When it was first launched in 2017, the MB&F HM7 Aquapod was quite a surprise… Imagine a jellyfish-inspired timepiece, with a diving bezel, a vertical movement with tourbillon, a decent water resistance and a design without a single angle, composed entirely of curves. Disruptive, provocative, unusual… A true talking piece. After the inaugural versions – red gold with black ceramic bezel and titanium with blue ceramic bezel – the HM7 is back in a titanium case with a green sapphire crystal bezel, limited to 50 pieces (giving us a good excuse to look back at this very special watch).
To give an honest (and personal) context, I was not especially enthusiastic when I first saw the MB&F HM7 Aquapod. This isn’t the first time that this happens to me with one of Max Büsser’s and Friends’ creations. I had the same feeling with the LM Perpetual, which at first I found too complex, too busy. Yet, I changed my mind after seeing it on several occasions. In fact, I can recall a conversation with Max, when he showed us (Frank and me) the HM7 at the SIHH 2017. I can remember him saying that, back then, he had just discovered the word “fugly” and that he was quite happy that his latest baby could provoke so many opposing opinions. He confessed to us that the day one of his creations would be unanimously recognised as good (just good, no more), it would mean that his creativity is dead. And with the HM7, I had such feelings. Until now.
This new MB&F HM7 Aquapod Ti Green (for titanium case/green bezel) is my second encounter with this unique piece – I can barely name it a watch… maybe a horological UFO. I had one year to digest the inaugural versions and to get used to it, to become familiar with it. And in all honesty, I’ve started to like this watch more and more, with all its faults, with its boldness, with its strong temper, its unique appearance. In fact, all I needed was to see the newest version that we’ll now explore in this article.
What is the HM7 Aquapod? It is a new door, which opens new horizons for the brand. Even if some of the original design cues of the brand are still present, new ones have been integrated. After several space-inspired watches (HM2, HM3 and HM6), after several car-inspired pieces (HM5, HMX and HM8) and even a plane-inspired creation (HM4), the MB&F HM7 Aquapod takes a plunge into the water with its more organic, less robotic inspiration.
The design has been created around the shape of a jellyfish – see the round central body and the strap, attached to the case like tentacles? Don’t imagine that all the elements so dear to MB&F are gone though. For instance, we still find radiating indications of the time and a vertically mounted movement placed underneath a massive glass bubble. Overall, this HM7 feels very MB&F without being a copy of past creations. It is a model in its own right.
The architecture of the movement is both complex and perfectly adapted to the inspiration and the shape of the watch. Just like a jellyfish has a ring of neurons as a brain, the HM7 displays the hours and minutes on peripheral rings. Just like a jellyfish, it has a symmetrical conception, with the regulating organ (a one-minute tourbillon) placed on top, right in the centre of the watch, exposed under a highly domed sapphire bubble. Finally, power is brought to the movement by a winding rotor, placed on the other side of this calibre, as a counterweight to the tourbillon on top. The “tentacles” of this rotor are crafted from solid titanium in a complex three-dimensional way.
This covers the central element – comprising the movement and the indication of the time. Yet, there’s a second structure on this watch: an external unidirectional rotating bezel. Unlike most other dive watches on the market, the MB&F HM7 Aquapod’s bezel isn’t attached to the case, but floats apart, as if it was unattached to the case. The case itself is massive – 53.8mm in diameter, 21.3mm in height – but feels surprisingly comfortable on the wrist, thanks to the way the strap is attached to the case. The strap is anchored underneath the case and doesn’t have protruding lugs. Don’t expect the HM7 to fly under the radar, but at least it will be pleasant on the wrist, and it will be able to withstand some plunges, with its 50m water-resistance.
For this third edition, the HM7 Aquapod Ti Green, the case is made of titanium and combined with a new bright green bezel. The inaugural editions featured a blue or black ceramic bezel, on which the numerals and markers were first engraved in the ceramic using a laser, after which the engraved sections were filled with metallised titanium. After the decision was made to use green for the third edition, the ceramic had to be replaced because it could not replicate the desired tone. Instead, it now features a sapphire crystal ring where numbers and markers are metallised under the sapphire crystal, along with a layer of green lacquer – meaning that the surface is now smooth.
The result of this new green bezel is a watch that feels lighter, more open, thanks to a brighter colour – I could see Pepsi or Coke editions too, as a tribute to certain other watches (or a mockery…) On the wrist, the Aquapod remains a fascinating, but far from restrained object. Of course, as the previous editions, it is a watch that has a second life at night, with all indications hand-painted with Super-LumiNova and the tourbillon with three panels of AGT Ultra (Ambient Glow Technology).
This new MB&F HM7 Aquapod Ti Green is, in my opinion, the best of the three variants thanks to the contrast offered by this new green bezel. In a wider perspective, I can understand that some of you won’t like or understand this horological creation. And as I mentioned earlier, this is a good thing. This green version will be limited to 50 pieces and priced at CHF 108,000 (before taxes) or EUR 100,000 (before taxes). More details on www.mbandf.com.