Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MB&F HM3 MEGAWIND Final Edition

MB&F announces MEGAWIND Final Edition, the closing model in brand’s successful HM3 series. In this edition, the darkness of the black PVD treated 18k gold case and blackened 22k gold and titanium rotor is punctuated in the dark by the bright green glow of Super-LumiNova. And the light emanating steadily from the indications is in contrast to the stroboscopic flash of light as the rotor covers/uncovers a bright band of lume at the top of the movement.

In this Final Edition, MB&F incorporates the most advanced Super-LumiNova available on the market today: GL C3 Grade A. This is not only the brightest but also the purest form of the luminescent material, recognisable by its typical green hue; while Super-LumiNova comes in many colours, the active pigments are always green and other colours partially mask the green glow. HM3 MEGAWIND Final Edition is a limited edition of 25 pieces in black PVD-treated 18k gold and titanium, with Super-LumiNova numerals and band under the rotor.
The MEGAWIND Final Edition combines an oversized winding rotor dial side with highly-legible time indication cones rising up from the asymmetric case: hours are displayed on the left, minutes on the right. An exceptionally skilled artisan painstakingly applies Super LumiNova on these conical indications by hand, one numeral after the other, with a small syringe – consistently squeezing out just the right amount of the luminescent paste.

While the viewer’s gaze will naturally be attracted towards the three-dimensional sculptures housing the hours and minutes, it is likely to be the giant battle-axe shaped winding rotor that mesmerises the eye as it swings unhurriedly, but indomitably over the meticulously hand-finished movement. It's in the dark however when the rotor really comes alive with light.

MEGAWIND is powered by the beautifully engineered, Jean-Marc Wiederrecht-designed HM3 engine. Placing the rotor and regulator on the dial side required an inverted movement, which was only possible thanks to two large high-tech ceramic bearings – visible through the display back – that efficiently transmit time up to the revolving hour and minute cones above. Rotating domes of this size and shape posed several technical challenges. The hour and minute domes are machined from solid blocks of aluminium, chosen for its optimal strength-to-weight ratio; this keeps energy requirements to an absolute minimum.

Close inspection of the case – which comprises over 50 separate components – is rewarded with a myriad of carefully considered details, including the bevelled perimeter of the rotor display crystal that adds visual flair as the angles catch and reflect flashes of light; the bespoke clover-head gold screws; and the cleverly integrated lugs attaching the strap.

HM3 has an inverted movement so that its operation can be easily seen from the dial side and MEGAWIND Final Edition follows the same principle. Harmoniously crafted bridges, rapidly oscillating balance wheel, gearing and MB&F’s iconic battle-axe automatic winding rotor are all open to view on the dial side. This allows the wearer to fully appreciate the art and craft of the HM3 engine by drawing 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 powerfully graceful rotation of the 22k gold and titanium winding rotor 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 Maximilian Büsser and designer Eric Giroud into horological reality and, with his team at Agenhor, he surpassed the challenge.

Until MEGAWIND Final Edition, adding Super-LumiNova to the display was thought to be impossible as the lume has to be hand painted on the curved cones of HM3. While no longer impossible, the technique for applying the lume is anything but straightforward. White paint is first hand-painted onto the numeral shapes of an indication cone projected flat. A silicon stamp is pressed onto this flat surface to pick up the white paint in the correct shape and then the operator carefully uses the stamp to evenly transfer the paint to the three-dimensional cone. The white paint not only serves as a template but also acts as a reflector for the Super-LumiNova, which is then painstakingly applied by hand as a second layer.
While Super-LumiNova comes in many colours, the active pigments are always green and other colours partially mask the green glow so they are less bright. For HM3 MEGAWIND Final Edition, MB&F uses C3 grade Super-LumiNova, which emits the purest and brightest light.

HM3 was first presented in 2009 and in its six years of production became MB&F’s most popular model. The case and movement architecture have given rise to no fewer than 19 different variations: HM3 Starcruiser in red and white gold, HM3 Sidewinder in red and white gold, HM3 ReBel, JWLRYMACHINE in purple and pink versions, HM3 Frog Ti, HM3 Chocolate Frog, HM3 Black Frog (green rotor), HM3 Frog Zr (purple rotor), HM3 Fire Frog, HM3 Poison Dart Frog, MoonMachine in titanium, black and red gold variations, MEGAWIND in red and white gold and last, but certainly not least, MEGAWIND Final Edition.

The hour and minute cones are milled from solid aluminium to paper-thin thickness. The cones are housed within three-dimensional truncated gold and sapphire crystal cones, which are brazed together. Brazing is a high-temperature soldering technique that is aesthetically pleasing and ensures a solid, water-resistant construction.

Independent Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva (co-creator of MB&F’s MoonMachine) provided both the initial idea for the large rotor and the name, MEGAWIND. The two 22K gold blades of the iconic MB&F battle-axe rotor on the dial make what is called a ‘mystery’ rotor because, in appearing to be symmetrically balanced instead of having a visibly off-centred mass, they look to defy the laws of physics. This ‘mystery’ is achieved by machining the underside of one of the gold blades to a razor-thin edge, so reducing its mass.

The MEGAWIND Final Edition rotor adds a layer of stealth (by day) and illumination by night: the titanium and 22K white gold rotor is blackened so that it blends seamlessly with the case. When it's dark however, a thick line of Super-LumiNova is alternately revealed and covered by the turning rotor, adding animated bright flashes from the glowing green lume to the glowing indications.

Time indications are usually located on the top, or dial side, of a movement. As the movement of HM3 is inverted to display its operation, an efficient solution was needed to bring power from the bottom of the movement to the timekeeping cones at the top. Standard pinions set in jewels would have required complex, friction-generating gearing, and would require support top and bottom – a factor which would increase the height of the movement, and thus the watch.

So instead of standard jewelled pinions, HM3 features two large-diameter (15mm) high-tech ceramic bearings. Because of their large diameter, these bearings minimise the number of friction inducing gears and, due to the rigidity resulting from their ultra-high precision design and manufacture, they only require support at one end (the base) so allow for a thinner movement.

Technical details
Limited Edition of 25 Pieces

Three-dimensional horological engine designed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht / Agenhor; based on a Sowind oscillator and gear train
Balance oscillating at 28,800 bph
Automatic winding rotor in 3 parts: hub and arms in blackened titanium with outer sections in blackened 22k gold, fastened with 4 rivets
Time indications transmitted via ceramic ball bearings
Number of jewels: 36 (all functional)
Number of components: 270

Hours in C3 Super-LumiNova on one cone
Minutes in C3 Super-LumiNova on second cone

Black PVD-treated 18k white gold and titanium
Limited edition of 25 pieces, all numbered "1 in 25"
Screwed-down crown
Dimensions (exclusive of crown and lugs): 47mm x 50mm x 17mm
Number of case components: 52
Sapphire cones and front and back display crystals have anti-reflective treatment on both faces

Black hand-stitched alligator with 18k gold and titanium custom designed folding buckle

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