HM6 Space Pirate Wins the Red Dot - Best of the Best Prize

HM6 Space Pirate Wins the Red Dot: Best of the Best Prize

The MB&F HM6 Space Pirate has been named "Best of the Best" in the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2015.

The initial inspiration for HM6 Space Pirate came from a Japanese anime TV series from Maximilian Büsser's childhood: Capitaine Flam. Capitaine Flam had a spaceship called the Comet that consisted of two spheres joined by a connecting tube. Büsser imagined combining two such craft and the seeds of Space Pirate were planted.

The curved lines of Horological Machine No.6 make it a softer, more organically shaped Machine than its predecessors. The inspiration for this came from the biomorphism art movement, which takes its cues from design elements based on the shapes of living organisms.

The case of HM6 Space Pirate was machined from two solid ingots of aerospace grade Ti-6Al-4V (Grade 5) titanium. It has a chemical composition of titanium alloyed with 6% aluminium, 4% vanadium, 0.25% (maximum) iron, and 0.2% (maximum) oxygen. This high-tech titanium alloy is both strong and light, has high resistance to corrosion and low thermal conductivity. While the strength of this titanium alloy makes it ideal for a space-age watchcase, polishing and satin finishing Space Pirate's complex curves requires more than 100 hours of work.

A titanium band wraps lengthways around the case, with a circular aperture on top circumventing the central dome. On the back, the flat band is fixed to a metal disc in the centre of the display back crystal. This band both strengthens the case as a whole and acts as a support to the free moving lugs.

The aluminium indication domes displaying hours and minutes are machined from solid blocks of metal to an ultra-light paper thickness and revolve on ruby bearings. The domes rotate vertically, i.e. 90° to the plane of the movement, which is extremely rare in a wristwatch due to the complexity of the drive train and gearing required.

The eye-catching central tourbillon perched high above the movement is a flying tourbillon developed by MB&F specifically for HM6. The choice of such a sophisticated regulator was necessitated by the restricted space under the top of the sapphire crystal dome, which could not accommodate the upper supporting bridge of a standard balance wheel.

The flying tourbillon can be protected from UV radiation, which speeds up oxidation of lubricating oils in the escapement and movement, by a retractable spherical shield that envelopes the tourbillon with six overlapping, curved blades operated by a crown on the left side of the case. These blades are paper-thin and had to be machined from a solid ingot of titanium.

The two spherical turbines, each composed of no fewer than 15 curved vanes, are each machined in two hemispheres from solid blocks of aluminium. These turbines are driven from the rotation of the automatic winding rotor by a gear train designed to amplify the number of rotations. As (air) friction increases exponentially (squared) as a function of velocity, if the winding starts rotating too quickly - most likely due to highly active movement of the wrist - air friction on the turbines increases and helps counteract the excessive speed to minimise wear.

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