Haute Horlogerie brands like MB&F to me are a bit like reading about the most beautiful supercars in a car magazine. You love them. You admire them. Maybe you even dream about owning one. But despite all that, chances are very small you’ll actually end up with one on your wrist. But MB&F makes us dream…

I write about watches that are — at least — somewhat accessible, but sometimes I also have to force myself to stop and look at this other horological world out there. MB&F is the first manufacture that comes to mind when I think of watches that are out of this world. I hold these watches, which have such a strong connection with the brand’s founder, Max Büsser, in special esteem. Creating and developing watches that reflect its founder, his thought, dreams, or childhood memories, is something you will (almost) only find with these small independent brands. Often, no concessions are made — like with big brands that are captured by their heritage, how beautiful that heritage might be — and the HM9-SV or Horological Machine No9 ‘Sapphire Vision’ is a perfect example of that.



Based on the HM9 that MB&F introduced in 2018, the HM9-SV is — according to MB&F — the next logical thing to do. I mean, why not put that beautiful movement into a sapphire case? The MB&F HM9-SV still looks like it is something from the future, even though the initial idea was to show elements of 1940s and 1950s car designs. It looks like a spacecraft on a strap to me, and now with a mechanical engine visible through the complex sapphire crystals. The case alone consists of 52 parts and measures 57mm × 47mm × 23mm.


These sapphire crystals are made of corundum, one of the hardest minerals out there. It means that the sapphire hull is virtually scratch-proof, and offers amazing legibility and durability.  It takes about 350 hours to prepare the crystals for one HM9-SV piece. This preparation consists of careful machining and polishing. Luckily, MB&F acquired a lot of knowledge about working with sapphires since 2005, otherwise, it would have even taken more time to develop and manufacture these hulls. In total, the MB&F HM9-SV has five sapphire crystals with AR-coating. Three crystals for the main components of the case, one for the dial and one for covering the dial.


Twin Turbines

In the picture above, you will see the watch from the rear. The dial is — of course — visible through the other end of the HM9-SV. Like a “driver’s watch”, really. Put it on the wrist, and you can always read the time when driving your car. Anyway, on top of the watch, you can see the two fully independent cantilevered balances on the left and right sides. They are sitting under a domed sapphire crystal. These balances communicate with a differential and convert two separate heart-beats in one pulse. This pulse is then transmitted to conical gears, that feed the display through a 90-degree angle. On the other side, there are propellers — twin turbines that spin freely, for some visual entertainment. You can see this is action in the image below.

The MB&F HM9-SV has a frequency of 2.5Hz (18,000vph), a beat rate you often find in vintage movements. These slow(er) ticking movements are more sensitive to shocks, but MB&F compensated for this by having two balances instead of one. Helicoidal springs have been placed between the movement and its case, to further reduce influences from outside (shocks). In total, there are 301 components in this movement, including 52 jewels. This manual winding movement offers 45 hours of power reserve, using one barrel.

Four MB&F HM9-SV Variations

In total, there will be four versions of the new HM9-SV, and only 5 pieces of each! We are talking seriously limited here. There will be two editions in red gold, with a NAC-coated black or PVD-coated blue movement. Then, there will be two in white gold, with a PVD-coated purple or red gold-plated movement (or engine, as MB&F likes to refer to its movements). All versions come on a hand-stitched brown or black alligator strap. The gold folding buckle will match the color of the case (frame), of course. Chances are small, but I can’t wait to see one in the flesh at some point.

The retail price for any of these versions of the MB&F HM9-SV is the same, CHF 390,000/$440,000/€362,000+VAT. More information can be found on the MB&F website, here.