The jellyfish watch: MB&F unveils the Aquapod in Dubai

Introducing Horological Machine No.7, the latest product of genius from Max Busser and Friends.

Neil Churchill February 1, 2017

Given that MB&F’s back catalogue of watches and timepieces are unlike anything else in the horology industry, both in their design and engineering, it’s truly saying something that the company’s latest unveiling is even more unusual and breath-taking than any that have come before.

But that is the situation we have with Horological Machine No.7, a.k.a. HM7 Aquapod.

Officially unveiled at SIHH 2017 two weeks ago, the Aquapod has now been launched in the Middle East after its unveiling at MB&F’s M.A.D.Gallery in Dubai earlier this week. 

While previous MB&F watches have pushed the boundaries with regards to their space, sky or road association, the Aquapod is the brand’s first timepiece that pays homage to the oceans. Made up of 303 components, the pain-staking process that goes into making each one means only 99 will be produced; 66 in red gold and 33 in grade 5 titanium.

Both in appearance and its mechanics, the Aquapod has taken inspiration from the jellyfish, and borrows the nickname too. Like the sea creature the Aquapod is radially symmetric and generates power from its tentacle-like automatic winding rotor, which is made from a solid block of titanium. Where jellyfish have a radially symmetric ring of neurons for a brain, the HM7 has radially symmetric rings displaying the hours and minutes. 

Sitting high on centre in its glass dome – not unlike the hood of a jelly – is the watch’s flying tourbillon, a complication that’s normally found buried in the centre of a watch. It is this that regulates the power generated by the watch’s rotor, while minimising the time-distorting effects of gravity. Placing it at the very top of the watch allows the wearer to marvel at its mechanics. 

Ironically, the biggest surprise on the Aquapod is that it has a diver’s unidirectional rotating bezel, a traditional element not normally found on an MB&F watch. That said it is not placed in the position a diver would usually expect to find it, instead acting as a gravitational ring around the entire watch. While the Jellyfish is not a dive watch per se, MB&F says that it will be “comfortably at home in the water” managing a depth of 50 metres.

There are more jellyfish comparisons still. Like the luminescence that jellies use to ward off predators, the HM7 glows in the dark from its hands and hour numerals to its tourbillon and rotor.

All of those mechanics and design elements mean the Aquapod is big, really big. It measures 54mm across and 21mm high. To give you an idea of just how large that is, the standard Breitling Navitimer – a watch that has never been called small – measures 43mm by 14mm and Panerai’s biggest offering, the Radiomir 1940 3 Days, is 48mm. By comparison, the Aquapod is truly a giant. 

The timepieces produced by Max Busser and Friends have always been as much works of art as they are displays of time, and the Aquapod not only meets that description but quite possibly personifies it more than any other MB&F creation to date. It is a unique horological jellyfish.

Prices: the grade 5 titanium will be priced at $97,000. The red gold at $117,000.