The Canadian-American Challenge Cup, Can-Am for short, was a sports car racing series running from 1966 to 1987. Bruce McLaren developed his very first car for the Can-Am series; McLaren, Lola, Chaparral, BRM, Shadow and Porsche all ran manufacture teams. Class restrictions in the Can-Am were minimal and allowed for unlimited engine sizes, turbocharging, supercharging, and basically unrestricted aerodynamics. This all led to the development of pioneering technology in many fields. And extremely powerful engines.
Over the last decade, two indelible forms have often marked MB&F’s Horological Machines: the distinctive angular form and optical prism displays of the revisited 1970s Amida watch, which first manifested in HM5 and then HMX; and the now signature “battle-axe” winding rotor, which took centre stage on top of HM3, MB&F’s most popular model to date.
Horological Machine N°8 (HM8) takes those two idiosyncratic features and infuses them with high-octane Can-Am race car-inspired design generating an exquisitely sculptured, high-speed wrist-borne fantasy. HM8 rises from the turbo-charged ashes of the Can-Am, a discontinued “anything goes” car racing series that would have celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016.
The case is available in 18kt white or red gold with titanium, measures 49mm x 51.5mm x 19mm. It is comprised of 60 components and is water resistant to 30 meters. All sapphire crystals front, back, top, bottom are treated with anti-reflective coating on both sides.
The movement is a Swiss automatic three-dimensional “engine” conceived and developed by MB&F from a Girard-Perregaux base caliber with 30 jewels, 28,800 vph and a power reserve of 42 hours. Automatic battle-axe winding rotor in 22kt gold. Functions/indications: Bi-directional jumping hours and trailing minutes displayed by two optical prisms that both reflect and magnify.
The bi-directional jumping hour and trailing minute displays on HM8 are materialised by overlapping discs (one for the hours, one for the minutes), completely covered in Super-LumiNova. The effect of large numerals is created by masking all of the lume except for the numbers.
The discs rotate horizontally on top of the movement; they are visible in the corners of the transparent Engine cover. Yet the time indications are displayed vertically in a ‘dashboard’ at the front of the case. To achieve this, MB&F worked with a high-precision optical glass supplier to develop reflective sapphire crystal prisms that reflect light from the discs 90°. The prisms also magnify the indications by 20% to maximise legibility.
The HM8 has separate sapphire crystal prisms for the hour and minute displays, which are wedge-shaped with precisely calculated angles to ensure that light is reflected (and reversed) from the horizontal indications to the vertical rather than refracted (bent). A convex lens at the front provides the magnification. Sapphire crystal is much more difficult to work to optical precision than glass, and it took considerable development and meticulous care in production to create crystals that reflected and magnified light without the slightest distortion. Because the time is reflected, the numbers are printed on the discs as mirror images so that they display correctly on the “dial”.
It’s fitted on a a marine blue or dark brown hand-stitched alligator leather strap with an 18kt white or red gold folding clasp.
I am generally NOT a fan of uber futurstic timepieces. However do have a lot of respect for MB&F founder, Max Busser who took his passion for automative design and applied it to horology. His original, innovative and complicated machines are works of art that are completely identifiable.