Despite being completely unpronounceable, this watch is just plain outright cool. The brainchild of Max Büsser (MB&F) and Felix Baumgartner (URWERK), it is the first watch to use an eccentric planetary transmission system for the timekeeping mechanism – i.e. the same geometry as the Wankel engine.

CH3H5N309 Experiment

Curiously, there’s only one ratio of inner to outer satellite that actually permits the three distinct chambers to be formed; any other ratio doesn’t seal at all. The minutes are read off the red tips of the upper ‘rotor’, with the hours on the level below. There is no seconds indication, but there is a power reserve indicator on the back of the watch. All of the indications are luminous, including the red tips – but the red is overlaid on top of the super luminova, so it isn’t quite as legible. (But with a watch like this, who really cares about the actual time anyway? 🙂

Nitro MB&F and Urwerk

The case is made of Zirconium; it’s light, warm to the touch and vaguely reminiscent of Titanium, but not quite as yellow color-wise. The crown screws down, and the watch is hand wound – I wonder if this might get a little tedious after a while. Despite the enormous size, the lower lugs are articulated and the watch wears very comfortably, even on small wrists. (The wrist shot is of a gentleman with about 6.75″ or so; I’ve got slightly smaller wrists and it sat well on me, too.)

C3H5N309 MB&F and Urwerk

The watch is a limited edition of 12 pieces, but the first in a line of ‘experiments’ – a collaboration between Max Büsser and Felix Baumgartner to produce pieces that wouldn’t necessarily fit into either of their own brands. Admittedly, the first one does feel a lot like the offspring of MB&F and Urwerk. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next!

MB&F and Urwerk Nitro

I believe these are the first photos outside the official press release, and I was told that the watch is a working production prototype – which means non-final parts and finishing, and some potential tool marks in places as befits an engineering experiment…MT

Many thanks to Ian Skellern at C3H5N3O9.

This series shot (hastily) with a Nikon D800E and AFS 60/2.8 G Micro. It wasn’t a commercial shoot, so please excuse me if I missed a spot or two. All images can be clicked on for larger versions.

C3H5N309 MB&F and Urwerk

C3H5N309 MB&F and Urwerk

MB&F and Urwerk Nitro

MB&F and Urwerk Nitro

C3H5N309 MB&F and Urwerk

MB&F and Urwerk Nitro

MB&F and Urwerk Nitro

MB&F and Urwerk Nitro

And finally, a wrist shot:
MB&F and Urwerk Nitro

More information about this timepiece:


  • beautiful machine, but not really for the wrist. The last picture is a disappointing one, the others are stunning. 

    •  Thanks for your comments. Why is the last one disappointing for you?

      • smcinerney

        Because the proportion and scale are ridiculous regardless of any mechanical virtuosity.

      • It’s disappointing (to a degree), because it looks “clunky” on this man’s wrist, and it’s not like he has tiny wrists either. Many watches out there actually look better and cooler on the wrist than this one, I think, except that this watch is gorgeous as a stand-alone. To marvel at at home. But that’s me. Of course, if the makers decided to let me try this watch for a week, I am sure I’d do a 180… :o) 

        (I am truly grateful for people realizing unique dreams like this, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes watch design and a good sense of style do not go together; consider, for example, the latest De Bethune watch based on maya designs; OMG… so chintzy and horrible, and yet De Bethune makes some of the most gorgeous pieces out there; if they decided to let me wear that Maya watch for a week, I don’t see myself changing my mind…).  

  • Jesse Trahan

    Seems to me they attempted to make it look much more complicated than it actually is. Aesthetically beautiful, though. 

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