The exceptional movement is complimented by a detailed, miniaturized paintwork
December 3, 2020: A decade ago, MB&F shocked the watchmaking world with a radical machine: the HM4 Thunderbolt. This aviation-inspired timepiece was awarded Best Concept & Design Watch at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève; and more recently, in an article published 2019, the New York Times listed the HM4 as one of the 10 timepieces that shaped modern watch design.
To celebrate this 10th anniversary, MB&F has recreated the HM4 prototype into a Pièce Unique: the HM4 ‘Kittyhawk’. The HM4 exceeded expectations, matched inside by an engine that defies conventional watch movement construction. Limited edition from the beginning, its 100 pieces were all sold years ago.
This new version is a dedication to Curtiss P-40, one of the most important WW2 allied aircraft, produced between 1938 and 1944. Depending on the version, it carried nicknames like Warhawk, Tomahawk… and Kittyhawk. Criticised for its average performance on paper, its track record in combat was surprisingly good. Still today, aviation experts argue about the plane’s merits and weaknesses. Regardless, it remains one of the most iconic aircraft of that time – especially the samples rocking the typical “shark mouth” and eyes.
As a tribute to this world war aircraft, this Pièce bears a unique hand-painted shark mouth and eyes, along with aged time and power reserve dials. The titanium case of the 10-year old prototype was first prepared to welcome the recessed painting by carefully removing microns of metal from the sides of the fuselage, following the shape of the illustrations.
It was then handed over to the incredibly talented miniaturist painter Isabelle Villa, who delicately painted the menacing teeth and angry eyes. A final coat of transparent varnish was applied to protect the miniature painting, flush with the case.