Dear Friends,

We must once again apologise to you, our dear Newsletter subscribers: we’ve left you without fresh news for too long! Our intention has never been to spam you with an exaggerated flow of constant news, but we will do our best to keep you updated a bit more regularly in the future.

As always, the last few months – which included the two major watch fairs, SIHH and Baselworld in which we very actively participate – have been incredibly intense and diverse. Regarding the diversity of our creations, allow me to take this opportunity to remind you of our different creation channels, by simply going through our most recent launches. In summary, we currently let our creativity run in four different directions: Horological Machines, Legacy Machines, Performance Art and Co-Creations. Confused? Read on!

Horological Machines – “HMs” for short – are without a doubt our most important category: this is where everything started at MB&F, with Horological Machine No.1, where we’ve created the most, and what most collectors know us for. These Machines are of course 100% mechanical, but we deconstruct high-end traditional watchmaking and reconstruct it into 3-dimensional timekeeping sculptures for the wrist. We find the inspiration for these Horological Machines in our contemporary lives, mainly from our childhood: think spaceships and science fiction, supercars and motor racing, legendary aircraft…

In some cases, the inspiration is a bit more recent: look at Horological Machine No.7, aka HM7 Aquapod. This piece was triggered by an unexpected (and painful) encounter between my wife and a jellyfish in the Arabian Gulf; I realized thanks to the incident how beautiful these marine creatures really are. The resulting Aquapod may tell you the time, but more importantly it is conceived and designed like a mechanical jellyfish! First launched in two editions (titanium with blue bezel and red gold with black bezel), a third jellyfish just joined the collection: in a titanium case with a green bezel in sapphire crystal, limited to just 50 pieces.

We introduced the first Legacy Machine, LM1, back in 2011 – and it was quite a shock, since this was the first MB&F wristwatch to be round. LMs are our more classic side, and for good reason: we like to say that Legacy Machines are what MB&F would have created if we’d been around a century or two ago. More specifically, we reinterpret the classic movements of our watchmaking ancestors, transforming them thanks to our 3-dimensional obsession into mechanical sculptures.

The “flying” balance wheel, floating above the dial, is perhaps the most recognizable feature of these Legacy Machines. Present from the beginning, this key feature was magnified further with our most recent LMs: the LM Perpetual and LM Split Escapement, conceived with our talented Friend from Northern Ireland, Stephen McDonnell.

For those two LMs, the flying balance wheel floats on its own, dial side, as if by magic. The rest of the escapement system (anchor and escapement wheel) are at the exact opposite of the movement, almost 12mm below – connected by what must be the longest escapement staff ever. I won’t get into the technical challenges involved here… I’ll just say that the slightest flaw in the manufacturing or assembly of such a system is fatal.

The LM Split Escapement focuses on this unconventional system by showcasing the flying balance wheel in its purest form, against a backdrop of three subtle subdials (time, date and power reserve) and a hand-finished, “frosted” face – in striking finishes of blue PVD, ruthenium, rose or yellow gold.

For the LM Perpetual, the same split escapement system was combined with a ground-breaking, patented perpetual calendar. The widely successful LM Perpetual – which won the Best Calendar Watch prize at Geneva’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie – was just released in a new titanium edition, with a bluish green face – limited to 50 pieces.

Still with me? Now that you’ve mastered Horological and Legacy Machines, let’s move on to our third category: Performance Art. For these pieces, the idea is actually quite simple: take an HM or LM from our existing collection and ask an external artist, designer, or watchmaker to reinterpret it.

The most recent example of this is MoonMachine 2: based on the existing Horological Machine No.8, we invited Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva to offer his reinterpretation. The interesting thing about Stepan is that he is not only a talented watchmaker, having worked with the best in Switzerland before starting his own brand in Helsinki; he is also an amazing designer – fascinated by the moon and the corresponding moon phase complication.

This second Performance Art piece with Stepan (hence the “2” in the name) is the world’s first “projected” moon phase: the unconventional optical display system of HM8 reflects vertically not just the jumping hours and trailing minutes, but also the moon phase. You’ll find all of Stepan’s signature elements on MoonMachine 2: his unmistakable moon face of course, which is modelled after his own face; the titanium web design which has taken over the winding rotor; and the “korona” shape which you find in various areas around the case.

Last but not least: Co-Creations. These are NOT wristwatches: we collaborate here with Manufactures of other types of Machines. Our first co-creations were music boxes, developed with the mechanical music specialists REUGE in Ste-Croix – with whom we also more recently created a turtle automaton with singing bird called Kelys & Chirp. Another example is the Astrograph rocket-pen we created with Caran d’Ache.

Our most prolific Co-Creation partner has been L’Epée 1839, the last remaining Manufacture in Switzerland devoted to high-end mechanical table clocks. We’ve created no less than 8 clocks together in the past four years, including the marine-inspired, eight-legged Octopod… Just a few weeks ago, during Baselworld, we introduced a complete weather station: clock, thermometer, barometer and hygrometer come together in a piece called The Fifth Element. All 100% mechanical of course – and including a resident alien commander called Ross…

Voilà, I hope this little recap has been useful and entertaining. Today we continue to create in all four categories – the R&D pipelines are full of ideas, scheduled for release in the months and years ahead. In the long term, will we maintain all four categories, will we create new ones, will we put an end to some of them? The only honest answer is: I don’t know. And I don’t want to know. One of the main reasons I created MB&F 13 years ago was the creative freedom this Horological Lab offered, and that remains absolutely essential. Time will tell!

With my best regards,
Maximilian Büsser
Owner & Creative Director