The MB&F HM6 Space Pirate won over the 38-member jury of the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2015. With its timepiece, MB&F proved its design excellence in the most important competition for product design, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. From 4,928 participants, MB&F’s HM6 Space Pirate stood out and was awarded the Red Dot: Best of the Best for top quality and innovative design. In 2015, only 1.6 % of all entries in the competition won this sought-after award. This means that MB&F is one of the forerunners in international design.
The Red Dot: Best of the Best is awarded for innovative design and is the highest individual award in the Red Dot Award: Product Design. Only the outstanding products in a category receive this award – in 2015, only 81 products from 31 categories were given the sought-after seal of quality.
Professor Dr Peter Zec, Founder and CEO of the Red Dot Award: “For 60 years, the most-respected design experts have been convening every year in Essen to seek out the best designs. This year we had a record number of almost 5,000 entries – a huge amount of work for our jury members, who assessed each individual product, and a special value of the distinction due to the high standard. The laureates of the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2015 have demonstrated exceptionally high achievements and have thus been deservedly successful in the world’s largest design competition.”
The internationally respected product competition will culminate in the Red Dot Gala in Essen on 29 June 2015. During the glamorous award ceremony, the Red Dot: Best of the Best winners accept their trophies on stage in the Aalto-Theater in front of around 1,200 guests. At the subsequent Designers’ Night after-show party, the winners celebrate into the early hours in the midst of award-winning products in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen. The winning products are then presented for four weeks in the special exhibition “Design on Stage” before being included in the museum’s permanent exhibition.
About the Red Dot Design Museum Essen
With roughly 2,000 exhibits over 4,000 square metres, the Red Dot Design Museum presents the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary design. The successful entries in the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2015 will be shown from 29 June to 26 July 2015 in an impressive special exhibition in the midst of the historical industrial architecture of the Zollverein World Heritage site. In “Design on Stage”, visitors will experience the current top achievements up close and personal, because this hands-on exhibition expressly encourages visitors to touch and try out the exhibits. In this way, fans of design can find out about the trends in international product design and see for themselves the excellent quality of the HM6 Space Pirate from MB&F.
About the Red Dot Award
In order to appraise the diversity in the field of design in a professional manner, the Red Dot Design Award breaks down into the three disciplines of Red Dot Award: Product Design, Red Dot Award: Communication Design and Red Dot Award: Design Concept.
The Red Dot Award was created by Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen and with around 17,000 entries each year is one of the best-respected design competitions in the world. In 2015, it is celebrating its 60th anniversary: It was in 1955 that a jury convened for the first time to assess the best designs of the day. The sought-after award, the “Red Dot”, is the revered international seal of outstanding design quality.
Award-winning designers, manufacturers and agencies use the Red Dot winner label and receive numerous other winners’ privileges, such as the presentation of the award-winning product on Red Dot Online, in the Red Dot Design Yearbook, the Red Dot App and on Red Dot 21. Additionally, the winning products are communicated in the international PR activities of Red Dot and exhibited in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen for a whole year.
HM6 Space Pirate in detail
Inspiration: The initial inspiration for HM6 Space Pirate came from a Japanese anime TV series from Maximilian Büsser's childhood: Capitaine Flam (Captain Future in English). 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.
Engine: The Engine of HM6 required more than three years of development due to the demanding challenges that had to be overcome. 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.
As may be expected with such sui generis movement architecture, nearly every component and mechanism had to be developed from scratch specifically for Horological Machine No.6. The result speaks for itself.
Case: 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 pivoted lugs enable the strap to fit snugly around the wrist and, along with the lightweight titanium case and form-fitting spheres in each corner, ensures that HM6 is an extremely comfortable watch to wear, even on smaller wrists.
Design: The organic curved lines of Horological Machine No.6's case derives from an early 20th century art movement labelled "biomorphism", in which art is modelled on the naturally occurring shapes and forms found in nature and living creatures. Biomorphic expressions can be found in art: Matisse's eminent work, Le bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life); architecture: The Sagrada Família church by Gaudí; and the work of contemporary designers including Marc Newson. But few have been as influential or as passionate about biodynamic forms as German industrial designer Luigi Colani, whose oeuvre spanned cars, furniture, electronics, a grand piano and even a ballpoint pen.
Sapphire crystal domes: With an incredible ten sapphire crystals, including two domes each (top and bottom) on the time indications and turbines, the Space Pirate posed quite a challenge. Each dome was first machined from a solid block of sapphire crystal. After diamond, sapphire crystal is the second hardest naturally occurring mineral on earth and is an incredibly demanding material to shape into complex forms. After machining each block of sapphire inside and out with diamond tipped tools to create perfectly shaped domes with walls of uniform thickness – the slightest inconsistencies would result in disconcerting optical distortions – the domes, which are translucently frosted after machining, have to be highly polished, both inside and out, to make them transparent.
HM6 Space Pirate – technical details
Three-dimensional horological engine developed exclusively for HM6 by MB&F with David Candaux Horlogerie Créative
Flying Tourbillon with retractable shield
Iridescent green platinum 950 battle-axe automatic winding rotor
Twin aluminium turbines driven by winding rotor
Power reserve: 72h
Balance frequency: 18,000bph/2.5Hz
Number of components: 475
Number of jewels: 68
Hour and minutes on separate semi-spherical aluminium indications
Crown to open/close tourbillon shield
Manufactured by Les Artisans Boitiers
Ti-6Al-4V (Grade 5) titanium
Dimensions: 49.5 mm x 52.3 mm x 20.4 mm
Number of components: 80
Water resistance: 30m / 90’ / 3atm
10 sapphire crystals: 9 domed (4 for the hour and minute indications, 4 for the turbines, 1 for the tourbillon) and one flat (display back)
Strap & Buckle:
Hand-stitched calfskin strap with titanium custom designed folding buckle.