MB&F celebrates the tenth birthday party of its much-loved HM3 Frog with three new froglets housed in transparent sapphire crystal cases with blue, purple or turquoise rotors, case gaskets and lume. The date display of former Frogs has been ditched in favour of a larger rotor and weight-saving rotating aluminium domes are used to indicate the hours and minutes, features that are illuminated with colourful Super-LumiNova accents. With absolutely nothing to hide, the HM3 FrogX comes with a special secret signature on the crown revealed to the lucky few who manage to get their hands on one of these transparent amphibians before they leap out of sight.
The HM3 Frog was a spawn of the 2009 HM3, an iconoclastic timepiece that took watchmaking into an entirely unexplored dimension. With a 3D case inspired by the Proteus submarine from the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage, the HM3 astonished the watchmaking world with its two protruding cones for the hours and minutes and its exposed 22k gold battle-axe rotor. One year later, MB&F’s first mascot hopped into the limelight in the form of the HM3 Frog with the cones of its HM3 forebear converted into huge bulbous frog’s eyes. There was another piece based on the unusual configuration of the HM3, also released in 2010 and known as the JWLRYMACHINE. A high jewellery owl watch made in partnership with Boucheron, the distinctive cones were transformed into the wide eyes of an owl and set with diamonds and beautiful purple cabochon centres.
The first-generation Frogs appeared in gold, in zirconium, a metal used in nuclear reactors and spaceships, and even in a brown titanium Chocolate Frog version. Like the HM3, the HM3 Frog was fitted with a very special movement created by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht (Agenhor).
Glass frogs are tree frogs with translucent bellies and chests found in tropical Central and South American rain forests. Like the HM3 FrogX, glass frogs reveal their hearts, arteries and internal organs. The complex shape of the transparent sapphire crystal case of the FrogX is devilishly hard to machine and has to be milled with diamond-tipped tools.
The two sapphire domes (eyes) not only need to be uniform in size, they must also be exactly uniform and consistent in thickness and curve so as not to create any final optical distortions in the reading of the time. To emulate the characteristic black slit (pupils) of a frog’s eye, the hour and minute domes are surmounted by black markers.
Like glass frogs, the HM3 FrogX reveals its vital organs from countless angles. The view from the top exposes the bulging eyes and the hallmark battle-axe rotor crafted in 22k gold and titanium along with the oscillations of the balance wheel and the hand-crafted bridges. The rotor, following a suggestion from MB&F friend and collaborator Stepan Sarpaneva, is an enlarged version of the MegaWind rotor.
Built by award-winning master watchmaker Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, the movement is based on a Girard-Perregaux calibre, which has been literally turned upside down to allow for viewing pleasure. This inversion means that power has to be transmitted from the bottom of the movement to the time-indicating domes. Instead of standard pinions and gearing, HM3 relies on two large high-tech ceramic bearings. Their 15mm diameter minimises friction and they only require support at one end resulting in a thinner movement.
Another distinguishing feature of the new amphibians is found on the crown. Polished at a microscopic level, the member’s only secret signature – Spoiler Alert – is the battle-axe. To create the secret battle-axe, MB&F worked with light-sculpting techniques pioneered by Rayform, a Swiss company whose technology has various applications, from design to anti-counterfeiting measures.
By micro-forming a metal surface at levels nearly imperceptible to the human eye, Rayform technology is able to direct incident light beams to be reflected in customised ways, creating a light-encoded message or design that can be viewed on any relatively uniform surface.
Flashes of colour
The colour of the case gasket, in blue, purple or turquoise, is echoed again on the sharp titanium blade of the rotor using a CVD coating. Even the colour of the Super-LumiNova applied to the numerals on the time domes and under the battle-axe matches the colour scheme of each watch creating a groovy purple, blue or greenish-turquoise glow in the dark.
Availability and price
The HM3 FrogX is limited to 10 pieces in each colour and comes with a hand-stitched alligator strap with folding buckle. The retail price is CHF 138,000 (not incl. tax) or EUR 128,000 (not incl. tax). It is available as of today at retailers and online at the brand’s online boutique.
More information at MB&F.