Founded as recently as 2005 by Maximilian Busser, MB&F was initially a creative platform that allowed for gifted watchmakers to collaborate on unique timepieces. Always pushing boundaries by experimenting with new concepts and materials, MB&F is a trailblazer in both design and technical achievement.
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Anyone who knows Maximillian Busser, founder of MB&F, understands that the concepts he creates as horological machines stem from a very different way of thinking. Busser stands out even in the watch world for his ability not only to think out side of the proverbial box, but also to have the courage to pursue his dreams.
MB&F – an acronym for Max Busser and Friends – builds timepieces that are three-dimensional, almost space-age works of art and sculpture.
His futuristic timepieces are chocked with unconventional interpretations of the centuries-old craft. With finely honed engines or machines powering them, each creation retails for prices in at least five figures and beyond.
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About Maximilian Busser
In a previous career, Busser was the managing director of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces, and was the man behind the amazing Opus series.
From 1998 until 2005, Busser conceived of and executed the Opus projects. During his tenure, the brand worked with different independent watchmakers to build a very special timepiece annually.
The project was wildly successful and had collectors clamoring for the very limited edition pieces. While Busser found it all to be exciting, it wasn’t enough to keep him engaged. He left the company to strike out on his own.
In 2005, he formed MB&F as a creative platform. He envisioned a project, which bring together a host of watchmakers, artisans and other talent to create watches that were decidedly different in both design and concept from anything else on the market.
It marked the first time that a watch brand utilized so much creative energy and passion. Furthermore, it gave credit to each and every individual involved in bringing a horological machine to fruition. Additionally, every horological machine tells its own story.
In some ways, Busser imagined MB&F as a playground where individuals could express their dreams and embrace their childhood perspectives. As a child, Busser – who says he had no real friends – imagined himself as Luke Skywalker, Captain Kirk, and other space heroes out to save the world.
He would spend hours transforming his bedroom into an imaginary kingdom where he could fight all the wrongs and evil.
As a young adult, Busser wanted to design cars, but the education was too expensive for his parents. Consequently, he opted for engineering. This may also have helped him conceive of things others might say are impossible to achieve such as like space-ship shapes with carved sculptured aliens inside.
In fact, all of his designs recall his childhood adventures.
MB&F Codes & Philosophy
When Busser started his own company, the people who knew him (including the author) expected big things. MB&F didn’t disappoint. He was all about pushing the boundaries, and surrounding himself with people who could make things a reality.
He even has a tag line for the brand that reads: “A creative adult is a child who survived.” It pretty much describes himself.
The first timepiece, Horological Machine No. 1, was unveiled to the world in 2007. It was shaped like the figure 8 set horizontally on the wrist, and was the world’s first movement with four barrels in parallel and series.
It also was the first to have the energy transmitted to the regulating organ via two different sources at the same time. In terms of design, it features hours and minutes on separate dials with a raised one-minute tourbillon residing between them.
It was both visually and technically stimulating. Just 30 were made over the ensuing few years – setting an important precedence for the brand: exclusivity.
Since then, throughout the past 12 years since that watch emerged, the brand has created more than a dozen Horological Machines.
It also has created a host of Legacy Machines that are round. Yet, despite their conventional shape, they still defy watchmaking codes thanks to things like a tiny sculptured alien who sits on the dial and signals the power reserve in the watch.
In fact, MB&F defines this category of watches as something the company would have unveiled 100 years ago. The brand also works on collaborations with other artists and even with famed Swiss clock maker, L’Epee, to unveil automatons, clocks, robots and other related intriguing works of art.
All Horological Machines are made in strictly limited numbers, and in order to make room for new series, older ones are retired. According to Busser, it is not about raising production – it is about keeping the creativity flowing.
Max Busser & Friends Collections
As mentioned, the MB&F brand consists of several different collections.
The Horological Machines are highly sculptural works – with shapes ranging from the original figure 8 to rectangular, frog-like, spacecraft, jellyfish-like and others that are just too difficult to describe.
All house complex movements and offer unusual features. In this series, not only are there Horological Machines with a designated number (as in HM No.1, 2,3, etc.), but also there are specialty pieces such as the HM3 Megawind, and the HMX driver’s watch – designed like a supercar for the brand’s 10th anniversary.
The Legacy Machines, as mentioned, are round in shape, but that is the only thing the machines have in common with traditional watchmaking. Most recently, MB&F unveiled – in this collection – its first-ever women’s watch: Legacy Machine FlyingT.
The diamond-adorned watch features a high domed crystal within which sits the vertically built movement with tourbillon escapement. The dial is placed at an angle at 7:00 so that only the wearer can view the time.
Also in the Legacy collection: the LM Split Escapement – where the escapement of the watch is literally split so that it can rise to the dial side of the watch; and the LM Perpetual, the brand’s first perpetual calendar watch and others.
The Co-Creations are all collaborations with different types of companies. For instance, the MusicMachines are musical structures created with Swiss music box brand, Reuge Music.
The moving automaton clocks like Grant the robot that moves on treads, and Octopod the eight-legged octopus clock were made in association with L’Epee 1839 clock maker. In fact, a majority of the creative clocks such as the spaceship, Destination Moon, and the robot Balthazar were also made with L’Epee 1839.
There is also a series that MB&F refers to as Performance Art, wherein the brand works with outside artists to bring a piece to market. For instance, MB&F worked with James Thompson of Black Badger to enhance its Starfleet Machine and HMX watch with ultra luminous abilities in incredible colors.
For its Moonmachine2 with the first projected moonphase display, the brand worked with Stepan Sarpaneva – a master at creating sculpted moon phases. And in the LM1 Xia Hang, the brand worked with Hang to create the aforementioned sculptured alien power reserve indicator.
MB&F MAD Galleries
In addition to its watches and assorted creations, MB&F also operates M.A.D. Galleries in Hong Kong, Dubai, Taipei, and the original store in Geneva.
The boutiques showcase Horological Machines side by side with mechanical and other art, including specialized photography and other carefully curated pieces from around the world that further underscore MB&F’s innovative approach to design.
Keep Learning About Max Busser & Friends
The fruit of veritable out-of-the-box thinking, MB&F has crafted some of the most unique and awe-inspiring timepieces to have ever graced the market. Although honoring horological tradition, the true inspiration of their craftsmanship comes from far beyond the stars.
Until then, you can head to the official MB&F website to learn more about their current collections. Alternatively, learn more about other brands, watchmaking as well as how to properly use them with our own resources:
- All Watch Brand Guides
- Guide To Watch Movements
- Watchmaking Countries & Histories
- YouTube Watch Videos & Reviews
- Bespoke Unit Watch Homepage
"Where technical innovation and creative converge. Max Busser & Friends produces unique masterpieces and testaments of horological creativity. MB&F has a rich future ahead."Rating: 5.0★★★★★