Now that the dust has settled and you’ve all had the chance to create your own subjective opinion on Max Busser’s latest and greatest, we believe that this is the opportune time to come in with our own thoughts and feelings on the HM9 Flow. I have to admit though, I did have to restrain myself to some capacity in light of the HM9’s release. I was flooded and DMs with e-mails full of press releases and enthusiasts asking my opinion of the Flow. But, I bit my tongue and waited for things to simmer down a touch. And now that it seems as though the waters have calmed, let’s open dive right into the Horological Machine No. 9, aka the Flow.
The HM9 Flow comes in two titanium variations, each limited to only 33-pieces. There is an ‘Air’ edition, which comes with a dark movement and an aviator-style dial (not that dissimilar to a dial and hour numeral font format from IWC), and a ‘Road’ edition, which has a rose-gold plated movement and a speedometer-inspired dial. Both pieces, while cosmetically different, are fundamentally the same watch.
There is a certain amount of nostalgia present throughout the HM9 Flow. Explicitly reminiscent of a jet engine and inspired, quite obviously, by mid-20th century automative and aviation design, the HM9 Flow is anything but conventional. This is, of course, no surprise, given the amount of ingenuity and charisma that Max and his team bring to each and every timepiece they produce. I recently met Max at an event hosted by The Hour Glass here in Sydney, and it’s very clear that his passionate
nature and uniquely genuine personality is apparent in all of his watches, the HM9 Flow included.
Doing things differently and going against the grain doesn’t always go according to plan. There’s a fair few manufacturers that have come and gone in less than a decade treading down that not-so-beaten path. But, and I’m super glad to say this, MB&F haven’t yet gone astray (and I remain hopeful that they never will). All of this aside, it’s important to note that form meets functions with the HM9 Flow, and that its inception is anything but a plow to capitalise on a marketing that’s growing ever fonder of this kind of watch design.
Okay, onto the dramatic visuals of the HM9 Flow. This is a watch that draws direct inspiration to an aircraft’s jet engine. Clean and pleasing lines. A smoothness demonstrates an enormous amount of engineering and detailing. And above all else, a look that is clear and defined. The titanium case features
alternating polished and satin finished surfaces, enhancing its already ultra-dramatic look, but at the same time playing to the visual
senses of the enthusiasts
and admirers alike.
There are two independent balance wheels flanking the main body of the watch (which houses the vertically inclined dial), and these are visible beneath a bubbled dome of sapphire crystal. The main body features a sunroof-type (ahem; automotive-inspired) sapphire panel that displays part of the HM9’s movement. This part is actually one of the watch’s most complex. It’s what MB&F call a planetary differential, which acts to average the output of both independent balance wheels to provide a single and stable reading of the time. The vertical dial is driven by conical gears, ensuring a level of precision necessary to transmit force from a horizontal plane to a vertical plane. Walking the walk. Talking the talk. Awesome stuff.
The HM9’s aerodynamic titanium case measures 57mm by 47mm by 23mm. Numerically speaking, these are enormous dimensions. The 43-components that make up the case, however, fit naturally with each other, and it’s here that we see the innate level of machining that we’ve all come to know and love from MB&F. Obviously it’s fairly difficult to talk about wearability without holding the watch in the physical, but as you can see in this photo quite clearly, there is a level of snugness and ergonomics that is definitely going to be appreciated by the watch community at large. As big as this watch is, you can see that there is an immense level of thought applied throughout its design and development process. This watch will sit high, but you’re still going to be able to get a hell of a lot of wear from it, and comfortably might I add.
So, to highlight the HM9’s visuals, I can probably sum up my sentiments in two words: Fucking awesome.
Now, onto the movement. Powering the HM9 Flow is highly complex engine developed in-house by MB&F. As I mentioned earlier, it features two fully independent balance wheels, each regulated by a planetary differential, with each beating at 2.5Hz. There is a single barrel which has a power reserve of just under two days when fully wound, and the movement on a whole features a whopping 301-components.
The HM9 Flow comes fitted on a hand-stitched brown calf-leather strap which features a custom designed titanium folding buckle. This strap suits the watch to a tee. The simplicity of the strap does wonders in terms of highlighting the HM9’s bodywork, doing nothing but keeping the focus purely on the watch itself. Again, bucket loads of thought went into its design and implementation, I’m sure.
There are watchmakers, although few and far between, that bring as much pizazz, genuine enthusiasm and passion, a disdain for the bottom dollar, and horological insanity as MB&F. Fronted by the enigmatic character that is Max Busser, the company continues to push the boundaries of typical watchmaking. The HM9 Flow has so much cool-factor going for it that I know Max and his band of merry horologists will have no problem with selling. I’m thankful that I had the honor of meeting with and talking to Max, and I’m even more grateful that I am able to be involved with the industry at the same time as MB&F is strutting their stuff and doing their thing. The HM9 Flow is one of those watches that will be spoken about for many years to come and will continue to be pursued by many even after it sells out. Tremendous watchmaking.
The MB&F Horological Machine No. 9 Flow has a cost of $182,000USD (which converts to approximately $250,000AUD) and is available now.