It was my birthday two days ago. It was better than last year, but only marginally. Last year, no one got me anything. Not even a "well done, you're still alive" card. To add insult to injury, I didn't even get any text messages, which, frankly, is the laziest and most impersonal way of communicating. I should have been upset but, to be honest, I had actually forgotten myself.
This year, there were a few texts and one card, but they all came on the wrong day. Baby steps and all that. Here's hoping we graduate to presents next year.
People may not care a fig for my special day, but everyone is going cockahoop for MB&F's 10th birthday. To celebrate, founder Max Busser and his band of merry watchmakers have released the HMX (top), which just might be the brand's most "affordable" watch ever at HK$232,000. That would be considered a fortune by some, but MB&F pieces rarely, if ever, dip below HK$400,000, so this is a big deal.
Busser and watchmaker Eric Giroud have not scrimped on creativity with the display on the HMX. The driver's watch utilises an optical illusion that "projects" the time onto the front display; the time is also shown on the side of the watch making it easy to read when the hands are on the steering wheel. The case is made of titanium and stainless steel and the watch comes in four colour combinations - Lotus Black, British Racing Green, Ferrari Red and Bugatti Blue - with pieces limited to 20 in each colour.
Next we have something equally inventive from another watchmaking maverick: Christophe Claret. The new Aventicum (above right) is inspired by Ancient Rome and, naturally then, there's a gold bust of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius seemingly floating out of the face. The micro-sculpture is in reality only 3mm high, but Claret has magnified it using a process known as mirascope: two mirrors are strategically placed so the size is doubled and to give the illusion of the sculpture coming out the dial. The rest of the watch features numerals and Roman labyrinth patterns. The 44mm case is made of either red gold (68 pieces) or white gold (38 pieces). Prices for the Aventicum are available upon request.
Finally, we have a watch by English watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin: the Velsheda (right). Inspired by a J Class yacht built in the 1930s and still sailing today, the dial of the watch looks very much like early marine chronometers, with the lovely Speake-Marin logo slap bang in the middle and appearing as a deliberate nod to early marine compasses. The 42mm case is made of red gold and inside is an automatic Vaucher calibre movement. Prices for the Velsheda are available upon request.