MB&F HM5 On The Road Again – a glimpse into the futuristic past


What do 1970’s cars and watches have in common? That’s something Maximilian Büsser & Friends have been thinking about when they came up with the idea for their fifth Horological Machine, the HM5 On the Road Again. During that decade, both cars and watches saw tremendous advances in technology – cars became faster and more efficient, while the horological world was transformed by the advent of LED dials and quartz movements massively faster than mechanical ones.

Ground-breaking '70s technology: Amida Digitrend

The main source of inspiration for the HM5 was one amazing watch from 1972: the Amida Digitrend. The futuristic tapered case of the Digitrend was something previously unheard of, but the technology inside was equally ground-breaking. While it used a fairly standard mechanical movement, the way that the time was displayed was something completely new. The watch used a vertical display that mimicked the digital watches of the time, showing that analog and digital technologies can successfully co-exist.

The HM5 On the Road Again features a wedge-shaped zirconium case with a vertical forward-facing display. This makes it a great driver’s watch, since you don’t have to lift your wrist from the steering wheel to tell time. Special louvers located on the top of the case let light into the mechanism of the watch, a very crucial function of the HM5. The design of the louvers is homage to the 1970’s high-performance cars, namely the Lamborghini Miura; one of the cars Maximilian Büsser was fascinated with at the time. The case itself is quite large (51.5mm x 49mm x 22.5mm), but it fits the character of the watch well.

Having Lambo as an inspiration can't possibly go wrong!

Inside, there is special movement developed by Jean-François Mojon and Vincent Boucard of Chronode. It features minutes and bi-directional jumping hours. One peculiar thing about the movement is that it’s not parallel with the sapphire crystal, as movements usually are. Instead, the display lies vertically with respect to the mechanism. The time is displayed by using a reflective sapphire crystal prism that displays the time and enhances it, thanks to the integrated magnifying lens. The time appears to be displayed digitally, but it’s actually a good optical illusion, with two disks for minutes and hours.

Digital outside, mechanical inside

The numerals of the disk are coated with Super-LumiNova, which gets charged as light gets in through the special louvers on the top of the case. The light then gets bent 90o by the reflective prism, thus projecting the time information on the display. The louvers use a slide-to-open mechanism for easier handling. As for the movement itself, it actually has its own internal steel container, which is water-resistant up to 30 meters. But the outer part of the case is not; because of the louvers, the watch has special exhaust ports to drain water.

The Engine of the HM5

 

This is where all the magic happens - the reflective prism

Another rugged aspect of the HM5 is the choice of strap; MB&F opted for a sculptured rubber strap with titanium tang buckle, which nicely complements the watch. The watch looks great, but the outside isn’t the only thing good about it, that’s for sure. It continues the tradition of unique design of the previous Horological Machines and solidifies the position of MB&F in the watch world. The Amida Digitrend got a worthy successor, and we hope its popularity never fades.

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