This year’s BaselWorld was full of surprises, some positive and most not so much!!! One of the brands that really shined all along , in my opinion was MBandF with their collaboration with BlackBadger.During Baselworld the brand unveiled a new series of ‘Performance Art’ pieces – and the star of this new series is the unclassifiable, undefinable designer James Thompson, aka ‘Black Badger’. Among other talents, James has developed the rare know-how to literally sculpt solid light, in the form of high-efficiency luminescent material. And to double the fun, for this new series James has reinterpreted not just one, but two of the Machines!

More than a decade on from a perceived injustice, Thompson’s rage smoulders on in the form of vividly glowing lume. As he recounts, “It wasn’t that I had tried and failed, it was being brushed aside like crumbs on a table. Here we are 12 years later and I’m still angry about it!”

For the Performance Art collection, Thompson has reinterpreted two MB&F Machines: HMX, first launched in 2015 for MB&F’s 10th Anniversary, and Starfleet Machine, MB&F’s first table clock, which was created with L’Epée 1839.

HMX Black Badger

The HMX was first launched last year for MB&F’s 10th Anniversary; this tim it receives an injection of glowing light – not on the dial or case as one might expect, but right at its core, on the movement itself. The “rocker covers” of the HMX engine are now crafted from solid blocks of Black Badger’s unmistakable lume… During the day, you might think you’re looking at a standard HMX, but at night those rocker covers light up in Radar Green, Phantom Blue of Purple Reign – each colour is limited to 18 pieces.

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Protected by the titanium and stainless steel of HMX’s aerodynamic case, the HMX engine combines mechanical and optical engineering: the automatic movement’s jumping hours and trailing minutes are projected vertically and magnified by a unique prism system in sapphire crystal.

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STARFLEET MACHINE Black Badger

The original Starfleet Machine was the first-ever collaboration with table clock specialists L’Epée 1839. Boasting an amazing 40 days of power reserve, thanks to L’Epée’s beautifully finished five-barrel movement, the Starfleet Machine was a very direct tribute to the science-fiction sagas of our childhood years… and that sci-fi vibe just got stronger, thanks to Black Badger! James has integrated his amazing glowing lume in the Starfleet Machine’s structure and indication domes, thrusting it resolutely out of this world. Like the HMX, this new Machine is available in Radar Green, Phantom Blue and Purple Reign (18 pieces each)

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Jus to give you a little bit of background on the Lume in watches and the difference with SuperLuminova that we all know. Super-LumiNova-enhanced hands and markers is quite different to the luminous material exclusive to Black Badger. While Super-LumiNova is a liquid that is applied to surfaces and dries, Black Badger’s lume comes in solid blocks that are milled by hand or machine into the desired shape. Not only is Black Badger’s lume extremely efficient at storing and releasing light, being solid means that there is usually more of it, so that it shines brighter for longer.

“White” light, which includes sunlight, is actually composed of red, green, and blue wavelengths of light. There are also other wavelengths of light outside our visible range, including infrared, a red that is just beyond visible, and ultraviolet, which is a blue that is just beyond visible. These different colours or frequencies of light contain varying levels of energy, with red/infrared at the lower end of the energy scale and blue/ultraviolet at the upper end.

When charging luminous material from white light, most of the energy comes from the more energetic ultraviolet end of the spectrum. But as ultraviolet is only a small fraction of white light source emitted by most torches and sunlight, only a small fraction of the power of the light source will actually charge the lume. An ultraviolet light, on the other hand, will charge lume much more quickly because it is all high-energy light, so more energy is absorbed by the lume more quickly. This effect means that while normal white light sources will more easily charge the Black Badger Radar Green and Phantom Blue colours, an ultraviolet light is needed to charge the Purple Reign lume because it absorbs more energy.

I personally am in love with the HMX Phantom Blue – it is such a great mix of sporty look, yet edgy and exciting specially when it starts glowing in the dark. A superb idea, extremely well designed and finished. Which one is your favourite?

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