We're used to bizarre timepieces from MB&F, and while the company's new HM3 ReBel - R for right (hand), B for Black (case) - timepiece may not rock the fey owl look, it's still pretty darn unusual. The "rebels" in this case are those who want to wear their watch on the right wrist, rather than the left; they also have to be well-heeled, since only 18 of the HM3 ReBel pieces will be made.
While you wouldn't think it to look at it, under the black PVD is a white gold case, while the charcoal-coloured movement plates and bridges and the white gold clover-head screws are meant to be reminiscent of a studded biker jacket. Inside are 36 functional jewels and 304 components in an inverted mechanism, paired with two large-diameter, high-tech ceramic bearings.
Best of all is the "mystery" rotor, which appears to defy physics by appearing outwardly balanced. However, MB&F shave away at the underside so as to unbalance it without that being visible. No word on pricing, but we're guessing this isn't a cheap replacement to your Swatch.
Horological Machine No3 ReBel
James Dean was a Hollywood Rebel Without a Cause; Billy Idol had a Rebel Yell; Star Wars had its Rebel Alliance; and now MB&F pokes the establishment firmly in its conservatively-focused eye with the HM3 ReBel. Whereas James Dean was the epitome of movie star bad boy, MB&F is the wild child of haute horlogerie; the lone biker in a black leather jacket when everyone else is wearing grey suits and driving Volvos. And unlike Dean, the HM3 ReBel knows exactly what its cause is: horological anarchy!
ReBel: R for right (hand), B for Black (case). The black-coated ReBel is a distinctive, rock 'n roll mirror-image of the HM3 designed to be worn on the right wrist, as a few individualists out there are wont to do.
And like all true rebels, nothing on the HM3 ReBel is quite as it first appears, especially when you take a closer look behind its nonchalantly cool façade. Under the ReBel's open black leather jacket - or to be more precise, its black PVD-treated white gold case - charcoal-coloured movement plates and bridges form a darkened backdrop to the resplendent flash of the 22K rotor as it speeds by.
Despite its anarchistic appearance and unorthodox right-wrist architecture, the HM3 ReBel has a serious side. This dynamic, three-dimensional sculpture is a highly technical wristwatch as well as a statement of attitude. The ReBel's twin cones ergonomically indicate the hours and minutes, with the hour cone capped by a day/night indicator. The top caps of the truncated cones are brazed (not glued) to ensure maximum water-resistance and the red “hands” of the hour and minute indicators are cut by laser to obtain the incredibly high precision/minimum mass ratio the design necessitates.
White gold clover-head screws on top of the black case resemble rivets in an upmarket biker's leather jacket, while the large, legible numbers of the over-sized date wheel around the rotor enable the date to be read off easily against a neat, engraved triangle on the case.
The rotor and oscillating balance on top provide a clue that the ReBel's movement, featuring no less than 36 functional jewels and 304 components, is actually inverted. Turning the Machine over reveals the technical secret behind the powerful and superbly hand-finished engine: two large-diameter, high-tech ceramic bearings racing inside bright blue cages efficiently transmitting power up to the time indication cones and date wheel.
We think James Dean would have worn one; Billy Idol would have sang about it; and the Rebel Alliance would have fought for it.
HM3 ReBel is a limited edition of 18 pieces in black PVD-treated white gold, blackened movement and 22K gold rotor.
Horological Machine No3 ReBel – Technical Specifications
HM3 ReBel is a limited edition of 18 pieces
Three-dimensional horological engine designed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht/Agenhor;
Powered by Girard-Perregaux base
Balance oscillating at 28,800 bph.
22K gold battle-axe shaped ‘mystery’ automatic winding rotor
Hour and minutes information transmitted via ceramic ball bearings to laser-cut hands.
Number of jewels: 36 (all functional)
Number of components: 304
Hour and day/night indicator on one cone
Minutes on second cone
Date around the movement
Black PVD coated 18K white gold case; limited edition of 18 pieces
Dimensions (exclusive of crown and lugs): 47mm x 50mm x 16mm
Number of case components: 57
Cones and both display backs with anti-reflective treatment on both faces.
Strap & Buckle:
Black hand-stitched alligator with 18K white gold and titanium custom designed deployment buckle.
Horological Machine No3
Inspiration and Realization: Horological Machine No3 was developed to display the machine’s beautifully finished movement in operation. Harmoniously crafted bridges, rapidly oscillating balance wheel, gearing and distinctive battle-axe shaped automatic winding rotor are all open to view. This allows the wearer to fully appreciate the art and craft that makes up HM3 and draws the viewer’s gaze inside the highly complex machine; a machine comprising more than 300 fine-finished, high-precision components.
The movement of HM3 has been literally turned upside down to allow for an uninterrupted panorama of the solid gold winding rotor’s graceful arcs and the high-speed oscillations of the balance wheel. Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, winner of the inaugural award for Best Watchmaker at the 2007 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, was entrusted with turning the drawings and designs of Max Büsser and designer Eric Giroud into horological reality and, with his team at Agenhor, he not only met but surpassed the challenge.
Starcruiser and Sidewinder: MB&F’s Horological Machines are for individualists who demand art, craft, excellence, exclusivity . . . and choice. To cater to these demanding aficionados, Horological Machine No3 is available in two versions: ‘Sidewinder’, with its cones lined perpendicular to the arm and ‘Starcruiser’, with its cones in line with the arm. Just like their potential owners, each is very special, each is very different.
Indications: The three-dimensional time-indicating cones allow for telling the time at a glance, whether driving or typing; however, the fact that nothing like them had ever been attempted before in horology posed considerable challenges. The top caps of the truncated cones are brazed (not glued) to ensure maximum water-resistance and the red ‘hands’ of the hour and minute indicators had to be cut by laser to obtain the incredibly high precision with minimum mass that the design necessitated.
The over-sized date wheel is actually a larger diameter than the movement, a fact that allows for very legible and well spaced 2.5mm high numbers. A neat triangle engraved into the top of the case marks the date.
Mystery Rotor: the prominence of the 22K solid gold battle-axe shaped rotor on the dial of HM3 is certain to increase the recognition of this already iconic MB&F symbol. The rotor is a ‘mystery’ because it appears to defy the laws of physics in being symmetrically balanced instead of having a visibly off-centred mass. This is achieved by machining the underside of one arm to a razor-thin edge so reducing its mass.
“The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”
-Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy