HM3 Black Frog (black Titanium) – limited edition of 12 pieces ©MB&F
You may recall that a few weeks ago we published a photo of the first and only hint presented by MB&F in relation to their latest creation, known simply as the Frog. Now we are proud to be able to bring you the official photos of this breathtaking new piece, unveiled only a short while ago!
Modeled on the HM No.3 the hour and minute gears as well as date system within the 304 part engine have been entirely modified. The trademark sapphire domes have been perfectly machined on both sides (no mean feat!) so as not deform the numbers and even more amazingly the aluminium domes within weigh just a meager 0.58g which was achieved by machining them down to a thickness of 0.28mm. Only 32 of these special movements will be crafted this year: a limited edition of 12 pieces in black titanium (with green gold rotor) and 20 pieces of a non-limited titanium version (with blue gold rotor).
Although we could go on about this amazing new piece all day we thought you would probably prefer to hear it straight from the man himself, Mr Maximilian Büsser. So we asked him.
Here’s what he had to say.
TWL: What made you choose a Frog as the inspiration for this latest piece? Why not a Tiger or a Cobra, or some other member of the Animal Kingdom?
MB: The creative process did not in fact start with a frog. Like most of our creations, I imagined the piece in my mind first as a “concept piece”, in this case based on the HM3 movement. The idea was, and I know this will seem more than a little surprising, to create a “whacky” version of the HM3. Many will think “isn’t the HM3 crazy enough?”. In my mind, the HM3 is in fact a very elegant piece, and I wanted to push it into another territory.
It is only when we finished the design with Eric (Giroud) that when I looked at it, it was clear that it looked like a frog’s head coming out of water with its two big eyes. Now over a year later, when I look at it, it makes me think of the Martian heads in “Mars Attacks”!
HM3 Frog (Titanium) ©MB&F
TWL: How many different design concepts did you come up with in conjunction with the ‘Friends’ before you settled on the final one we see today? How did you decide?
MB: This was pretty straight forward. The HM3 existed. I wanted a rotating dome version, and we nailed the design very quickly – but to get the proportions of the aluminium and sapphire domes right we did many prototypes…
TWL: Does the final piece look anything like what you first envisioned in your mind when you set out to create this unique model?
MB: That is it. As it was in my head.
TWL: What is your favorite aspect of this new piece and why?
MB: It makes me smile each time I look at it. The Frog has a very mischievous attitude to it. Also it is super light thanks to the intensive use of aluminium. You practically do not feel it on your wrist.
TWL: What do you think MB&F enthusiasts will like most about this newest addition?
MB: I honestly don’t know. As we create foremost for ourselves, our public’s reaction is always a mystery and a surprise!
The HM3 Frog Engine – 304 components ©MB&F
TWL: Are there any little intricacies you can point out for us that may not be immediately apparent just from looking at the still photographs?
MB: Well, first of all, more than 30% of the movement is different from the original HM3! The Hours run in 12 hours instead of 24, the minutes in 60 minutes instead of 120 minutes, which therefore required us to change all those gear trains. Also the changing of the date which was direct (as the hours turned previously in 24hours on the HM3) is now much more complicated to achieve. All this for only 32 movements this year… (13 Black and 20 Titanium)
The aluminium domes needed to be as light as possible, which meant we had to machine them down to 0,28mm thick and therefore to 0,58 grams a piece! And the sapphire domes were a headache. How do you machine a perfectly concentric dome from a block of sapphire, especially as there is no way to hold that block in the machine when you are cutting it…?
TWL: Are there any plans to release any further special editions prior to the introduction of the highly anticipated HM No.4 in July 2010?
MB: The HM4 will theoretically be unveiled on July 8th (with deliveries anticipated for last quarter of the year), so in the two months from now to beginning of July, we have not planned a new launch!
TWL: As always, thank you for your time Maximilian.
MB: As always a pleasure. Thanks Tom!