It is hard to believe but MB&F is presenting its tenth Horological Machine today… without counting the multiple of editions introduced for each model. 15 years ago a man named Max Büsser, surrounded by his friends, launched a brand that would become one of the most respected of the indie scene. For 15 years, he played with some of the boldest designs and most innovative displays. Like it or hate it, but MB&F’s watches can’t leave you cold. And the tenth Horological Machine, the MB&F HM10 Bulldog, is certainly not going to change that. Even though inspirations are slightly different today.
MB&F’s first creation, in 2005, was named the Horological Machine N°1 or HM1 and, as you can see in our retrospective line-up and video, it came with one impressive, space-like design that would become the base for the collection. Unusual design, visible regulators, contrast between round and angular shapes, clear science-fiction inspiration… All of this came from Max’s childhood dreams. Fifteen years later the brand has evolved drastically without betraying its roots. In the interim, MB&F launched a more traditional collection, the Legacy Machines, where steampunk inspirations abound alongside complex mechanisms. Those 15 years have also allowed the brand to define its iconic features: the bubble-like sapphires, the articulated lugs, the combination of materials, the domed “eye-like” time displays, the suspended and oversized balance wheels, the asymmetrical cases… All of them found throughout the collections.
The new MB&F HM10 Bulldog feels somewhat distant from the iconic features we associate with the brand, not only because the foundations for the inspiration aren’t a spaceship or a 1970s cartoon anymore, but also because this watch could be seen as the missing link between the HM and LM collection. “The design came to Max Büsser while he was travelling in Japan; Horological Machine N°10 Bulldog bounded up in his mind’s eye just as a loyal pup might greet a returning master.”
“What you see now in front of you is more or less exactly what I saw at the time,” says Max. Certainly, on paper, this is quite a departure from the brand’s usual codes. In the metal, the result feels deeply MB&F, yet with a few novelties. Just like previous machines, mostly the HM3 Frog and HM7 Aquapod, the HM10 is more organic, less technical than other HM watches. And with its large eyes, expressive mobile mouth and exposed heart, it will once again generate a wide range of reactions – something that MB&F has always wanted.
The MB&F HM10 Bulldog in details
The Bulldog – the dog, that is – is a medium-sized, muscular, hefty dog with an evocative wrinkled face and a relatively short profile. The watch is shaped in the same way. The case, a compact body of titanium or red gold, is relatively wearable – at least, regarding MB&F’s usual standards – measuring 45mm across, 54mm from nose to tail and with a maximum height of 24mm. It is combined with sprung strap attachment lugs under the case, allowing for a smaller feel when worn and a nice balance on the wrist.
The case is asymmetrical and designed to be seen by its wearer only. This means that the display is positioned right in front, protected by two highly domed sapphire crystals. Underneath are signature domed time displays, one for the hours, one for the minutes, which are a clear tribute to the HM3 Frog. These paper-thin aluminium eyes are topped by yet another classic element of MB&F watches, the floating oversized balance wheel held in place by an arched bridge, rounded and polished. Its presence is more surprising in this HM context, as it is usually the apanage of the LM collection. But knowing the more organic feel of this HM10 Bulldog, it makes sense here – and we won’t complain because it looks fabulous anyway.
The most surprising element of the HM10 certainly is its hinged jaw… Yes, jaws that open or shut. Depending on the level of remaining power reserve, these jaws will open or close. A fully closed mouth tells you that HM10 needs to be wound. When you see the rows of shining teeth lining the jaws, it is ready for action and wound. Regarding power reserve, HM10 boasts 45 hours, still rather long considering the eye-like display, the massive balance and this massive power reserve indicator (which has been designed and calibrated to consume the least energy possible). As often with MB&F, the watch features two crowns, one to wind the movement, one to adjust the time.
The MB&F HM10 Bulldog is presented in two, non-limited editions. The first is entirely made of grade 5 titanium and features grey decorative elements as well as blue domes for the time. This titanium model is worn on a textured blue leather strap (khaki is also available, as you can see in our live images) combined with a velcro attachment system. The second version is a combination of red gold for the external structure and titanium for the chassis. Here, the movement is darker and the “eyes” are black. Being slightly more luxurious, this version is worn on a brown calf leather strap with a gold and titanium folding buckle.
Creating such unique watches requires purpose-built mechanics, and this HM10 Bulldog is no exception to the rule of movements developed in-house by MB&F. This movement, just like the design of the watch, combines 15 years of experience and well-known technical solutions for the brand.
The main technical feature of the watch is the eye-catching suspended balance, which first appeared on the Legacy Machine No1 and found its way into most of the LM watches, as well as the HM9 – yet in a less obvious way. Underneath the central sapphire crystal dome is the oversized (14mm) flying balance wheel beating at the traditional cadence of 2.5Hz, the escapement being relegated to the movement’s mainplate, yet fully exposed between the time displays.
Turning the watch over, the hand-wound movement is decorated with classic MB&F codes, meaning dark-coated bridges and plates, bevelled angles, oversized ratchet and barrel drum rhodium-plated and gold-plated 5-spoke wheels. The entire movement is shaped according to the design of the case.
Price and availability
This new, bold and eye-catching MB&F HM10 Bulldog is another impressive piece… there is no doubt that the brand knows how to create emotionally driven watches. It is presented in two launch editions, in grade 5 titanium with blue eyes or in red gold and titanium with black eyes. Both are not limited in production. They will be available at retailers in the coming days.
The titanium HM10 Bulldog will be priced at CHF 98,000 (or USD 105,000) and the red gold HM10 Bulldog will be priced at CHF 112,000 (or USD 120,000). More details at www.mbandf.com.