MB&F's Maximilian Büsser is a fan of the 1970s for many reasons, not least because in terms of design it was an era that saw a Jetson-style future with predictions of space tourism, streamlined hover cars and jet packs for all. As Büsser puts it: "Imagine telling somebody in 1972 that in 2012, most people would be wearing watches with round dials and three hands. That would sound crazier and more far-fetched than the idea of living on Mars!"
But despite some mind-blowing innovations, like mobile phones and the internet, over the ensuing four decades, the robotic revolution still hasn't happened and in design terms, at least, there has been nothing that new - the fashionistas preferring a return to the aesthetics of ages past.
Forty years ago in watchmaking, quartz was the latest greatest thing, offering unprecedented accuracy, reliability and, eventually, affordability as well as the new slimline movements that liberated case design. But a few visionaries were determined not to let mechanical-powered watches disappear and in 1972 the Amida Digitrend was launched featuring a fashionforward case and vertical digital display. The piece was, however, powered by a mechanical movement. An icon today, the Eric Giroud designed HM5 'On the Road Again' pays tribute to the Digitrend and its makers, as well as tipping a nod to the low-slung supercars of the 1970s.
Louvres on the case - a direct reference to those of the era's supercars, whose purpose was to stop sunlight entering the rear window - are controlled by a slide and allow light in to power the Super- LumiNova numbers on the hours and minutes indication discs, which lie flat on the movement, not vertically at the front of the case where the digits appear. This smoke and mirrors trick is achieved through the use of a sapphire crystal reflective prism that bends light from the discs 90°, displaying a reflection of the bi-directional jumping hours onto the lozenge-shaped dial as well as magnifying them by 20 per cent.
Two 'exhausts' on the case both pay homage to the supercars dual exhausts and allow HM5 to drain water in case it gets wet (it is the movement rather than the case that is waterproof here), while the crown takes the form of a jet.
The new 224-component HM5 movement has been developed by 'friends' Jean-François Mojon, Vincent Boucard and their team at Chronode and incorporates a Sowind gear train, 42-hour power reserve and a gold battle-axe shaped 'mystery' winding rotor, visible through the sapphire crystal back. The HM5 is available in a limited edition of 66 pieces in zirconium.
Further information: www.mbandf.com