The MB&F Horological Machine N°9 Sapphire Vision

Exclusive Pics: A First Look At The MB&F Horological Machine N°9 Sapphire Vision

Also known as the HM9-SV, Watchonista recently got the chance to take fresh photos of this amazing timepiece from MB&F that mixes metal and sapphire crystal in a three-part construction. 

By Rhonda Riche

Every new edition from MB&F is enough to blow our minds, but could the most recent iteration of its Horological Machine, the Horological Machine N° 9 Sapphire Vision, or HM9-SV, be its most radical?

Today we are bringing you the freshest, most up-close-and-personal photographs of this sapphire-cased timepiece to let you explore and make your own decision. And as you will see from our hands-on photos, the Horological Machine N° 9 Sapphire Vision features the technological delights that make MB&F timepieces such fan favorites.

Exhibit Number One

In 2007, MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser presented the three-dimensional, four-barrel Horological Machine N°1. It was a wholly inspired and disruptive timepiece that even today seems like it stepped through a stargate from the future.

In 2018, Büsser was still breaking new ground when MB&F presented its ninth Horological Machine – dubbed the HM9 Flow. At the time, Büsser called its engine “the most beautiful movement we’ve created to date.” 

The outsides of the HM9 Flow were also pretty impressive. In tribute to the automotive and aeronautical designs of the 1940s and 1950s, the curvilinear case drew inspiration from the aerodynamic lines of Art Moderne design.

The combination of this streamlined aesthetic and groundbreaking caliber set an extremely high bar for future horological innovations. But three years later, Büsser and his team have again blasted ahead by encasing the HM9-SV engine in a see-through sapphire crystal shell.

Exhibit Number Two

The crystal material used for the case allows us to appreciate fully every aspect of MB&F’s watchmaking skill. But first, let us revel in the glory of the case construction.

The outer layer of the case is composed of curved and carved sapphire crystal and precious metal. This shell is composed of three parts, which fit together precisely, and then sealed with a patented three-dimensional gasket and a proprietary high-tech compound bonding process. 

While the HM9 Sapphire Vision shares many aerodynamic attributes with its Flow predecessors, the degree of difficulty involved when working with sapphire and precious metal required a few stylistic adjustments. Look closely, and you’ll see that the sharp angles and parabolic curves of the previous Flow versions have been softened.

This reworked silhouette was necessary because sapphire crystal, although very hard, can also fracture under pressure. We think you’ll agree that these changes only add to the supernatural aesthetic of the watch.

Exhibit Number Three

This complex case not only served as a window into the soul of the Sapphire Vision, but it also protects the watch’s fully independent cantilevered balances as they channel data into a differential that turns two heartbeats into one coherent time-pulse.

Concisely tuned conical gears efficiently move this energy and information through a 90-degree angle to feed the time display on the sapphire crystal dial.

On the reverse, beneath the balances, are two freely spinning turbines that provide extra visual interest. Here’s how MB&F describes the effect: “HM9-SV takes us to the depths of the ocean – the last realm on Earth that still holds a wealth of untold secrets. Before you is an exploratory vessel from Atlantis, powered by a divergent technology both familiar and strange to our eyes.”

Exhibit Number Four

Now let’s take a deeper dive into the HM9 engine. Like the Horological Machines N°4 and N°6, N°9 casts aside all conventional construction. As seen through the crystalline case, the three-dimensional assemblage of wheels, gears, plates, and bridges takes on the look of a living organism.

And while the traditional balance frequency of 2.5Hz (18,000vph) may seem a little underpowered for such a modern timepiece, the engineering compensates for the sensitivity to shocks associated with a lower beat rate. This compensation is achieved by having two balances instead of one because the two identically calibrated systems offer a better averaged reading than one.

To further reduce sensitivity to shocks, the HM9-SV features new helicoidal springs between the movement and the case. These shock absorbers are made from a tube of polished stainless steel and shaped using a laser. These helicoidal springs also offer improved elasticity and limited lateral displacement.

If you want to delve further by inspecting this watch in person, you’ll have to act fast. The HM9-SV comes in four editions, each limited to only five pieces.

Two editions feature an 18K red gold frame with a NAC-coated black or a PVD-coated blue engine. The other two editions have an 18K white gold frame with a PVD-coated purple or a red gold-plated engine.

The Horological Machine N° 9 Sapphire Vision editions will retail for $440,000.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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