How Legends are Born: MB&F HM8 Mark 2

MB&F HM8 Mark 2
Reading Time: 4 minutes

How are the legends born? When one knows the “legend” level was achieved? Some timepieces gain that status in years and years of presence or absence – depending on the case, but some are instant legends. This is the case with the new MB&F HM8 Mark 2 – a fine and worthy successor of the HM8, HMX and HM5. One must only remotely be interested in the automotive world to fall in the first second for this. And since this Mark 2 model is not just a small variant but a complete redesign, let’s have a look at what makes it so special.

From affordable to downward insane designs (and prices) with some examples as PanEurop, Seiko X Giugiaro, Monaco, Amvox, Mille Miglia, Daytona, Excalibur, MP-05 and Bugatti by Jacob&Co., the automotive-inspired and co-created wristwatches are here since the dawn of the automobile. The gentleman driver wanted a watch to time his bolide, the race or to have a watch that goes, hand in hand, with its pride and joy. Watches and cars go intertwined and related to new technologies, passion for performance and love for design. MB&F’s Founder Maximilian Büsser is one of those people obsessed with automotive design. A childhood dream was muted by the reality of the quotidian, and he had to keep his wish at the stage of “only a dream”.

The harsh reality is that many of us are forced to renounce childhood or adult dreams to attain the means to an end – the daily struggle. But some do not give up and fight to reach at least the next best thing.

I lost my way, I lost my marbles, and ended up in the watchmaking industry,” shares Max with a smile. “So, when I decided to tackle car design in a timepiece, this was humungous for me. It was everything I had ever dreamed of.

MB&F HM8 Mark 2

The chassis

It is clearly visible the sports automobile inspiration. While the MB&F HM8 features a monoblock construction, the Mark 2 is built from an independent titanium chassis to which the body panels of the watch are added. The “body” panels are manufactured from CarbonMacrolon® – a composite material created from a polymer matrix injected with carbon nanotubes, which add strength and rigidity.

MB&F’s CarbonMacrolon® is a solid material that weighs eight times less than steel; it is hard and can be coloured, polished, bead-blasted, lacquered, satin-finished… The independent’s decision to go for white and British racing green CarbonMacrolon® was enriched by a matt finish on the top and a high polish on the sides that fits exceptionally well with the automotive theme.

The case is covered by a complex-shaped sapphire crystal also inspired by vintage racing cars, although the old and modern Zagato or the Porsche 918 Spyder offers a much more familiar feel. Underneath, the coloured rotor weight is another source of beauty.

The setting and winding are realised by a brand-new type of crown. The inspiration also comes from the automotive world: a sort of “double de-clutch” system that works by pushing the crown in and turning it three-quarters of a turn to release it.

The time display

The inspiration came from  Amida Digitrend, a watch that was unveiled in 1976, just before the company went bankrupt. The time was indicated in a window that resembled an old-style speedometer on the front of the case that could also be easily viewed while driving, no less. Amida used discs next to each other and had the disadvantage of relatively small digits.

MB&F HM8 Mark 2

The MB&F HM8 Mark 2 maximises the numerals and the readability by using discs that are one on top of the other. The sapphire disks were coated with a black metallization, leaving the numerals clear. Super-LumiNova® was then added underneath the sapphire disc so that the luminescence would be completely flat, not bulbous as it appears when it is applied to the dial. The numerals had to be created back-to-front as they got reversed in the prism.

MB&F HM8 Mark 2

The time reading is rather simple: jumping hours on the left indicator and sweeping minutes on the right indicator using dual reflective sapphire crystal prisms with integrated magnifying lenses. The reading angle is somewhat limited but still offers much better legibility as a classic two-hands-watch – behind the wheel. Since this is a statement piece and not a chronograph, the seconds are completely left out.

MB&F HM8 Mark 2

Under the bonnet

MB&F HM8 Mark 2 uses a Girard-Perregaux base calibre (that also powered the Mark 1). The final form of the 247 components was realised in collaboration between GP and MB&F. The automatic movement features 42 hours of power reserve regulated by a classic 4Hz escapement.

MB&F HM8 Mark 2

The beautiful rotor weight, visible on the top, is manufactured from 22k red gold or green CVD and had to be stamped since it is only two-tenths of a millimetre thick. The decoration & engraving were incorporated into the stamp since the blades are too thin for any other process.

MB&F HM8 Mark 2

The decorations are as great as always. A nice touch is the backplate of the movement that was adorned with engraving similar to the view underneath a car – with longitudinal vents for cooling and aerodynamic stability.

  • MB&F HM8 Mark 2
  • MB&F HM8 Mark 2
  • MB&F HM8 Mark 2

Instant legend?

A big yes for me. I found the HM8 Mark 2 the pinnacle of the automotive design applied to a watch. The dare to go with unusual materials and extremely difficult processes is the usual and “obvious” choice by MB&F. “What if?” is a question that stays unanswered until Max and like-minded people decide to go for it.

  • MB&F HM8 Mark 2
  • MB&F HM8 Mark 2
  • MB&F HM8 Mark 2

I am convinced that Max would have been an excellent car designer, and sad he had to give up this dream but as with any light at the end of the tunnel, I am glad that the “unluck” was turned into a fabulous watch. The watch industry has exceptionally good watch designers, but for this kind of piece, the number of actors is limited. Fortunately, a crashed childhood dream was shaped into a grail for all of us to dream to…

MB&F HM8 Mark 2 Technical Specifications

  • in titanium and green CarbonMacrolon® body panel limited to 33 pieces;
  • in titanium and white CarbonMacrolon® body panel.


  • Three-dimensional horological engine, composed of a jumping hour and trailing minutes module developed in-house by MB&F, powered by a Girard-Perregaux base movement.
  • Mechanical movement, automatic winding
  • 22K gold automatic winding rotor
  • Power reserve: 42 hours
  • Balance frequency: 28,800bph/4Hz.
  • Number of components: 247 components
  • Number of jewels: 30 jewels


  • Bi-directional jumping hours and trailing minutes, displayed by dual reflective sapphire crystal prisms with integrated magnifying lens.


  • Grade 5 titanium with green or white CarbonMacrolon®
  • Dimensions: 47 x 41.5 x 19 mm
  • Number of components: 42
  • Water resistance: 30m / 90’ / 3atm

Sapphire crystals

  • Sapphire crystals on top, front and display back treated with anti-reflective coating on both faces.
  • Dual reflective sapphire crystal prisms with integrated magnifying lens.

Strap & Buckle

  • Calfskin strap – white for the British green model and green for the white model with a titanium tang buckle.

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