These at first may appear to be the anti-thesis of what the new MB&F HM8 Mark 2 is about, in a round about way, Peter Gabriel’s lyrics from the Mercy Street track resound loud and clear: “all of those cars were once just a dream in somebody’s head”. While I don’t quite mean to dismiss the new Rolex 24 Hours of Le Mans 100th anniversary Daytona, or diss Chopard with their plethora of Mille Miglia racing timepieces that all morph into one design, but watches like the new MB&F HM8 Mark present themselves as a great reminder of what a sports, and racing themed timepiece, can rally into really amounting to something delightful and fresh.
If there is only one thing you take away from this review, then it is this: the new MB&F HM8 Mark 2 is one of the best buys for a motor-head watch connoisseur. In an ocean of repetitive designs, the new MB&F HM8 Mark 2 takes mercy and has the wrist game beat with its sensual curves and racing car inspired design. Quirky as it may seem, time-telling, often an attribute neglected these days, its speedometer-style display on the side of the case ensures one glance is all that’s needed.
Following the HM5, HM8 and (2016’s) HM8, the new MB&F HM8 Mark 2 continues Max Büsser’s childhood dream of becoming a car designer with utmost aplomb. The new version is partly inspired by the (manual-winding) “Digitrend” by Amida, which was introduced at the Basel Fair in 1976. In terms of basic structure, it is also similar to other popular driver’s style LED watches from 70s such as the GP Casquette. The GP connection doesn’t end here; the HM8 Mark 2 features an automatic-winding Girard-Perregaux calibre as the base movement, which forms the foundations for the 3D horological engine composed of a jumping hour and trailing minutes module developed in-house by MB&F. Take the watch for a spin on your wrist and you will find that the HM8 Mark 2 also echoes designs of the iconic Porsche 918 Spyder (for the shape of the body) and the Fiat Abarth-Zagato ‘Double-Bubble’ (for the sapphire crystal).
The MB&F version is of course different, transforming into something uber-cool; it’s like the difference between a regular Marvel movie and a Taika Waititi Thor movie. So unlike the Amida which featured discs next to each other, the MB&F HM8 Mark 2 features discs that are one on top of the other. Further, with the assistance of a sapphire prism, the jumping hours and sweeping minutes are indicated vertically despite lying flat on top of the movement.
What’s more cool is that the numerals look almost digital, as the sapphire disks are coated with black metallisation, leaving the numerals clear. Super-LumiNova® is then added underneath the sapphire disc, so that the luminescence would be completely flat, not bulbous as it appears when it is applied to the dial.
The new HM8 Mark 2 comes in two versions: white or British racing green CarbonMacrolon® that has a matt finish on the top and a high polish on the sides. This 30m water-resistant Grade 5 titanium body measures 47 x 41.5 x 19mm. Inside is the movement that provides a 42-hour power reserve, beats at the frequency of 4Hz, comprises 247 components and 30 jewels, and features a 22K gold automatic winding rotor. CarbonMacrolon® is a composite material developed specifically for MB&F that is eight times less heavy than steel. The white version is paired with a green CVD rotor and light green minute markers, while the British racing green version comes with a red gold rotor and balance wheel and turquoise minute markers and is limited to 33 pieces.
To drive home the point, lyrics from another Peter Gabriel song, Games Without Frontiers, do the trick: “If looks could kill, they probably will”. The new HM8 Mark 2 is perhaps the sexist watch to come out of 2023.
The HM8 Mark 2 launches in two editions: White and Green, the latter limited to 33 pieces. Retail price of either version is CHF 68,000 + VAT (USD 78,000 / EUR 70,000 + taxes). To find out more about the new MB&FHM8 Mark 2 and their other watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are courtesy ©MB&F SA 2018.