Whenever MB&F releases a new timepiece, I sit up, watch, and listen. The brand, founded by Max Büsser, has created a wide array of timepieces that can be best described as true art. And not just art for the wrist, as most of you know. But that’s where it started, and that’s where I still find my biggest amazement for what the MB&F achieves every single time. With the releases of the Horological Machine N°9 “Sapphire Vision” editions, it’s no different. These two new versions of the HM9 Sapphire Vision are a follow-up to the earlier HM9-SV models from 2021. MB&F will produce two new variations of the HM9-SV, each limited to only five pieces. And the results are, once again, nothing short of stunning.

Back in 2018, MB&F introduced the first Horological Machine N°9 model, nicknamed HM9 “Flow.” The design of this watch was extraordinary. As with any of the brand’s Horological Machines, you must let go of any traditional design “rules” you may have regarding watches. Max Büsser and his team are not here to be limited by the usual design conventions you will find in the world of horology. As a result, the timepieces are best described as art for the wrist. If you want something a bit more conventional from the brand, you have to look at the Legacy Machines. But they will still be design objects that will challenge everything you know as a watch fan. And as a fan of design, I love that.

The design concept of the MB&F Horological Machine N°9

Büsser’s collaborative efforts, extraordinary designs, and marvelous technical solutions make it hard not to like anything the brand puts out. Sure, you can find a timepiece that suits your taste or doesn’t. But judging MB&F’s timepieces by traditional horological standards would feel useless. That’s what I meant when I say that I sit up, watch, and listen when MB&F releases another new timepiece. The brand has created my favorite versions of the HM9 that fantastically celebrate the unique design. The three-part case is made of sapphire crystal and precious metals. But for the most part, the case is crystal clear, making it possible to admire the brilliant HM9 engine that powers the watches.

MB&F HM9-SV yellow gold

The inspiration for the design of the Horological Machine N°9 model is rooted in the 1940s and ’50s. It’s the period in history when aerodynamic principles started playing a big role in product design. These principles would lead to extraordinary designs in the automotive and aviation industries. It’s those designs that also led to the creation of the HM4 Thunderbolt and HM6 Space Pirate. With the HM9, Büsser and his team created a design that is reminiscent of a jet engine from back then. Many of that era’s futuristic designs looked so different from anything people had seen up to that point. MB&F mentions the Mercedes-Benz W196 Streamliner, Buick Streamliner, and the de Havilland Venom as examples of that era that inspired the design of the Horological Machine N°9.

MB&F HM9-SV white gold

The idea behind the MB&F HM9-SV editions

As mentioned, the first HM9 models were introduced in 2018. But in 2021, MB&F presented the HM9-SV (or Sapphire Vision) editions. They featured a predominantly sapphire case to maximize the exposure of the stunning movement of the HM9. According to Max Büsser, it was “the most beautiful movement we’ve created to date” when it was released in 2021. When Robert-Jan wrote about the first series of HM9-SV models, he described them as “a spacecraft on a strap.” The pieces look wildly out of place on the wrist at first sight. It’s like seeing something out of Star Wars has landed on your arm. But that’s also what makes MB&F designs so intriguing and special. No matter how strange the creations might look at first glance, look again, and you will find the horological brilliance that will make sense of it all.

MB&F HM9-SV yellow gold

Let’s make it a bit more concrete with some specs. The case of the two new HM9-SV editions measures 57mm × 47mm × 23mm. Just like the previous Sapphire Vision editions, it is made of curvy sapphire crystal. Just by looking at it, you know that this 52-part case is something truly special. The sapphire crystal hull is sealed with a proprietary combination of patented three-dimensional rubber gasket and high-tech compound bonding. This special construction was mastered thanks to an in-house process involving a vacuum and high temperature that RJ described in more detail, so you can read it in his article linked above. Because of the complicated manufacturing process, MB&F can produce and finish only a few cases per year with the help of the brand’s partners.

MB&F HM9-SV yellow gold

The magic of the hand-winding movement

As mentioned, the sapphire crystal case was created to make the movement stand out. And what a thing of beauty it is! Just looking at the movement without even checking the time is fun. In case you didn’t notice, the first four pictures of this article didn’t even unveil the dial. That should tell you all you need to know. But for those who are curious, the vertically placed dial displays hours and minutes in an aviation-inspired design (see above). The fun thing is that, once on the wrist, the HM9-SV becomes a driver-style watch that lets you read the time with the dial always facing you on the inside of your arm.

The hand-winding movement is constructed with 301 separate parts, has 52 jewels, operates at 18,000vph, and has a 45-hour power reserve. If you look at the picture above, you will find that the dial is the end of the central part of the case. The left and right parts hold two fully independent cantilevered balance wheels under the domed sapphire. These balance wheels are individually impulsed and separated from each other to ensure they beat with independent cadences. They are connected thanks to a planetary differential, which converts the two separate heartbeats into one pulse. Conical gears transmit this pulse to the time display through a 90-degree angle. Under the balance wheels, you will find dual spherical propellers that add some visual fun to the watch.

Two new HM9-SV editions with green and blue movements

As you might have seen in the pictures, MB&F will release two new versions of the HM9-SV. The first comes with an 18K yellow gold frame with a green CVD-coated movement on a black leather strap. The second model has a white gold frame, a blue CVD-coated movement, and a brown leather strap. The retail price of the new HM9-SV editions, excluding taxes, is €440,000 / US$490,000. Both models will be produced in a limited quantity of five pieces each, which is in line with the previous editions.

Overall, these two new MB&F HM9-SV editions are stunning works of art. While they offer two new variations of a familiar design, it never gets old seeing MB&F’s Horological Machines. In particular, the HM9 design is a thing of beauty. Is it still a watch? While it technically is, it doesn’t necessarily look like one. But coming back to my intro, I see these special timepieces and watch in awe. They will also offer the 10 new owners an incredible piece of horological art that is far more than the classic definition of a watch or the price accompanying it.

For more information, visit the official MB&F website. And let us know in the comment section what your thoughts are on the new MB&F HM9-SV editions.