Other companies have novelties which aren’t always novel; MB&F belongs to a very small clique of companies which have consistently managed to roll out novelties that align more closely to curios in spirit and substance, a series of retro-futuristic ‘horological machines that have seemingly trooped down a gangway attached to Jules Verne’s brain.
The latest, cheekily named ‘Bulldog’, is MB&F’s proposition that the man-watch relationship parallels that between a man and his Best Friend – his dog! Fresh, to say the least; as the watch has accompanied us in all our exploits and adventures, so has our faithful furry friend been our help, comfort and joy in good times and bad. And in accord with MB&F’s flair for the weird and wonderful, the watch in question, the HM No.10 ‘Bulldog’, is certainly shaped to worm its way into one’s heart.
Looking at it the wrong way round, HM No.10 resembles a flying car, with a sleek nose and gorgeous bubble canopy over the dial, not unlike the curvaceous speedsters of the 1960s. Point it the right way, and a most delightful pup emerges: twin crowns (‘11’ to wind and ‘1’ to set) and articulated lugs faithfully mimic the stance of a bulldog resting on its hind legs; hemisphere dials form the eyes, while the oversized balance wheel oscillating above we presume to be the halo of these little angels; below the midcase are a set of jaws(!) that function as a vertical power reserve indicator, gaping at full wind, and gradually shutting as power wanes. As the company’s genetic code, these elements (dial, balance, power reserve, etc.) have made their appearances in earlier MB&F watches. The balance suspended above the dial is a signature element of the company’s Legacy Machine collection; the vertical power reserve indicator was first used in the LM No.1; similar domed displays were used in the HM3 Frog. In the HM No.10, they come together for yet another HM that is utterly new, refreshing and playful. In creating its in-house movement, MB&F didn’t just build an engine from machine principles, it created sculpture at the intersection of art and engineering.
Indeed a ‘machine’, inspired from an earlier time when the very word still had an aura of magic wrapped around it.