Following the trail blazed by the HM10 Bulldog, the HM11 Architect is a testament to MB&F’s creative prowess, marked by its architectural case design, central flying tourbillon, and its unique approach to time display.
At the heart of this horological marvel lies the central flying tourbillon, a first for MB&F in its 40-year history. This intricate mechanism is not merely a functional component but stands as the centerpiece of the watch’s aesthetic. The tourbillon is encircled by four symmetrical arms, each serving a distinct function, from time display to power reserve indication.
The HM11 Architect’s case, with a diameter of 42mm, is a bold statement in itself. Despite its comparatively modest size, it commands attention, making it a suitable piece for various wrist sizes. MB&F offers two variants of the HM11 Architect: one in an “ozone blue” shade and the other in a “red gold” tone. Each version, limited to 25 pieces, showcases the brand’s attention to detail and dedication to creating unique, eye-catching designs.
A standout feature of the HM11 is its innovative approach to displaying time and other functions. Eschewing traditional dial layouts, the HM11 Architect presents time in a vertical format, reminiscent of the innovative display introduced in the HM4 in 2010. This verticality extends to the power reserve indicator, nestled within one of the peripheral ‘rooms’ of the watch’s unique architectural case.
Adding to the watch’s allure is a special thermometer, based on an old-school bimetallic strip, a nostalgic yet functional element that complements the watch’s overall design. This mechanical thermometer measures temperatures across a broad range, adding an additional layer of intrigue to the HM11 Architect’s face.
Unconventionally, the HM11 Architect is wound not by a crown but through the rotation of the entire case. This unique mechanism requires 10 full rotations to fully wind the central barrel, offering a substantial power reserve of 96 hours. This design not only enhances user interaction but also lends practicality, as rotating the larger case is easier than turning a traditional crown.
MB&F’s HM11 Architect blurs the boundaries between different forms of design and engineering. Inspired by the famous quote from Swiss architect Le Corbusier, “une maison est une machine à habiter” (a house is a machine to live in), the HM11 merges the concept of architectural space with the precision of horological craftsmanship. This fusion results in a timepiece that transcends traditional watchmaking, creating a wearable piece of art.
The HM11’s case is a masterful blend of titanium and sapphire crystal, materials known for their difficulty to machine, which speaks to the advanced technical capabilities at MB&F. The case is a complex three-dimensional structure, requiring nearly a week to complete, including milling, finishing, and quality control processes.
The sapphire components of the HM11 Architect continue MB&F’s tradition of pioneering the use of shaped sapphire crystal in watchmaking. The case features six externally facing sapphire crystal components, the largest of which forms the double-arched roof, reminiscent of dome skylights found in 1970s residential architecture.
A unique aspect of the HM11 is its see-through crown, a large sapphire crystal piece, presenting both aesthetic and technical challenges. Its innovative design, incorporating multiple gaskets, ensures the integrity of the movement, providing water resistance up to 20 meters.