Why is This Space-Age Watch Worth $150,000?

Categories Watches

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Watchmaker MB&F produced one of the most talked about timepieces at the recent SIHH in Geneva.

Geneva-based luxury watchmakers MB&F have been producing cutting-edge timepieces since 2005, including a line of science-fiction-inspired watches called ‘Horological Machines’ since 2007 . . . and their 2017 effort might be the most outrageous yet.

Described by founder Maximilian Busser and his Friends as “contemporary machines inspired by our childhood”, the HM line already includes a watch nicknamed the ‘Space Pirate’ featuring a case made up of four sapphire crystal domes, a chrome piece resembling a Star Wars TIE fighter, and the ‘Arachnophobia’, containing a clock within the eight legs of a mechanical spider.

The latest in the futuristic line was revealed at the 2017 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie watch fair in Geneva in January, the HM7 ‘Aquapod’, another space-age addition to the off-the-wall collection.

The Aquapod features a ceramic diver’s bezel surrounding the case — but instead of being laid on top of the case, it floats around the bulbous crystal dome, like the rings surrounding Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune.

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The designers say the piece is inspired by the anatomy of a jellyfish, with a 60-second flying tourbillon at the very top of the movement ringed by two rotating titanium/aluminium discs that display minutes and hours, “radiating out from the centre like ripples in a pond,” according to MB&F.

The time is also illuminated at night by ‘Ambient Glow Technology’ — what us mere mortals would call glow-in-the-dark material — to also evoke a jellyfish, while the winding titanium rotor on the back of the case mimics a number of curved, three-dimensional tentacles.

This is a huge watch — 53.8mm in diameter and 21.3mm high, meaning it sits off the wrist — and includes 303 components, 35 jewels, a 72-hour power reserve, and water resistance to a depth of 50m.

The HM7 Aquapod has been limited to two editions, both with a rubber strap: a titanium version with a blue bezel for 98,000 Swiss Francs (AU$130,000; limited to 33 pieces), as well as an 18k rose gold with a black bezel for 118,000 Swiss Francs (AU$156,000; limited to 66 pieces).