Influenced by the bold organic forms of the 1960s and 70s architecture, MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser imagined a watch that embodied the spirit of a house. The result is Horological Machine No.11 Architect unveiled before Dubai Watch Week 2023, a multi-dimensional kinetic sculpture that masterfully blurs boundaries between structural design and horological engineering.
At the conceptual core of HM11 is a flying tourbillon, visible through a double-domed sapphire crystal roof reminiscent of a skylight. Four voluminous rooms extend outwards from this tourbillon nucleus, structured around a central atrium to evoke the expressive layout of an avant-garde home. The orientation of the rooms can be shifted by rotating the case, with distinct clicks marking each 45° turn. Winding the case manually in this manner provides power to the movement, with 10 full clockwise rotations maximizing the ample 96-hour power reserve.
The houses that inspired Büsser featured playful organic forms, swelling and bulging in unexpected places. MB&F worked with designer Eric Giroud to translate this vision into reality, drawing blueprints in 2018 focused on transparency, light, and interaction between interior and exterior volumes. The result is a curvilinear form, futuristic yet with primal affinities to the human body.
Each expansive room has a distinct mechanical function, framed by glossy white walls and large panoramic sapphire crystal windows. The timekeeping room indicates hours and minutes via an array of orbs, using larger polished aluminum orbs for the quarter hours and smaller darkened titanium orbs for the remaining markers. Red-tipped arrows point the time, providing a subtle burst of color. In the adjacent room, following the same aesthetic schema, rod-mounted orbs are paired with a red-tipped arrow to indicate remaining power reserve on a graduated scale.
Another room houses a mechanical bimetallic thermometer, a domestic instrument rarely seen in sophisticated horological contexts. The archaically charming thermometer provides temperature readings from -20°C to 60°C, available in Celsius or Fahrenheit scales. The fourth room is designated for time-setting, containing a transparent crown module that clicks open for adjustment. When closed, this chamber remains an unadorned white void, with only a small MB&F battle-axe logo engraved on the crystal to signify its concealed functionality.
Beneath the soaring sapphire atrium, the in-house HM11 engine oscillates at a leisurely 2.5Hz (18,000 vph). The curvilinear case architecture is rendered in gleaming polished grade-5 titanium, contrasting vividly with the electric blue or warm 5N gold plating of the movement. Despite the elaborate 3D form, HM11 retains a comfortable 42mm diameter case that sits elegantly on the wrist.
The source of the watch’s power is the wearer’s wrist. Winding the case amplifies this relationship, with greater torque applied compared to a typical small crown. HM11’s power flows from an oversized mainspring barrel charged by this kinetic input. A large flying tourbillon regulates the delivery of energy for timekeeping, its inertia optimized by a sizeable balance. The tourbillon is protected from shocks by an advanced suspension system using four custom-made springs.
With Horological Machine No.11 Architect, MB&F transmutes the imaginative spirit of 1970s architecture into a kinetically charged, domestically-inspired 3D timepiece. Seamlessly blending creative design, structural engineering and mechanical horology, HM11 is an inhabitable work of horological art.