties. Cars and planes were shaped voluptuously, sinuously.

The Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’
Voluptuous in shapes, asking to be touched to feel all it’s brushed and polished surfaces
The Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’
The balance’s cock shines in the light
The Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’
A view to the conical gears of the display
The Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’
Beauty and functionality in a complex but gorgeous case

The Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’

The Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’
From the Earth to the Moon (French: De la terre à la lune) is an 1865 novel by Jules Verne. This picture reminds me of the drawings that lightened my imagination as a child
The Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’
The “invisible” side of the watch is adorned with polished surfaces and a sapphire view of the movements’ gears.

 

 

The dial – it shows the time in the right position

The Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’  achieves the driver’s perfect reading position. But this watch is made to enjoy the time, not to read it. Oh yes, it displays the time. The dial is there, in the perfect position, but with this watch, one has to go in adventures, to be an explorer. I am afraid that the HM9 offers the chance of perfect spent time. That one, when you forget that the time is passing, ’cause you have to much fun to take care of reading the precise hour.

The Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’
Detail of the brushed surfaces of the dial and hands. That nose… Lovely! Isn’t it?

 

The Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’ on the wrist

The HM9’s design process was probably started around the wrist. The timepiece goes so natural around the wrist. No heavier points during the roll, no comfortless or troublesome positions. As a passionate driver, the time reading in the normal driving position is perfect. Trust me, it is one of the first things I have checked. I am one of those people that prefer to drive instead of flying or whatever (7,000km in my last vacation).

 

MB&F Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’
Objects of art at the M.A.D. Gallery: Antoine’s Dufilho Mercedes and the HM9

The wrist versatility can be tested on a lady’s wrist. My wife not only liked the watch, but she was positively surprised by the HM9’s wrist behaviour. The first reaction was to take her phone and to take a wrist shot. Asked about what she thinks, the answer was: “I will not wear it every day, but definitively I could have fun with it!

MB&F Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’ girl wrist shot

Like a heavy and avid collector, she immediately took the phone out for a wrist shot: ” This looks nice!, I need some pics for Instagram.“There are not too many watches out there that have a relatively large size and can be enjoyed easily by a lady. I am asking myself if Mr Büsser had in mind the HM9 also as a lady watch. If yes –  “Bravo”, if not – “Bravo, the design is good, that transcends any gender barrier”.

At the end of this article, I would like to show you another clip of the MB&F Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’. For the clip was used a Samsung Galaxy S9+ and includes a high speed 960 fps short video.

 

 

Conclusions

What can one only conclude after seeing this horological machine? – It’s impressive! Impressive in so many ways and on so many levels. The design is original and spectacular. The movement is beautifully executed and finished. Plus the technical solution of the central differential for an averaged reading is more than interesting.

Looking back to the older MB&F designs, the first thing that crosses my mind is “maturity”. Don’t get me wrong, all the other pieces are fantastic but the Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’ is a step further. Looking forward to seeing this HM9 dethroned by the next level timepieces. Will that be possible?

For more information please check the HM9 official page, the MB&F Website and the M.A.D. Gallery Webpage.

 

MB&F Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’ – Technical Specifications and price

Two launch editions of Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’ in grade-5 titanium, limited to 33 pieces each:
– Road edition with rose gold plated movement and speedometer-type dial;
– Air edition with darkened NAC movement and aviation-style dial.

Retail price is CHF 168,000 + VAT (USD 182,000 + tax).

ENGINE
Manual-winding in-house movement
Two fully independent balance wheels with planetary differential
Frequency: 2.5Hz (18,000bph)
Single barrel with 45-hour power reserve
301 components, 44 jewels
Hours and minutes on vertical dial display

CASE
Grade-5 titanium
Dimensions: 57mm × 47mm × 23mm
43 components
Water resistant to 3ATM (30m); assembled in three segments with patented three-dimensional gasket

SAPPHIRE CRYSTALS
Five sapphire crystals treated with an anti-reflective coating

STRAP AND BUCKLE
Hand-stitched brown calf-leather strap with custom-designed titanium folding buckle

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