Driven by Extremes

MB&F indulges in a little high-octane fantasy with the HM8 Can-Am.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
MB&F indulges in a little high-octane fantasy with the HM8 Can-Am.
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If the HM8 Can-Am were given a set of wheels and a 1,000bhp engine, it would certainly zoom down the nearest motorway. Indeed, the latest creation by horological maverick MB&F incorporates the spirit of Can-Am, a sports car racing series that ran from 1966 to 1987, and the result is stunning.

Inspired by the cool aesthetics and sleek construction of vintage race cars, the HM8 sports a tapering, angular and transparent case that gives its wearer plenty to admire. From the top, he will see the watch’s signature battle axe winding rotor in blued gold. This is flanked by two titanium roll bars reminiscent of a vintage car chassis.

The main function of a watch – to tell the time – is here radically shifted to the front of the case, and indicated in numerals via a dashboard-style dial with dual optical sapphire-crystal prisms. Flip to the back to view the watch’s dual oil sumps.

The HM8 emerged from a string of near-impossible manufacturing processes. The roll bars, for example, may look simple, but are difficult to make. Given their tubular form, each bar has to be milled individually from blocks of titanium alloy – not stamped, which produces a flat surface – consisting of aluminium, vanadium and trace amounts of iron and oxygen. Combined, these elements produce a light, strong and corrosionresistant material.

The sapphire-crystal components, too, require extensive manufacturing know-how. MB&F collaborated with a high-precision optical glass supplier to develop the dual optical sapphire-crystal prisms, which display the time by reflecting light from the hour and minute discs at a 90-degree angle.

Like in the design process that resulted in the Can-Am sports cars, HM8 was conceived with next to no restrictions and rules about what a watch should look like. Only one thing mattered: It had to be crazy cool – and that it is.