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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.

The Horological Machine No 3 FROG from MB&F - Maximilian Büsser & Friends

The Horological Machine No 3 FROG from MB&F - Maximilian Büsser & FriendsSeeing a sneak peek of this prototype at Baselworld had my eyes pop out quite similarly to the Frog's bulbous displays. Originally based upon the HM3 Sidewinder & Starcruiser released last year, this alternative version features innovative domes for hours and minutes.

MB&F is the only "haute" brand I know that doesn't take themselves too seriously. They build fascinating machines blending humor and style. Sure it's an exclusive club to belong to but the inspiration is free.

The Horological Machine No 3 FROG from MB&F - Maximilian Büsser & Friends
MB&F will only craft 32 Frog movements this year: a limited edition of 12 pieces in black titanium (with green gold rotor) and 20 pieces of a non-limited titanium version (with blue gold rotor).

The Horological Machine No 3 FROG from MB&F - Maximilian Büsser & Friends
Haute horlogerie is (usually) a very restrained and serious business; however one of Maximilian Büsser main goals in creating MB&F was to bring a child's sense of awe and sense of playfulness into high-end watchmaking. There is no doubting that with the HM3 Frog, MB&F have certainly achieved that aim . . . and more! The protruding eyes of the (amphibian) frog enable it to see in many directions without having to turn its head. The bulbous domes of the HM3 Frog have the opposite, but no less important, feature of enabling the time to be easily seen from many angles without having to turn the wrist. The Frog differs substantially from HM3 in that it is the aluminum domes that rotate under the sapphire crystals in the Frog, whereas it is the hour and minute hands that rotate around their respective stationary cones on HM3.

The Horological Machine No 3 FROG from MB&F - Maximilian Büsser & FriendsRotating domes of this size and shape posed MB&F with a number of technical challenges. The hour and minute domes are machined from solid aluminium - chosen for its optimal strength to weight ratio. The domes weigh in at just over 0.5g. They are milled first from the outside and then the inside to arrive at a paper-thin wall thickness of just 0.28 mm, which reduces their energy requirements to an absolute minimum.

The Horological Machine No 3 FROG from MB&F - Maximilian Büsser & FriendsEven the fabrication of the semi-spherical sapphire crystal domes was incredibly demanding and only recently even possible at all. This is due to the fact that any slight imperfection in the sapphire might introduce a disconcerting magnification effect. The sapphire has to be shaped and polished to be perfectly uniform.

The Frog's unusual method of indicating time necessitated the development of a new gear train for the HM3 engine. This was because the aluminum hour dome of the Frog rotates in 12 hours compared to the 24 hour revolution of the HM3 hour hand. And as the oversized date wheel is driven from the hours, the gearing driving the date had to be reworked as well.

The Frog may portray the time in a playful manner, but there is nothing but serious and meticulous attention to detail and care regarding the fine hand-finishing of the high-tuned engine purring within its lightweight high-tech titanium case. A close inspection of the case is rewarded with carefully thought out detailing including a figure 8 engraved around the domes that mirrors the form of the display back(revealing dual ceramic bearings); distinctive clover-head white gold screws; and an engraved arrow discreetly indicating the easy to read over-sized date.

If the viewer's gaze manages to break away from the obiculate indications, it is likely to be arrested by the brightly-coloured 22K gold battle-axe winding rotor or the intricacies of the thoroughbred movement beneath.
The HM3 Frog is available in Grade 5 titanium with blued rotor or a limited edition of 12 featuring mark-resistant black-coated titanium with green rotor.

HM3 Frog – Technical Specifications
Horological Machine No3 Frog

Three-dimensional horological engine designed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht/Agenhor;
Girard-Perregaux oscillator and gear
Balance oscillating at 28,800 bph.
22K blued rose gold battle-axe shaped ‘mystery’ automatic winding rotor
Hour and minutes information transmitted via ceramic ball bearings to rotating domes.
Number of jewels: 36 (all functional)
Number of components: 304

Hour and day/night indicator on one dome (aluminium dome rotating in 12 hours)
Minutes on second dome (aluminium dome rotating in 60 minutes)
Date around the movement

Grade 5 titanium/blue 22K gold rotor; limited edition of 12 black titanium/green 22K gold (black treated with mark-resistant silicon oxide)
Screwed-down crown
Dimensions (exclusive of crown and lugs): 47mm x 50mm x 16mm
Number of case components: 53

Sapphire crystals:
Domes and both display backs with anti-reflective treatment on both faces.
Domes for indications: in aluminium, 0.58g

Rotating aluminium domes, stationary hands

Strap & Buckle:
Black hand-stitched alligator with 18K white gold & titanium custom designed deployment buckle

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CELSIUS X VI II MICRO-MECHANICAL REMONTAGE PAPILLON TOURBILLON MOBILE PHONE - APPROX $275,000 EACHIf you won't be in Switzerland next week for the Baselworld watch fair for the world's first public viewing, don't worry, The Watchismo Times has an exclusive sneak peek of this über-gadget, the CELSIUS X VI II micro-mechanical tourbillon cell phone!

Celsius is a French company founded in 2006 by four young entrepreneurs. In March 2010, after three years of research and development with icons like Richard Mille and controversial movement maker "Confrerie Horlogere Hublot" (formerly BNB Concept), Celsius X VI II are launching a range of high-end micromechanical phones featuring some exceptional patented mechanical complications.

The first creation, a cell phone merged with a tourbillion watch featuring a patented Remontage Papillon mechanism, heralds a new generation of objects with high emotional value. CELSIUS X VI II reinvents micro-mechanical applications to humanize the future of communication: pushing the boundaries of established watchmaking, each creation will be a significant step towards the dream of a completely mechanical mobile phone: a phone in which every function will operate mechanically, solely through human energy.

Celsius X VI II has developed its first papillon item as an accessory for the contemporary aesthete. The successive design sketches reveal a quest for perfect elegant - skilfully contoured lines, fine materials and subtle details - through a functionalist approach, beauty without excess. The quality of the manufacture hints at a fine watchmaking influence. The pieces of the case are of the best workmanship, and most of the roughly 547 mechanical components are hand-finished. The aesthetic design plays with transparency to reveal the magic of the technology, to an even greater extent than would be allowed by the butterfly design alone.

The fact nonetheless remains that, tucked away inside its hinge, the item conceals a patented system that is activated when the wings are unfolded. Based on complex micromechanics, this innovation has its name - "Remontage Papillon" (butterfly rewinding) - spelled out on the top wing. Its presence has much to do with making this creation a favorite among enlightened enthusiasts. This ultimate appeal is an asset that opens up new horizons, as Celsius X VI II begins to explore mechanical functions that will revolutionize the world of communications, things never before seen or heard that in the future will become a major sector of the prestige market.

Celsius X VI II is fundamentally an innovative brand that combines mobile telephony with prestige watchmaking in creating nomadic objets d'art.

A dream that embraces a concept that is still impossible today but may one day come true: an entirely mechanical cellphone!

It will be unveiled next week at Baselworld 2010, starting price will approximately €200,000 ($275,000)

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MB&F HOROLOGICAL MACHINE NUMBER 4 "THUNDERBOLT" Sneak Peek into the engine of the HM4

MB&F HOROLOGICAL MACHINE NUMBER 4 In July 2010 MB&F will unveil its most radical Machine to date: The HM4 - Horological Machine No4 - "Thunderbolt".

As this image of the Engine of "Thunderbolt" reveals, Horological Machine No4 will feature a calibre that is a complete departure from any watch movement known today.

Max just forwarded me these early images of the movement and mentioned:

"I think people will start finally understanding why we call our movements “engines”.

I wanted to present the Engine alone so that all attention can be given to this amazing piece of machinery/horology. The whole idea of MB&F being about creating “kinetic art which gives time”, this HM4 engine symbolizes pretty well our creative philosophy."

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MB&F HOROLOGICAL MACHINE NUMBER 4 MB&F (Maximilian Busser & Friends) was founded in 2005 by Maximilian Busser, former Managing Director of Harry Winston Rare Time Pieces and creator of the revolutionary Opus series. By harnessing the power of the Friends, dedicated collectives of the top independent artisans and watchmakers in Switzerland, MB&F creates contemporary time-telling mechanical sculptures. Each MB&F Horological Machine represents the best of the best in the world of watches. By giving full credit to the all star team creating each Machine, the pieces become a showpiece for the most cutting edge designs, the best finishing, the integration of new technologies, in all the highest quality possible.

Possible Star Wars inspiration?


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Helicoidal Timepieces of Philip Lütolf

Helicoidal Timepieces of Philip LütolfThe watch design has yet to be unveiled but Philip Lutolf, has just introduced a powerful new watch movement which uses helicoidal rather than spiral springs for power- thus generating unprecedented torque.

I just hope he'll push the technology to equally unprecidented design and functions. Time will tell...

Helicoidal Timepieces of Philip Lütolf
CAD preview of movement

Helicoidal Timepieces of Philip Lütolf
Lutolf recently wrote to Horomundi;

"I would like to tell you that with this movement we will have a new approach about horological mechanics. With the H-Power movement we talk now for the first time about “power”. The first question which crossed my mind, when I started to think about a new movement in horology was: “why does the watch industry never talk about power?” After some research about the history of movement mechanism, I find out that since 1475, all the movements were based on spiral spring. Why because this spring has a great advantage compared to the other springs: it has a relatively low constant torque. So this means that the spring is ideal to make tic-tac, but not so ideal to power complex mechanism. This is why I use a helicoïdal spring instead. The springs that I use in my prototypes deliver an impressive 10kg. So this watch is not about power reserve (even though it is over average), but about power. What is incredible when I go back through the innovation process of the last 3 years, is that when you are faced with raw power, you have to find logical (the turbo) and technical (Strongnium, bearing wheels) solutions to cope with the laws of physics. This is why this movement became so complex. You can also do an analogy with cars. To make a Ferrari the technical requirements (because of the consequences of the speed at 350 km/h) are far more advanced than a normal Fiat or Opel car. For the H-Power movement it’s the same. And like Pirelli said in it's famous advertising campaign: "whithout control, power is nothing". We are now in a process to finish our prototype phase. We hope to be through until the beginning of next year. This is why; you won’t see any dial or case yet (although the case and the dial is already finished). But if you want to be the first to see it when it is released you can subscribe to my newsletter on my website"

via Horomundi
Philip Lütolf Website

See Also;
All Inventor Related Posts
All Concept Watch Posts

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The Secret Life of Machines

A great episode of the late eighties BBC series "The Secret Life of Machines". This particular episode (featured in three parts below) focuses on the development and technology leading up to quartz watches but there is much much more in this show. Everything from sundials, water clocks, church clocks, mechanical pocket watches, the first wristwatches, vintage watch commercials, electric, tuning fork, solid state, LCD, LED, and the modern analog Quartz.

Part 1 --> Link (or click play above)

Part 2 --> Link (or click play above)

Part 3 --> Link (or click play above)

See Also;
All Watch & Clock History Posts-->Link

via WatchesCorner

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Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2

Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2An exciting evening out on the town for the reclusive Watchismo Times! I had the honor of meeting Maximilian Büsser and his new child, the Horological Machine No.2! And for some strange reason, Max trusted me enough to hold his bolted baby even though I almost dropped it into the Bolognese sauce...

Personally, I think he just pulled it out of an antique alien submarine control panel and put a strap on it.

Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2After decades learning and conforming to the rules of corporate watchmaking, Maximilian Büsser broke the chains and started a rebellion - a rebellion called MB&F.

MB&F is an artistic and micro-engineering concept laboratory in which changing collectives of independent horological professionals are assembled each year to design and craft radical Horological Machines.

The ramifications of these audacious projects are profound. By respecting tradition without being shackled by it, MB&F acts as a catalyst in fusing traditional high-quality watchmaking with cutting-edge technology and avant-garde three-dimensional kinetic sculpture.

MB&F's first timepiece, Horological Machine No.1, wrote the first chapter in the story of the revolution, Horological Machine No.2 continues the adventure.

Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2Each of HM2's twin portholes allows the viewer a different perspective of time. On the right, the Jumping Hours and Concentric Retrograde Minutes reveals time up close and 'now', while the Retrograde Date and Bi-Hemisphere Moon Phase on the left dial allows the viewer to take a step back from immediacy and relax.

Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2Horological Machine No.2 (HM2) is a holistically conceived and engineered three-dimensional timekeeping machine for the wrist. The functions and indications were specifically conceived to tailor to the strengths of HM2's chief watchmaker, Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. The bespoke architecture of the highly technical movement was developed to both fit and complement the radical form of the modular case. HM2 is the world's first mechanical movement offering: Instantaneous Jump Hour, Concentric Retrograde Minutes, Retrograde Date, Bi-Hemisphere Moon Phase and Automatic Winding.

With over 450 components making up its case and movement HM2 is an incredible sophisticated machine; however, its complexity has been engineered for simple and trouble free functionality.

The movement features an extremely energy efficient Jump Hour/Retrograde mechanism developed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. Wiederrecht's exclusive (and patented) asymmetrical-tooth gear wheels ensure high precision and play-free functionality.

The realisation of HM2’s complex case shape - with its architectural volume, bold flying buttresses, bolted portholes and sliding crown guard - was only made possible by using an innovative modular approach: a method inspired by the Meccano sets (similar to Erector sets) of Maximilian Büsser's childhood.

Horological Machine No.2 is full of dynamic tension between apparently incongruous elements. Tension between cutting-edge technology and sculptural art, matte textures and mirror-polishes, high-tech alloys and precious metals and tension between traditional watchmaking and 21st century micro-engineering. This vibrant tension is amplified by the interplay of light and colour off the varied finishes, textures and shapes, and gives the machine its pulsing vitality.

Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2
Inspiration and Realization: MB&F is first and foremost about people and the key person behind Horological Machine No.2 is Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. It was 9 years ago, in Maximilian Büsser's former position as Managing Director of Harry Winston Timepieces, that Büsser first began working with Wiederrecht and found him to be imaginative, inventive and sharing in the same human values. Wiederrecht and his company Agenhor are world leaders in Retrograde and Jumping Hour mechanisms and Büsser conceived HM2's functions specifically to play to these strengths.

The case, with its flying buttresses, bolted portholes and sliding crown guard, was so complex - over 100 components go into its construction alone - that it could only be developed with an innovative modular method inspired by the Meccano sets of Maximilian Büsser's childhood. And in line with best engineering principles, this modularity also simplifies future refurbishment of the case should it ever be necessary.

Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2Architecture: The principal feature of Horological Machine No.2 is the holistic symbiosis between the three dimensional architecture of both the case and the movement. The sheer complexity of the case design necessitated a modular approach to construction. More than 100 components go into the assembly of the case alone - that is more parts than make up many complete movements! While extremely complex to fabricate, this bolted-not-welded engineering allows maximum flexibility in design and enables a rich variety of materials and finishes to be used.

Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2Technical Innovations: The principle technical challenge in developing the movement was ensuring that the jumping hour functioned both instantaneously and simultaneously when the retrograde minute flies back from 60 to 0. And not only instantaneously, but also without using excessive energy. The usual method of activating Jumping Hour indications is to store energy in the minutes before the change to power the jump; however, while this energy is being accumulated it takes power from the balance causing it to loose amplitude - an effect detrimental to time-keeping precision. Wiederrecht's solution was as brilliant as it was simple: he designed a ingenious mechanism so that when the minutes fly back, a snail on the minute mechanism hits the hour star causing the hour to jump. The hour jumps instantaneously with the minutes because it is triggered by the minutes and, as the jump is powered by the energy of the minutes flying back, it has virtually no effect on the amplitude of the balance.

Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2The complication has another very special feature. Specific gears in HM2's movement are manufactured to extremely high precision using Mimotec's UV-LIGA technology. These gears mesh together with a virtually a no-tolerance/no-play engagement. Normally, gears interacting this tightly would bind; however, Wiederrecht's patented asymmetrical-split-tooth gear design ensures this does not occur. The high precision of this gearing enables very accurate time-setting and offers high reliability.

To maximise the efficiency of MB&F's already iconic double Hakken automatic rotor, one of the 22kt gold blades was machined down to a razor sharp edge of just 0.2mm - a dimension which pushed the very limits of micro-machining.

The innovative sliding crown guard clearly indicates its position (in or out) and facilitates access to time-setting and quick date correcting.

And now for some candid shots of the new brood. (photographed by and courtesy of Felipe Jordão, the independent horology moderator at - all his photos can be seen here-->Link

Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2The MB&F Clan (HM1 & HM2)

Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2
Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2
Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2
Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2What watch do I wear to such an event?
Well, my cuffbusting vintage Desotos

Haute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2Max, Watchismo, and the HM2

Priced at $59,000 (US) and in larger editions than the $150,000 HM1.

MB&F website-->LINK

All MB&F related posts-->LINK

Want more? Jack Forster's HM2 article for Horomundi-->LINK

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Timelapse Super Macro Film-->Link

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Ulysse Nardin 160 Close-up-->Link

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The Horological Machine No 3 FROG from MB&F - Maximilian Büsser & FriendsCELSIUS X VI II MICRO-MECHANICAL REMONTAGE PAPILLON TOURBILLON MOBILE PHONE - APPROX $275,000 EACHMB&F HOROLOGICAL MACHINE NUMBER 4 "THUNDERBOLT" Sneak Peek into the engine of the HM4Helicoidal Timepieces of Philip LütolfHaute Steampunk! Attack of the Horological Machine No.2

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