Summer in the horological world is usually a fairly calm time; however, for MB&F, this summer was one of our most exciting times ever with the humbling concert of universal acclaim for the Horological Machine N°4 Thunderbolt, which launched in July. HM4 is our most radical creation to date and were not expecting many to fully understand what we were trying to achieve. How wrong we were! In less than 48 hours over 3’000 websites and Blogs relayed it the news all over the planet, generating emotions ranging from stupor to awe. Horological Machine N°4 is also the piece I am most proud of my twenty years of creating timepieces. Proud because we dared to dream so audaciously; proud because the HM4 Friends managed to find the most amazing innovative solutions to very difficult challenges; and proud because the level of finish on every single component of the Thunderbolt is so incredible.
The run-up to the launch of HM4 Thunderbolt in August, filled us with both excitement and trepidation. Three long years of development for the engine alone - each of the 300+ components was developed specifically for the Thunderbolt and its case is one of the most complex ever realised in the history of horology. HM4 tells the time quite legibly, but that's where any resemblance to a traditional wristwatch ends. Thunderbolt is a Horological Machine!
Dual mainspring barrels drive two vertical gear trains transferring power to the twin pods indicating hours/minutes and power reserve. For an horological work of art not developed specifically to tell the time, HM4 performs the role superbly. With its highly legible dials perpendicular to the wearer's wrist, Horological Machine N°4 might be even be described as the perfect pilot's or driver's watch.
The striking transparent sapphire section of the case requires over 100 hours of machining and polishing to transform an opaque solid block of crystal into a complex, exquisitely curved panel allowing the light to come in and the beauty of Thunderbolt's engine to stand out. A distinctive streamlined cock supports the balance, its centre cut away to reveal as much of the oscillating wheel as possible and validating the "kinetic" in MB&F's "kinetic art".
Because it is so extreme, HM4 can overwhelm the senses making it difficult to appreciate its esthetical nuances and curves. This short film helps focus the eye and brain on one section at a time, thus revealing more of the Thunderbolt's true nature.
Visually astounding and a technical tour-de-force, HM4 Thunderbird is everything we dreamed it would be... and more!
More about HM4 Thunderbolt on the MB&F website