Our First Visit to SIHH 2017

For the first time since the birth of the Belgium Watch Club we were lucky enough to be invited by our friends at De Greef to visit the Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) fair in Geneva.

Known as the second largest watch trade show Switzerland has to offer, showcasing novelties from several high-end watchbrands. The Richemont group and Cartier take the lead, joined by Girard-Perregaux, Ulysse Nardin, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille and many more.

This year is the second time SIHH featured the Carré des Horlogers, showcasing thirteen independent artisan-creators representing watchmaking’s young guard. It felt like a mini-fair within the large salon exhibiting Christophe Claret, Grönefeld, H. Moser & Cie, Hautlence, HYT, Laurent Ferrier, MB&F, MCT, Ressence, Romain Jerome, Speake-Marin, Urwerk and Kari Voutilainen.

Along with the creation of the  Carré des Horlogers and a 50% increase in exhibitors from last year, 2017 was another special year for the fair. For the first time in it’s history SIHH opened it’s doors to the public. We were honored to be a part of that day. As it was the BWC’s first visit to SIHH we didn’t make any appointments. We felt it was a good opportunity to soak up the atmosphere and energy of the show.

After arriving at the PalExpo in Geneva, where the fair was being held, we headed to the Carré des Horlogers, to say hi to some of the brands that are friends of the BWC.

MB&F invited us over for a hands on look at their newly released Horological Machine N°7, known as the HM7 Aquapod. Being big fans of MB&F we were delighted to sit down with them once again. Max Büsser, the CEO of MB&F, never fails to amaze with his latest creations and the HM7 Aquapod is no different. Imagine a jellyfish around your wrist telling time. You’ve got it, the Aquapod.unspecified-5

As always the idea comes from one of Max’s childhood memories. And often many of us share some of those memories. This time, me included. I remember a holiday in Spain, playing in the water with my little sister and then being stung by a jellyfish. A very similar childhood experience was the driving force for Max to design a three dimensional timepiece powered by tentacles. While the concept of the watch evolved quickly, it took about 5 years of development to produce the HM7. The whole timepiece is so complex that it actually released a few months after the HM8. For the first time MB&F have created a watch that could be categorized as a dive-style watch which comfortably feels at home during your evening swim session. You likely won’t rely on a timepiece with a flying tourbillon anyway when taking yourself into deep water.

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The HM7 features a unidirectional ceramic bezel with engraved numerals, which isn’t attached to the case as we’d usually expect from any other aquatic sports watch. The movement is built from the bottom up, not horizontally as the vast majority of watch movements. Starting with the movement’s winding rotor on the underside, which resembles the tentacles of a jellyfish, moving up via the mainspring barrel, hour and minute displays, to the flying tourbillon on top. The movement offers a 72-hour power reserve and is entirely developed in-house by MB&F. The HM7 Aquapod can thank it’s existence from the memory of a jellyfish. The case design is appropriately biomorphic. It’s shaped by two domed sapphire crystals.

In between the bezel and the case we find two crowns. The right one winds the movement and the right crown allows us to set the time. The two crowns make sure that it maintains the radial symmetry of the timepiece. However, it’s also a decision that’s been thought through carefully. One crown that allows both winding and time setting would need an extra stop to pull out, which results in a larger space between bezel and case. The two crowns make sure that the gap between bezel and case remains narrow.

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As any jellyfish, this piece has got lume. And we love it. Below the flying tourbillons there’s the three panels of AGT Ultra (Ambient Glow Technology) lume that resembles the bioluminescence of a jellyfish. Other than that, it highlights the tourbillon at night. Finally, the tentacles of the rotor are lumed as well. Which gives an amazing sight during the night.

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In summary, this is a watch you need to see and feel to appreciate. As always, Max and his team have created a piece of art. It’s sophisticated yet simple and refined. It’s a labor of love, worth the long wait. The HM7 Aquapod launches in 33 pieces in grade 5 titanium with blue bezel (Price: 98,000 Swiss Francs before taxes), and 66 pieces in 18K 5N+ red gold with black bezel (Price: 118,000 Swiss Francs before taxes). It’s 53.8mm wide and 21.3mm thick with moveable lugs following your wrist’s curvature. It comes on a very comfortable high grade rubber strap.

 

 

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