"We design every watch as if it were a sculpture" – Watch designer, Eric Giroud
Breaking horological boundaries
There are luxury watchmakers and then there is MB&F, a brand so niche and special that it's hard to pinpoint exactly where it sits. Both luxurious and mental at the same time, MB&F remains at the forefront of unique watchmaking designs and now, they've unveiled their latest horological masterpiece, the HM8, inspired by the early Can-Am racing car.
Like the Rolls-Royce Phantom series, each new HM edition is not a mere evolution of its predecessor but an icon in itself. And for the HM8 timepiece, the heavy responsibility for another stunning aesthetic laid on the shoulders of award-winning watch designer Eric Giroud, who reveals the secrets of the brand's continued success to Buro 24/7 Middle East...
Let's start with the inspiration behind the design of the HM8 and some of its most outstanding characteristics...
Physically speaking we were inspired by certain elements of previous MB&F watches: the HM3 and HM5, specifically the top view with the rotor and the display at the front of the watch. Regarding the global inspiration, some elements are inspired from '70s sport cars, some from contemporary industrial design, like cellular phones or electronics consumers, and the final source of inspiration is architecture. The mix of these different cultural axes altogether resulted in the HM8!
Whenever you work on a project as monumental as this, what are some of the guiding principles that must always be followed?
The thread of each MB&F watch project begins by referring to whoever has the initial idea. Then we look at exploring a lot of different possible solutions in order to create a true novelty, both in terms of innovation and design every single time.
Design and art can cross over pretty freely. What limits the artistic expression when it comes to designing a timepiece?
The process obviously has some constraints when it comes to ergonomics or engineering techiniques. But it doesn't really limit our creativity.
With MB&F watches we are always on the border between design and art. we design every watch as if it were a sculpture.
Has the market, or interest, for these types of horological masterpieces grown?
Yes. Actually, there is a market and a real interest for these types of watches and MB&F is the proof. I have very critical and skeptical memories of people asking what the durability and style of MB&F would be at the beginning of the adventure. But this has been happening throughout the years.
MB&F is perhaps peerless when it comes to pushing design boundaries for watches. How do you deal with the pressure of expectation of constantly presenting something out-of-this-world?
High, but the pressure is not during the stage of creation, rather it is during the launch phase of each new watch model. MB&F carries a huge responsibility at every launch of a new watch.
In your opinion, what is the next big thing in horology?
We are emerging from a period where brands have become far stronger than the product, so much so that some brands release almost the same products. This is unfortunately quite common for luxury goods, and fashion is the best example. The future will be more focused on the product and creativity. We need to continue meeting the expectations of consumers, while making desirable and creative watches.
Finally, share your thoughts on smart watches and whether the 'purists' have anything to be worried about.
This topic is serious and at the same time relatively fun because the brands that create connected 'smart' objects want to make watches and watch brands want to create connected 'smart' watches. So far the only watch that is connected, interesting and coherent is the Apple Watch. I don't think the purists have anything to worry about. Consumers will make choices and there is a huge difference between an electronic watch and a mechanical watch. However we have two wrists and only one that can wear a watch.
The MB&F HM8 timepiece is available in 18K white gold and titanium and 18K red gold and titanium. For more information, visit mbandf.com. Also, read about Vacheron Constantin's new ateier bespoke service.