Just released by MB&F is one of the most novel and innovative watches seen in recent years with the new Horological Machine Nº11 Architect. Inspired by founder Maximilian Büsser’s love of experimental architecture from the 1960s, the HM11 reinterprets the watch case as a house albeit with the signature MB&F twist. Directly influenced by the Charles Haertling-designed Brenton House, the HM11 Architect is an unexpected release from a brand that was almost predictable to begin with.

The HM11 is built around a central tourbillon, which serves as the heart and foundation of the “house” surrounded by four parabolic “rooms” that can rotate in either direction. Each 45° rotation of the case moves one of the four dials or function plates (also called corridors) in a new direction with clockwise rotations also used to wind the watch. Each of these turns also winds the watch in 72 minutes with 10 windings giving a full power reserve of 96 hours. These four parts are made of curved polished titanium with sapphire crystal “windows” while the central tourbillon is placed under a curved sapphire crystal dome. Note the fan-shaped upper bridge inspired by a cathedral window.

The first room displays the time in hours and minutes via bar-mounted spheres that serve as hour markers and red-tipped arrows that serve as hour and minute hands. Moving 90° to the left accesses the power reserve display, which reflects the bar-mounted spheres and red-tipped arrow design language. The five balls increase in diameter with the final polished aluminum ball having a full winding time of 96 hours. Another 90° rotation shows a room with a truly unusual thermometer function. Without using any energy of motion, HM11 buyers have the option of setting the thermometer to either Celsius or Fahrenheit. Note this thermometer indicates the outside temperature, not the wearer’s temperature. Finally, another 90° rotation reveals the MB&F motif placed on the sapphire crystal. Pulling this button allows you to set the time on the HM11.

The light weight and compact proportions of the HM11 case are really quite impressive. The lower half of the case is made entirely of grade 5 titanium while the top covers are machined separately and can actually only be glued once the movement is in place. This is an ingenious method of case construction but also a time-consuming one to produce, and Büsser points out that it takes a week to complete each case.

The transparent crown is also an impressive achievement, measuring nearly 10mm in diameter. The fact that most pads are 2mm in diameter is a challenge here. Although it was absolutely impossible to use a much larger gasket, MB&F decided to use two sets of gaskets. One of these gaskets creates a seal to prevent dust from entering through the sapphire crystal window while another, smaller gasket sits near the center of the movement and creates a watertight seal. A total of 19 gaskets are used on the case of the HM11 ensuring water resistance to a depth of 20m.

This complex and multi-faceted watch measuring 42mm wide and 23mm thick is remarkable and an absolute pleasure to wear. The MB&F HM11 Architect comes in two variants, with plates and bridges made with either ozone blue or 5N yellow PVD coating in 25 pieces of each. While the blue color may be a bit more popular, the red gold version is also really impressive. One of the most impressive and creatively uninhibited watches I have seen in recent times, the MB&F HM11 Architect is priced at a very reasonable $230,000.

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