SIHH 2017 beheld many horological “first times” for me. What stands out as the highlight of all of them, however, has to be my meeting with the people of MB&F and their newest creation; Horological Machine No.7 – The Aquapod.
It is a refreshing experience to talk with a brand that is younger than oneself. Created in 2005 the brand has blasted everyone’s expectations year by year by pushing the boundaries of what is considered watchmaking.
And the jellyfish inspired Aquapod is no different, dividing the community into those who admire the courage and those that snicker at the 50-meter water resistance. Can you fault them though for pointing out the obvious flaws in this extreme example of “function follows form”? 53.8 mm across and 21.3 mm high the watch is too big on paper, the time is too difficult to read at first glance, and the flying tourbillon seems too fragile and absurd to pass for anything but a gimmick.
Trying to approach a watch like this though from such a highly analytical perspective is a futile exercise as the best answer you will get as to why it exists is Because it can.
And this watch can do a lot. It sports a vertically built flying tourbillion. This eye-catching presentation of the tourbillon is essential for the vision of the watch, as it creates space for the floating bezel. This really builds the jellyfish-like appearance, which is particularly vibrant when looking at the watch from the side. The jellyfish had lovingly been carried into all the details of the watch. The lume, for example, has not only been applied on the top of the watch but also on the rotor. Completely pointless, but boy oh boy does it look magical in the dark when the rotor spins!
All these oddities however put aside, what impressed me most was how self-aware the whole operation behind the brand is. A lot of brands try to find loads of serious sounding reasons as to why you may need their watch. Not so though MB&F.
When I asked why the watch does not have diving accreditation (something that shouldn’t be too technically difficult to achieve), I got told that this would be beside the point as it clearly isn’t a real dive watch. If someone wants a serious dive watch there are more than enough other brands who perform this job. This spirit of not bending to the conformity which we see a lot of in the industry as of late can be best witnessed when recalling the adamance with which the brand calls its timepieces machines rather than watches. This creates an unprecedented freedom, having no longer to conform to what we think a watch could be, but existing in a league of its own.
The Aquapod is a watch made to get your gears turning. Spending time with it inspires one to think outside the box, and dream of all the open opportunities still left uncovered in the world. Whether you love it or hate, you have to see it in person.