Geneva Switzerland, the horlogerie capital of the world, headquarters of the United Nations- no wonders everyone is so peaceful there, they’re all on time! It seems that watches are embedded into their culture, so the kind of watch worn is a reflection of someone’s character. Some prefer to sport a traditional timepiece, but for those who appreciate an abundance of creativity and craftsmanship, the company to look to is MB&F, (Maximilian Büsser and Friends). The ensemble of friends was launched in 2005 by Maximilian Büsser, who is a well respected horological technician and entrepreneur. He earned a Masters degree in Micro technology Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne. After graduating he was about to be swept away by Nestle, when he struck luck by meeting an employee of Jaeger-LeCoultre. He made quite the impression that he did work for them as senior manager. Without that opportunity, the industry would have missed out on some very radical timepieces. After four years there, he moved onto becoming the managing director of Harry Winston’s Watch Division, at the age of 31. During his time there revenue increased by 9oo percent. A particularly fond experience he encountered there was collaborating with several independent watchmakers to create the Opus one series.
Instead of focusing only on the brand name when marketing the product, he illuminated the names behind the piece- that sort of recognition and integrity was practically unheard of before. He enjoyed that collaboration so much that he resigned from Harry Winston and created his own company, MB&F.
MB&F concentrates on creating horological machines that are unique, masterful pieces of art and technology. They create one watch a year with a limited number of pieces available, because they want the quality to be unlike any other. For all the designs, there seems to be a tremendous amount of significance, and in turn become quite thought provoking for the public. Maximilian says that part of his inspirations have originated from his childhood fascination with Stars Wars, Star Trek, Thunderbird, and Dr. Who. “it is the tension between fascination with that imaginary world and a love of high-end horology at its purest that gives the machines their vitality.” And it truly shines through into his work, especially the Hm3 Frog. It is the metamorphosis of the HM3 just of the amphibian kind, but not too much so that it becomes child’s play, more rather it is sophistication for the child at heart. Sapphire domes for the hours and minutes mimic the crystal clear glistening eyes of the frog.
Watches to Maximilian can be more than a simple indicator of time, for him, a watch can reflect sorrow, struggle, breaking through. And that’s just what he did, along with US artist Sage Vaughn. They created a watch that was auctioned at Only Watch, where all proceeds go to the Monegasque Association against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (AMM) to further research the disease. The watch’s art was inspired by a piece that Maximilian had seen of Sage’s, the brutality and beauty that was conveyed in Sage’s work has now been transferred to a watch. It features a butterfly trapped inside amongst barbed wire- the butterfly representing the child’s innocence.
HM2 OW Detail
To watch Maximilian Büsser speak on the wonderful cause and his collaboration with US artist Sage Vaughn click here
For such a young company, it has broken so many boundaries, with the hopes of more to be broken. It will be an ever evolving industry, and so the pieces should be as well. With HM4 underway, the engine seems to be a quite promising machine.
By: Amba Pragnell