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Airborne masterpiecesMB&F Horological Machine No4: Razzle Dazzle & Double Trouble

Rebellious individualism is an incredibly powerful creative force. It is a force that has been responsible for some of – if not all – the greatest art in history. Art often thrives under adversity, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that during WW2, artists found their canvases in unusual places – such as on the nose cones of aircraft.

That led to a thriving aesthetic genre called ‘nose art’, which often expressed rebellious individualism coupled with a light-hearted jab at the establishment – that’s a winning combination at MB&F! 
HM4 Razzle Dazzle and Double Trouble take their inspiration from, and pay homage to, these airborne masterpieces. And, as they provocatively fly by, the cheeky pin-ups also take a playful poke at the establishment.

Maximilian Büsser explains: “When I was making model airplanes as a boy, they were mainly WW2 aircraft. HM4 Thunderbolt is an aviation-inspired Machine with its roots in those model plane kits, so it was only natural to start imagining what might HM4 have looked like in that era. Hand painted nose art, real rivets, vintage-look dials, authentic military leather strap and the metamorphosis of the Thunderbolt is complete.”

Although the military never officially sanctioned nose art, it unofficially approved it as a morale-booster in the harsh environments because allowing a little individual expression went a long way towards increasing pride and spirit. The portrayal of women in nose art can be best characterised as free-spirited and daring and in general, the further away from headquarters, the racier the compositions.

To create the vivacious artwork of Razzle Dazzle and Double Trouble, the titanium fuselage of HM4 Thunderbolt has been carefully machined out for the design so that the paint and its protective layers of lacquer finish flush with the surface, so minimising the risk of damage.

To set the scene and provide further authenticity, real titanium rivets have been hand applied to the Thunderbolt’s titanium fuselage. The dual dials glow and sparkle with a warm vintage patina created using a special blend of paint mixed with cream-coloured Super-LumiNova and very fine copper particles. The period look is further enhanced by the distinctive strap, which has been crafted from leather obtained from genuine antique Swiss military bags.

Razzle Dazzle and Double Trouble’s authentic vintage accoutrements adorn a thoroughly modern, state-of-the-art Horological Machine featuring a 311-component, in-house movement developed specifically and exclusively for the Thunderbolt. To transform an opaque solid block of sapphire crystal into the sophisticated transparent curves of the central case section requires over 185 hours of machining and polishing – over four weeks’ work for that one piece!

Razzle Dazzle and Double Trouble are ebullient limited editions of eight pieces each. And as each mildly subversive illustration is individually hand painted, each is unique.