The HM5 CarbonMacrolon by MB&F : on the road again

MB&F has rarely taken the sensible route. Once again, MB&F hit hard with its last creation: the HM5 CarbonMacrolon. It took a full 18 months but MB&F unveiled the HM5 CarbonMacrolon in a brand-new material: a dense black polycarbonate resin reinforced with carbon nanotubes.

The new black

Black. As a colour, or to be more accurate, an absence of colour, there’s nothing quite like it. Other colours go in and out of fashion, but black is always in. So adding a coat of black paint, a.k.a. PVD, to the case of the super-car-inspired HM5 would appear to be the sensible thing to do.

While Horological Machine No.5’s striking, angular case architecture faithfully echoes the form of the streamlined supercars that inspired it, those sharp corners would make a black PVD coating more susceptible to being scratched than a more conventional design.

So rather than take the easier path of adding a black PVD coat to the existing HM5 case, MB&F went in search of a solid black material that could be polished and finished like metal, that felt as solid and substantial as metal and as hard as steel. Unfortunately, no material with those properties existed. So MB&F asked a specialist supplier to develop one.

Developed specifically for MB&F, CarbonMacrolon is a composite material composed of an anthracite polymer matrix injected with carbon nanotubes, which add strength and rigidity. Carbon nanotubes offer superior tensile strength and stiffness than traditional carbon fibre reinforcing.

Supercar styling

Beginning with the case, the wedge-shaped case of HM5 has unmistakable references to the low-slung supercars of the epoch.

The purpose of the louvres on these awe-inspiring cars was to restrict sunlight (from entering the near horizontal rear window. The functional louvres on HM5 do the opposite in that they open to allow light down onto the Super-LumiNova numbers on the hours and minutes indication disks to charge them.

Another distinguishing feature of supercars are large dual exhaust pipes. HM5’s exhausts were conceived to drain water in case – like James Bond’s Lotus in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ – HM5 gets wet.

And no futurist icon of the 1970s is complete without a jet. HM5’s ergonomically sculptured crown looks as though it could just as easily power Horological Machine No. 5 CarbonMacrolon into the future.

To achieve an ultimate hour and minute time displays on HM5, MB&F worked with a high-precision optical glass supplier to develop a sapphire crystal reflective prism that bent light from the disks 90° as well as magnify it by 20% to maximise legibility. The sapphire prism is wedge-shaped with the angles precisely calculated to ensure that light is reflected from the horizontal indications to the vertical rather than refracted (bent). A convex lens at the front provides the magnification.

Because the time is reflected, the numbers are printed on the disks as mirror images so that they display correctly on the ‘dial’. The glass on the front is not black but dark-tinted so that it is possible to see time arriving and departing and the numbers have an iridescent purple outline, reminiscent of the glowing instruments of a supercar on a high-speed road trip at night.

The vertical forward-facing display makes HM5 an excellent driver’s watch as there is no need to lift your wrist from the steering wheel to read the display.

As with any supercar, the best often lies under the hood and looking below the surface of the Horological Machine No. 5 CarbonMacrolon case reveals a surprise: another case! Like a Russian Matryoshka doll, peeling away the outer layer reveals a second case beneath.

The reason for housing the Engine in an inner container is for water resistance. It is housed in its own stainless steel shell.

Jean-François Mojon, Vincent Boucard and their team at Chronode developed the HM5 Engine/complication. It may appear simple, but it’s complicated! The jumping hours are bi-directional, enabling the time to be easily set both forwards and backwards. The two mineral glass disks of the hours and minutes are supported by a flat wide bridge. The disks overlap as much as possible to maximise their diameter and space for large legible numerals.

Turning HM5 CM over reveals the Engine, with its stunning iridescent purple 22k gold battle-axe shaped ‘mystery’ winding rotor, fast oscillating balance and stunning hand-finished bridges, visible through the sapphire crystal display back set into the water-resistant Engine container.

The MB&F HM5 CarbonMacrolon will be part of a limited edition of 66 pieces, so hurry up…

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