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Watchismo Times

THE WATCHISMO TIMES WATCH BLOG A reliquary of obscure timepieces from bygone eras as well as the cutting-edge watch designs of today.

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MB&F : Maximilian Busser & Friends Horological Machine No.1


Even if the new company Max Büsser & Friends were a dangerous cult, I might likely find myself selling flowers and handing out booklets in the airport for them. In fact, I'm not even sure you can call it a company anyway, it's really more of a commune for wayward horological geniuses.

This, the first watch of the new brand, the 'HM1' or more specifically, Horological Machine #1' has popped the cherry of the traditional flat hands-on-dial timepiece by creating a multi-layered three-dimensional time machine. Timing has been deconstructed by separating the hours from minutes into two overlapping dials, much like a splitting egg. But Max's 'Friends' are close to splitting atoms with the level of technical intricacy. The dials feature transverse mounted floating sapphire subdials connected by a raised central flying central tourbillon and four massive mainspring barrels fueling a seven-day power reserve. The two beryllium gear trains run in parallel to reduce torque of each mainspring, improving synchronization between them. The entire watch caliber is built from scratch.

Only thirty HM1 will be built per year, limited to a total of 100 models ever made and prices exceeding $100,000 USD. According to Max himself, upcoming Horological Machines will pass the baton further with each lap. The next Machine is slated for an October release and be sure to check here for any advance looks!

Max Büsser, the man I believe is responsible for leading this new age of independent watchmaking - mostly due to his previous time-bending series of Opus watches for Harry Winston Rare Timepieces. Like Malcolm Mclaren, Max assembled the Sex Pistols of the watch world by matching some of the most unique talent to create timepieces unlike anything ever seen before. Pairing genius minds like F.P. Journe, Vianney Halter, Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei who all inconceivably blend design and micro-engineering to radical works of horological art. The HM1 was conceptualized by Büsser, designed by Eric Giroud, a former architect, and built by movement engineers Laurent Besse and Peter Speake-Marin. The known and unknown talent will be assembled and rotated from machine to machine where everyone involved is given credit for their hand (or wrist) in the project.

Much like a rock star leaving a successful band in pursuit of a solo career, Büsser left the Opus project at it's peak to begin MBandF, the first cultish independent collective where he is the charismatic spiritual leader.

Front-view (via Revolution)
Sideview of raised sapphire subdial next to central tourbillon



The HM1 rotor - Inspired by the battle-axe of the Mecha character 'Goldorak UFO Grendizer', from the 1975 Japanese Manga Max loved as a kid.

Exploded view of the movement

Loiste II Watch by Sarpaneva - Kickstarting The Time


"
The idea was to make something simple and a bit brutal, but beautiful…like life in Finland.”
-Stepan Sarpaneva

Originally inspired by a Harley Davidson kickstart pinion, Sarpaneva's Loiste II made from Stavax ESR steel is actually a cog itself. The first variation was built as a pocket watch, followed by the Loiste and now the Loiste II. Customizing fascinating functions like the foreboding looking double black moonphase complication, it measures both northern and southern hemispheres and Stepan further explained that the owner can also use the display for representing the physical moon on top (12 0'clock) or by its shadow on the bottom (6 o'clock). The other ingenious feature is his own 'Turbini' winding mass, a turbine style rotor that spins with guillotine efficiency while revealing the movement. The metallic icing of this ticking cake is the intricately machined three-dimensional dial in brass or aluminum. Overall, very interesting and dangerous looking elements to this watch.

Before launching his own brand, Stepan's talents were perfected at Piaget, Parmigiani, Christophe Claret, and Vianney Halter.

Sarpaneva's Custom 'Turbini' Rotor
  • 25 jewel ETA 2824-A2 calibre 11 1/2 lines modified by SW, Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Phases of the moon. 28 800 vibrations per hour (4hz) 42-hour power reserve.
Stepan's original inspiration - a Harley Davidson kickstart pinion


Double Black Moons
Sideview

Last but not least, see my previous feature of Sarpaneva's watch for sixties design icon, Eero Aarnio-->Link

First Bite of the Hammerhead - Urwerk 201 Watch Release


Urwerk's 200 collection has just been unveiled! Stealthily solid and exposed like Wonder Woman's invisible jet, the 'Hammerhead 201' is a feat of micro-mechanics my mind is having trouble processing. Announcing shocking new features like the telescopic minute hands that extend and retract from the now iconic 'Urwerkian' hour display of three orbiting and rotating cubical hour satellites. Really difficult to grasp the complexity and beauty unless you can see it function live. If they ever make a video or animation available, I'll be sure to post it here.

Basically, time is displayed by the three-hour cubes with four numbers printed on each. They spin normally and are tripped to rotate as they line up with the 'erection' of the minute hand that grows from the bottom cube pointing to the corresponding minutes that arc at the bottom of the dial. As mentioned in a previous entry, the Hammerhead 201 is a blend of the Urwerk 103 Series and the Opus V project.

Other features include power reserve meter, day/night indicator, and a special highlight is the Control Board on the back which includes an oil change indicator notifying when servicing is needed (three years of usage), fine-tuning screw, and the worlds first 100 Year Plus indicator, an odometer keeping track of the total time of usage.

Again, another watch I'd love make out with.


Control Board



Orbiting Hour Satellites & Telescopic Minute Hands


Astronomic Watches by Christiaan van der Klaauw


Literally out of this world, the classic-cased timepieces by Dutch watchmaker Christian van der Klauuw are astronomically complicated. Inconceivably measuring everything from the position of the planets, the constellations, worldwide sunrises, sunsets, solar and lunar eclipses. Each model is handmade by Christiaan himself resulting in a very limited edition of each. Originally an astronomical clockmaker, the watches were developed after he miniaturized his own highly complicated movements.


Self-lauded as the smallest planetarium in the world, the obviously named 'Planetarium' features a heliocentric revolution of the planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn). 


His most recent invention introduced at the 2006 Basel World, the 'Venus' features a very animated dial with separately rotating Earth & Moon and Venus orbiting the Sun amidst the Constellations.


Frighteningly complex, the 'Astrolibium' measures celestial bodies and constellations. 

Astrolibium Guide


A variation of the Astrolibium, the 'Mondial CK1' is customized to where you are located on the globe and features a sunrise/sunset gauge for the rest of the planet. 



One of Christiaan van der Klaauw's original Astronomical Clocks which ultimately led to his miniaturized mechanical universe.

Lurking In the Water - Urwerk's Hammerhead


Soon to be unveiled, Urwerk's latest 201 series, a variation and marriage of sorts of their Harry Winston Opus V and the Urwerk 103 collection. The love child will be named "Hammerhead." Entirely unique with new complications, Hammerhead will also have characteristics and features leaving no mistake who his parents are.


Blockwork Clockworks

Two modern LED block clocks. The Jonas Damon independent cube LED alarm clock. You can stack, align, or zig-zag them however you want.

The Kouji Iwasaki designed wood block clock. The LED digits shine through a thin veneer of wood bright enough to be seen. 


And if those aren't big enough for you, or you're legally blind, check out the 12 foot long self-setting GPS LED wall clock built by Spark Fun Electronics

The 'Only One' Watch by Richard Mille & Philippe Starck

Limited to an edition of one watch, this monstrous collaboration by Richard Mille and Philippe Starck has created exclusively for the 2005 'Only One' charity event in Monaco. Despite its catchy name, "Automatic Unique Model 1 of 1".


Features; 53mm 18k white gold case, spline screws for hour markers, automatic winding, manual rewinding, top & bottom sapphire crystals and transparent date wheel.

Shutter Watches - Vacheron & Constantin's "Montre à Volets"


With my recent blog about automobile grille watches, I found it aesthetically appropriate to follow with the 1930 Vacheron & Constantin "Montre à Volets" shutter watches. Designed by Verger Frères, they feature concealed dials under hinged panels in 18k Art Deco cases. 






“Jalousie", is the re-introduction of the shutter watch by Vacheron & Constantin in the 90's. A cabochon sapphire is used for the switch to open the shutters revealing the dial.



Vintage Plastic Explosives - Early Polymer Watchmaking

Delrin, Polyamide, Polyacette, Hostaform, Polystyrol, Lucite, Acrylic, Perspex and Bakelite were all part of a new medium of 1960's & 70's plastic watchmaking (the first all plastic watch-->link). With flexible materials came flexible designs and like animated characters in a cartoon, the creators were able to push limits of the physical world.

Some vintage polymer highlights...


70's Buler Volcano

Tekron Cube

70's Mount Royal Curvex

1960's Bullseye

60's Lucerne Cuffbuster

And just to point out, these are all mechanical (manual wind-up and automatic) watches. The Swatch revolution was still 10-15 years away.
MB&F : Maximilian Busser & Friends Horological Machine No.1Loiste II Watch by Sarpaneva - Kickstarting The TimeA CLOCKWORK ORANGE First Bite of the Hammerhead - Urwerk 201 Watch ReleaseAstronomic Watches by Christiaan van der KlaauwLurking In the Water - Urwerk's HammerheadBlockwork ClockworksThe 'Only One' Watch by Richard Mille & Philippe StarckShutter Watches - Vacheron & Constantin's "Montre à Volets"Vintage Plastic Explosives - Early Polymer Watchmaking

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