MB&F Updates the HM8 Mark II with a New Blue Limited Edition

It’s hard not to love Max Büsser. Anyone who has met the man in person will tell you that he is a fount of enthusiasm and creativity. The watches he creates are otherworldly and fun and, like ‘em or not, his watches have helped to — alongside brands like Urwerk and watchmakers like Vianney Halter — push independent watch design to new and interesting directions in a big way.

One of last year’s big releases from MB&F (alongside the UFO-like HM11) was the HM8 Mark 2, which was initially released in June to plenty of fanfare. At the time, the watch was available in two configurations — one in white, and a limited edition of 33 in a wonderful British Racing Green. That limited edition is now long gone, and in its place, MB&F has announced a new limited release of the HM8 Mark 2, this time in blue. 


For those who may have missed it last summer, the HM8 Mark 2 is an automotive-inspired watch and an evolution of, you guessed it, the HM8 that was first released in 2016. Max Büsser — who has said time and again that he wanted to design cars long before he was interested in watches — has tapped into his affection for automobiles and racing as inspiration for a number of watches and clocks over the years, to great success. The HM8 Mark 2, and the HM8 before it, pull from this history.

Racing and watches have always been linked. The simple reality is that racing without timing doesn’t really work and so, for as long as there have been cars, watchmakers have been trying to make it easier for drivers to read the time. Over the last century or so we’ve seen plenty of ‘solutions’ offered to this problem, from dash timers to bullhead chronographs to slanted dials, but one of my favorites has been the use of a side-mounted display — like the one used on the recently re-released Girard-Perregaux Casquette.

Clearly, Büsser is also a fan of this style of time display, as he has used it consistently since the 2012 introduction of the HM5. What sets the HM8 Mark II and its predecessors apart from watches like the Casquette is its use of a fully mechanical movement to drive the digital display. The ‘engine’ powering the HM8 Mark II is built on (fittingly) a Girard-Perregaux base movement, which is then fitted with an MB&F designed and built module to include a jump hour and trailing minutes.

Interestingly, the resulting movement, and the discs for the time display, all exist on the same plane, much like they would in a typical watch. To achieve the unique perpendicular display of time, MB&F uses a sapphire prism to shift the viewing angle, one of several remarkable sapphire components of the watch, which also uses a double-domed sapphire crystal to show off the movement when viewed from the top down.

The big difference between this latest edition of the HM8 Mark II and last year’s releases is color. The HM8 Mark II uses a titanium chassis with colored ‘body panels’ made from CarbonMacrolon, a composite of carbon nanotubes and polymers. The deep sapphire blue of this year’s limited edition is colored using the same metallic pigments and ingredients as are used to produce metallic car paints, and the resulting color looks like it will be incredible in person.

The watch is not small, with stated dimensions of 47mm by 41.5mm by 19mm. The large numbers only tell half the story. I had the chance to try on the HM8 Mark II a few months ago, and it wears brilliantly. It has a definite wrist presence, but, as always, the team at MB&F has managed to put together something that wears well despite its size, even on wrists smaller than mine.

The HM8 Mark II in Sapphire blue is available now in a limited edition of 33 for $78,000. MB&F 

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A native New Englander now based in Philadelphia, Griffin has been a passionate watch enthusiast since the age of 13, when he was given a 1947 Hamilton Norman as a birthday gift by his godfather. Well over a decade later, Griffin continues to marvel and obsess about all things watches, while also cultivating lifelong love affairs with music, film, photography, cooking, and making.