Maximilian Büsser & Friends - The Smelling Salts of the Watch World...Wake Up and Smell The Space Pirate!
Published: January 26,
2016 | 18:46
We all know there are cool watches, classic watches and collectible watches -- but then you get to the world of Horological Machines -- in a class of their own. If that doesn't make sense to you, MB&F watches are quite honestly the Umami, that savory taste you can't quite put your finger on but you know you gotta have it. Without naming names, you very well know what watches are sweet, sour, bitter and most definitely salty! But what you don't know, that UMAMI is the taste that doesn't get old, it only gets better with each bite!
Horological Machine No.6 - now in limited "SV" editions, in sapphire crystal combined with streamlined red gold or platinum. The sapphire crystal alone requires 350 hours of careful machining and polishing, just for a single case - the equivalent of 2 months' worth of working days...
The Horological Machine No 3 FROG from MB&F - Maximilian Büsser & Friends
Published: May 03,
2010 | 06:54
Seeing a sneak peek of this prototype at Baselworld had my eyes pop out quite similarly to the Frog's bulbous displays. Originally based upon the HM3 Sidewinder & Starcruiser released last year, this alternative version features innovative domes for hours and minutes.
MB&F is the only "haute" brand I know that doesn't take themselves too seriously. They build fascinating machines blending humor and style. Sure it's an exclusive club to belong to but the inspiration is free. MB&F will only craft 32 Frog movements this year: a limited edition of 12 pieces in black titanium (with green gold rotor) and 20 pieces of a non-limited titanium version (with blue gold rotor).
Haute horlogerie is (usually) a very restrained and serious business; however one of Maximilian Büsser main goals in creating MB&F was to bring a child's sense of awe and sense of playfulness into high-end watchmaking. There is no doubting that with the HM3 Frog, MB&F have certainly achieved that aim . . . and more! The protruding eyes of the (amphibian) frog enable it to see in many directions without having to turn its head. The bulbous domes of the HM3 Frog have the opposite, but no less important, feature of enabling the time to be easily seen from many angles without having to turn the wrist. The Frog differs substantially from HM3 in that it is the aluminum domes that rotate under the sapphire crystals in the Frog, whereas it is the hour and minute hands that rotate around their respective stationary cones on HM3.
Rotating domes of this size and shape posed MB&F with a number of technical challenges. The hour and minute domes are machined from solid aluminium - chosen for its optimal strength to weight ratio. The domes weigh in at just over 0.5g. They are milled first from the outside and then the inside to arrive at a paper-thin wall thickness of just 0.28 mm, which reduces their energy requirements to an absolute minimum.
Even the fabrication of the semi-spherical sapphire crystal domes was incredibly demanding and only recently even possible at all. This is due to the fact that any slight imperfection in the sapphire might introduce a disconcerting magnification effect. The sapphire has to be shaped and polished to be perfectly uniform.
The Frog's unusual method of indicating time necessitated the development of a new gear train for the HM3 engine. This was because the aluminum hour dome of the Frog rotates in 12 hours compared to the 24 hour revolution of the HM3 hour hand. And as the oversized date wheel is driven from the hours, the gearing driving the date had to be reworked as well.
The Frog may portray the time in a playful manner, but there is nothing but serious and meticulous attention to detail and care regarding the fine hand-finishing of the high-tuned engine purring within its lightweight high-tech titanium case. A close inspection of the case is rewarded with carefully thought out detailing including a figure 8 engraved around the domes that mirrors the form of the display back(revealing dual ceramic bearings); distinctive clover-head white gold screws; and an engraved arrow discreetly indicating the easy to read over-sized date.
If the viewer's gaze manages to break away from the obiculate indications, it is likely to be arrested by the brightly-coloured 22K gold battle-axe winding rotor or the intricacies of the thoroughbred movement beneath. The HM3 Frog is available in Grade 5 titanium with blued rotor or a limited edition of 12 featuring mark-resistant black-coated titanium with green rotor.
Movement: Three-dimensional horological engine designed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht/Agenhor; Girard-Perregaux oscillator and gear Balance oscillating at 28,800 bph. 22K blued rose gold battle-axe shaped ‘mystery’ automatic winding rotor Hour and minutes information transmitted via ceramic ball bearings to rotating domes. Number of jewels: 36 (all functional) Number of components: 304
Functions: Hour and day/night indicator on one dome (aluminium dome rotating in 12 hours) Minutes on second dome (aluminium dome rotating in 60 minutes) Date around the movement
Case: Grade 5 titanium/blue 22K gold rotor; limited edition of 12 black titanium/green 22K gold (black treated with mark-resistant silicon oxide) Screwed-down crown Dimensions (exclusive of crown and lugs): 47mm x 50mm x 16mm Number of case components: 53
Sapphire crystals: Domes and both display backs with anti-reflective treatment on both faces. Domes for indications: in aluminium, 0.58g
Dials: Rotating aluminium domes, stationary hands
Strap & Buckle: Black hand-stitched alligator with 18K white gold & titanium custom designed deployment buckle
MB&F HOROLOGICAL MACHINE NUMBER 4 "THUNDERBOLT" Sneak Peek into the engine of the HM4
Published: March 11,
2010 | 03:55
In July 2010 MB&F will unveil its most radical Machine to date: The HM4 - Horological Machine No4 - "Thunderbolt".
As this image of the Engine of "Thunderbolt" reveals, Horological Machine No4 will feature a calibre that is a complete departure from any watch movement known today.
Max just forwarded me these early images of the movement and mentioned:
"I think people will start finally understanding why we call our movements “engines”.
I wanted to present the Engine alone so that all attention can be given to this amazing piece of machinery/horology. The whole idea of MB&F being about creating “kinetic art which gives time”, this HM4 engine symbolizes pretty well our creative philosophy."
MB&F (Maximilian Busser & Friends) was founded in 2005 by Maximilian Busser, former Managing Director of Harry Winston Rare Time Pieces and creator of the revolutionary Opus series. By harnessing the power of the Friends, dedicated collectives of the top independent artisans and watchmakers in Switzerland, MB&F creates contemporary time-telling mechanical sculptures. Each MB&F Horological Machine represents the best of the best in the world of watches. By giving full credit to the all star team creating each Machine, the pieces become a showpiece for the most cutting edge designs, the best finishing, the integration of new technologies, in all the highest quality possible.
Horological Machine No.2.2 "The Black Box" A Collaboration Developed with Alain Silberstein
Published: October 27,
2009 | 06:10
Simply black: Alain Silberstein’s surprise take on Horological Machine No 2
What happens when that master of glorious color, French high-end watch designer Alain Silberstein, is let loose with MB&F’s Horological Machine No2? The surprising answer is a new, all-black case that epitomizes Bauhaus purity and restraint. The new model, called Horological Machine No2.2, is known affectionately in-house as “the black box”. It will be issued in a limited edition of eight watches.
MB&F is a company founded 4 years ago by the former head of Harry Winston Timepieces, Maximilian Büsser, and is dedicated to designing and crafting small series of radical concept watches in collaboration with talented professionals. The new case by Alain Silberstein houses the same groundbreaking “engine” as Horological Machine No2, introduced in 2008 and featuring the world’s first mechanical movement combining an instantaneous jumping hour, concentric retrograde minutes, retrograde date, bi-hemisphere moon phase and automatic winding.
What a difference a “.2” makes!
Whilst the twin porthole dials are still the focal point – with the jumping hours in an aperture for the first time – the watch’s personality has changed completely. Gone is the science-fiction look of the original. Silberstein says that he wanted Horological Machine No2.2 to combine the pure geometry of the Bauhaus with the user-friendliness of the miniature box cameras of the 1940s.
The rectangular case is carved out of a solid block of titanium, resting on the original substructure. This multi-layered construction gives the watch its powerful, richly engineered profile. The simplicity of the case itself is deceptive: Alain Silberstein works with the light, like a diamond-cutter, to achieve a play of mat and polished surfaces when the watch is worn.
The titanium case is treated with an exclusive PVD coating incorporating silicium, resulting in a soft touch and particularly intense black color. The vibrant red numerals, markers and hands are coated in Superluminova for easy night reading. All the characters on the twin displays were designed by Alain Silberstein. Even the moon’s expressive face was inspired by a treasured cartoon from the Art Nouveau period.
Inspirations great and small
The brief to Alain Silberstein was typical of MB&F’s creative approach. Explaining the project, Maximilian Büsser says, “I simply gave Alain the watch and said: “Enjoy yourself! And he caught me completely off balance. He produced a black box, where I was expecting something very colorful!” This makes Alain Silberstein chuckle. “The truth is, when I saw the original case of Horological Machine No2 the miniature box cameras of the 1940s flashed into my mind. The portholes reminded me of the lens. I decided to construct a new personality for the watch, combining the user-friendliness of those cameras and the discipline of the Bauhaus movement.”
The pleasure of working together
Inscribed in the side of the case are the words: “Le vrai bonheur est d’avoir sa passion pour métier” (“True happiness is having one’s passion for a profession”). That is Alain Silberstein’s motto, and he found his soul mates in MB&F. He says that the whole point was the pleasure of working together, and Maximilian Büsser agrees. “Alain is a true artist, but he never takes himself too seriously. He has kept that childlike spirit of adventure, and that is something that we at MB&F hold dear”.
Alain Silberstein (pictured right) is French and his workshop is in Besancon. He trained as an interior architect and designer, but quickly turned his talents to high-end watch design. His masterly handling of geometry and colour translates into collections that sparkle with inventiveness and wit. Maximilian Büsser first spotted his work 20 years ago, when overtaking a BMW Z1, whose doors were down revealing the driver’s giant black chronograph. The look and size of that chronograph – years ahead of its time – decided MB&F’s future founder to keep a close eye on its creator, and he has done so ever since. According to Maximilian Büsser: “Every year, Alain Silberstein’s collections surprise me. He is a true artist, but he never takes himself too seriously. He has kept that childlike spirit, and that is something that we at MB&F hold dear”. A. Silberstein Website
A little over four years ago, Maximilian Büsser (pictured left) left what was considered a dream job, as head of Harry Winston Timepieces, in order to set up MB&F, a company dedicated solely to designing and crafting small series of radical concept watches in collaboration with talented professionals. Or, as he says: “To letting my guts speak instead of my head” – a spirit shared by all the independent craftsmen, engineers and watchmakers who collaborate on his projects. Maximilian is half Swiss and half Indian and believes that this explains his constant drive to combine flawless traditional quality with creative imagination run wild. Horological Machines Nos. 1, 2 and 3 are the fine results to date. MB&F Website
Related MB&F, Max Busser, and Horological Machine Posts-->LINK
New from MB&F - A Teaser for the New Horological Machine Coming in a Few Weeks
Published: October 15,
2009 | 04:47
Any Guesses? My first instinct was that it could be a Joan Mirólogical Machine or even better, an Alexander Calder inspired timepiece...I mean how cool would Calder's mobiles be in the miniature world of a watch? Ha... I actually know but I'm not telling until it is released on October 29th, stay tuned and see future teases here or at the Maximilian Büsser & Friends website.
Below is the first visual teaser/hint MB&F is providing...
Barbed Wire & Butterflies - MB&F HM2 Piece Unique by Artist Sage Vaughn for Only Watch 2009
Published: June 08,
2009 | 12:23
There is a butterfly trapped in the movement of the latest watch to emerge from MB&F (Maximilian Büsser & Friends). And it has no hope of escaping, because the complicated movement is wrapped in barbed wire. This emotionally charged piece, a one-of-a-kind interpretation of MB&F’s Horological Machine No.2, is signed by the American artist Sage Vaughn.
Video from the New York WENY presentation (July 16th, 2009)
It will be auctioned at Only Watch, the charity auction to benefit research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy to be held in Monaco on 24 September 2009 under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II.
The auction is held every two years and brings together the cream of Switzerland’s haute horlogerie watchmakers. Each contributes a unique watch, or the number one from a limited series, to be auctioned without a reserve price. All the proceeds from Only Watch go to enabling the Monegasque Association against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (AMM) to support international research projects into that disease – a field in which the Association has been actively involved since 2005.
"State Penn" by Sage Vaughn
The inspiration for the watch
Büsser and his team were, as he says, “shocked into” creating a piece of horology for the Only Watch event, and were determined that their timepiece should convey that emotion. But horology has its limits. How could it be used to express the beauty and vulnerability of childhood, and the valiant struggle of a child who may well be in a wheelchair before he is twelve?
There are no coincidences in life, and at the time, a new gallery in Geneva was given over entirely to the work of Sage Vaughn, an American painter and former graffiti artist whose solo show in New York last summer had been one of the art world’s most talked-about events. This young artist has fought and conquered his own demon – a seven-year heroin addiction – and the pain of that struggle is felt in the emotional power of his work. The images of gaily-dressed children or bright birds or butterflies putting on a brave front against bleak urban backgrounds had haunted Max Büsser. He had bought one of the art works, a baseball bat adorned with a collage of butterflies, pinned down by nails. Here was the tension between light-hearted innocence and something darker that he was seeking.
Sage Vaughn in his studio
A trip to the US proved him right. Sage Vaughn understood the mission at once and immediately proposed to donate his time and talent. Max Büsser came back with the initial sketch for the watch, and the result is faithful to it. The entire upper face of the watch – the surface of the rectangular case and the two projecting portholes – is crafted in sapphire crystal, revealing the HM2’s complex engine. The hundreds of minute components display the meticulous hand finish that is MB&F’s hallmark. But they are imprisoned in barbed wire. A blue butterfly struggles to escape from the same fate, but its wings are clipped. In the finished work, the barbed wire is handcrafted in blackened gold and the butterfly in blued gold. But the scene has all the emotional power of the first rough by Sage Vaughn – a pencil sketch of the movement criss-crossed by barbed wire drawn in red pencil.
The watch is a unique interpretation of Horological Machine No2, launched as limited series in 2008. HM2 typifies the radical approach to high-end horology taken by Max Büsser and his Friends. It is a high-tech time machine of the twenty-first century and an incredibly sophisticated micromechanical work of art. It houses the world’s first mechanical movement – “engine” in MB&F language – to offer an instantaneous jumping hour, concentric retrograde minutes, retrograde date hand, a bi-hemisphere moon phase and automatic winding. The case alone contains more than 100 parts – more than many complete movements – and is the most complex case in watchmaking history. Altogether the watch has over 450 components.
"Reseda Butterfly" by Sage Vaughn
About Sage Vaughn
Sage Vaughn was born in Jackson, Oregon in 1976 and grew up in Reseda, California. He now lives and works in Los Angeles.
As a child he developed his talent for art in the company of his father, the artist Richard Smitty Vaughn Junior. His father would take him to the Los Angeles zoo, where they would sit all day, sketching the animals. His hippie parents had little money for toys, but they encouraged him to draw and to develop his own style. Later, he became an avid participant in the graffiti culture.
Today he favours painting, but the city of his graffiti days is ever present in his work. It is shown in its least flattering light, in the grey walls and stylised cityscapes and freeways that form an austere backdrop to his vibrant foreground figures. He has also preserved the same free and easy touch and energy. This is most visible in the paint runs used in certain areas of his work.
“I try to utilise animals in the same way that Aesop did in his fables”
Sage Vaughn’s paintings question the human condition and the difficulty of living in a contemporary environment. The bright birds and insects serve as an affirmation of life, but they also remind us of our strategies for survival in a modern society. Imperceptible at first glance, black tattoos in the birds’ plumage spell out the names of gangs or codes. They evoke the individual’s need for recognition, but also a subculture, linked in the collective conscience to violence and rebellion in the streets.
“It is easier for an observer to project into the countenance of a child”
Sometimes, children replace the birds in the foreground. Not yet formatted by society, they seem to have the energy to survive and reinvent the world. Sporting masks and brightly coloured costumes, they look like superheroes. Yet there is nothing joyous or innocent about them. Each is desperately alone, abandoned in a hostile setting.
The message could thus be seen as a bitter one: the American dream of bucolic happiness is shattered.
Sage Vaughn likes to cloud the issue, however, and scramble what might be seen as clear cut. His paintings do not stop at that admission of failure. To live is, of course, difficult but the simple fact of being alive brings hope. In the wake of Melville, whose novels the painter admires, Vaughn knows that even during war, birds do continue to sing and children to play.
Being Maximilian Büsser And Friends
The founder of MB&F says that he created a business model around his neurosis. He was an only child who grew up longing to surround himself with people that he could admire. His parents – his father Swiss, his mother Indian – were “too much in love” to provide the company that he craved, and, left to himself, he developed a rich imaginary life. This led to constant injunctions, at home and at school, to be more reasonable and responsible, and the little boy grew up imbued with his father’s rigorous principles and sense of duty.
It was only when his father passed away, seven years ago, that he felt free to become unreasonable again. “There are two occasions when you become conscious of mortality”, he says. “When you have a child, and when a parent dies.” That prompted him to leave what he admits was a dream job, as head of Harry Winston Timepieces, and form MB&F (Maximilian Büsser and Friends), a company dedicated solely to designing and crafting small series of radical concept watches in collaboration with talented professionals. Or, as he says: “Letting my guts speak instead of my head”. That spirit is shared by all the independent craftsmen, engineers and watchmakers who collaborate on his projects.
Joining the battle to save children from muscular dystrophy
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a serious genetic disorder that affects one in every 3,500 boys. It is characterised by a progressive weakening of the muscles, resulting in respiratory and cardiac problems that become fatal as the child gets older. In Europe there are around 30,000 sufferers of the disease.
As yet there is no cure for the disease, but considerable progress is being made. One of the most important breakthroughs is the development of Saut d’Exon – a surgical technique that enables the cellular machinery to “forget” to read that part of the gene that carries the abnormality of the illness. This technique was developed by Luis Garcia, Head of Research at CNRS, and his team. Mr Garcia is a key player in the field of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He and his group are among the 20 research teams that have benefited from AMM’s financial support.
The role of childhood in MB&F’s creations
Maximilian Büsser knew that he would participate the moment he spoke to Luc Pettavino, the President of AMM. “At my age,” he says, (he is 42), “if I contract a serious illness I can say that I have already lived a full life, but for a child just starting out, it is a tragedy”.
Whilst he would never claim to understand the suffering of a child with this disease, childhood holds a special importance for him. For all their sophistication, the lovingly crafted time machines that he dreams up and creates with his Friends have their roots in his earliest years.
The case of Horological Machine No2 is the most complex case in the history of watchmaking, but its modular structure is inspired by the meccano model kits that were his toys. The 22-karat gold automatic rotor has the jewel-like hand-finish reserved for the elite of traditional watch movements, but it owes its iconic sickle shape to the double-headed battleaxe wielded by his childhood comic hero, Grendizer. All the great sci-fi TV series – Star Trek, Thunderbird, Dr Who and Star Wars – have played a role in MB&F’s creations. 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.
Movement: Jean-Marc Wiederrecht/Agenhor designed functionality regulated and powered by a Girard-Perregaux oscillator and gear train. Blued 22K gold Battle Ax automatic winding rotor Balance oscillating at 28,800 bph
Number of components: 349 including 44 jewels
Functions: Left dial: Retrograde Date and Bi-Hemisphere Moon Phase Right Dial: Jumping Hours and Concentric Retrograde Minutes
Sage Vaughn sculpture: Blackened 18K gold barbed wire which imprisons the movement, symbol of the illness capturing the body. Blued 18K butterfly on movement bridge, symbol of innocence and childhood.
Case: Piece unique – 18K white gold/titanium with sapphire “double dome” glass Dimensions (exclusive of crown and lugs): 59mm x 38mm x 13mm Water resistant to 30 meters (3 ATM)
Sapphire crystals: Dial side with anti-reflective treatment on both faces. Display back signed by Sage Vaughn.
Dials: Brushed sapphire for minutes and date, Black disks for hours and moon phase.
Number of parts (Movement & Case): 439 parts
Strap & Buckle: Black hand-stitched alligator with 18K gold and titanium custom designed deployant buckle.
How does Only Watch work? Swiss haute de gamme watch companies each produce a unique watch or the first (No 1) of a limited series to be offered (without a reserve price) at this exceptional auction. Patrizzi & Co Auctioneers will be taking these watches on a promotional preview tour during late summer/early autumn 2009.
The Only Watch auction will then take place on 24 September 2009 in Monaco during the 19th Monaco Yacht Show. Participating watch brands 2009 Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, BNB Concept, Bovet Fleurier, Breguet Montres, Cartier, Corum Montres, De Bethune, Delacour, Franck Muller, Frederique Constant, Glashuette Uhrenbertrieb, Hermes, Hublot, Jaquet Droz, Louis Vuitton, Maximilian Buesser & Friends, Mont Blanc, Omega, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Richard Mille, Swatch, Tag Heuer, Tourneau Timepieces, Ulysse Nardin, Urwerk, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels, Zenith International. Source: Patrizzi & Co Auctioneers www.patrizziauction.com
Black Power! Limited Edition MB&F Horological Machine No. 1
Published: March 10,
2009 | 18:21
Horological Machine No1 - Black and Rose Gold
The Final Editions
In 2006, MB&F presented Horological Machine No1 (HM1): a groundbreaking wristwatch that both launched MB&F and introduced the world to the then radical concept of three-dimensional kinetic sculpture as timekeeping machines. To pay homage to the end of this pivotal model, MB&F have crafted two final stunning variations, each in a very limited series of only ten pieces: HM1-Black and HM1-RS.
HM1-Black offers the ultimate in contrasts with its white gold case shrouded by a veil of coal-black. The subdued dark, though eye-catching in itself, offers the perfect foil for the burst of light that radiates from the dial. The blackened tourbillon cage allows the eye to glide past deep into the movement, while the bright blue of both the hands and the solid gold rotor provides a brilliant splash of color in an otherwise two-tone landscape.
HM1-RS features a red gold case that highlights the architecturally inspired and artistically sculptured three-dimensional case, and an intriguing transparent dial allows visual access to the top of the meticulously finished movement. The dial is ‘intriguing’ because, depending on the angle of view, it can change from being completely transparent to acting as a highly reflective now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t mirror.
Both HM1-Black and HM1-RS feature hours and minutes on separate dials, a raised central one-minute tourbillon, a seven-day power reserve, four mainspring barrels and both automatic and manual winding.
The hours and minutes are indicated on their respective etched-sapphire bridges augmented by precision laser-cut applied numerals, and a rotating disk indicates the seven-day power reserve on the right-hand dial.
An extra-wide custom tapered strap, complemented by a bespoke buckle, completes the timepiece.
Exclusive is hardly the right word for these two extremely limited editions of just 10 pieces each.
First Look at the HM3 - Horological Machine No 3 Starcruiser & Sidewinder!
Published: October 14,
2008 | 21:01
I was lucky enough to be one of the first people in the world to see the latest from Maximilian Büsser & Friends this morning. Max and Stephen Hallock of MB&F met me for breakfast at NYC's Brasserie to unveil the coolest Horological Machines yet. I hate to use one word to describe the HM3 Sidewinder and Starcruiser, but here it is... WOW.
Summed up, this watch has two variations. The red gold Starcruiser (above) and white gold Sidewinder (below) with two sapphire cones rising up from the case to reveal hours and day/night indicator and the other cone for minutes - transmitted via ceramic ball bearings to laser-cut hands and visible as a drivers style watch, on the side. Each watch shown here displays 10:45 am.
But what really sets it apart is the fact the movement with automatic rotor is upside down! No more turning your watch over to show off its most essential element. The signature Grendizer battle axe rotor swings wildly under each dome adding to the many layers of the most dimensionally effective Horological Machine to date.
The date wheel surrounds the movement through each dome and indicated by an arrow cut into the case.
Two styles are available in both red gold and white gold. The Starcruiser has both cones on the inside of your wrist and the Sidewinder with cones vertically next to your hand. Both are read easily without turning your wrist. Great when you're driving so fast you can't take your eyes off the road...or sky.
See Also; All Max Busser & MB&F Posts-->Link Press release; Horological Machine No3
Warning! Horological Machine No3 (HM3) is so far outside existing timekeeping references that it may cause sensory overload. The mind first attempts to take in the kinetically active movement, paradoxically seen in all its glory on the top of the watch and partially circumscribed by a ring of large numerals. However before that information can be processed it is assailed yet again, this time by twin cones rising majestically from the sculptured three-dimensional case. No wonder many struggle to reconcile the reality that this dynamic sculpture is actually a highly technical wristwatch that tells the time and date.
Welcome to the world of MB&F! Individualists demand choice, so HM3 is available in two versions: ‘Sidewinder’, with cones lined perpendicular to the arm and ‘Starcruiser’, with cones in line with the arm. Each version has its own very distinct visual characteristics and each offers its own angle on telling the time.
The twin cones respectively indicate hours and minutes, with the hour cone capped by a day/night indicator. An over-sized date wheel allows for large, legible numbers with the date indicated by a neatly engraved triangle on its perimeter. However, it is the spectacular open-air theatre presented by the finely finished movement, with its swinging battle-axe shaped automatic rotor and fast oscillating balance wheel, which mesmerises the eye and astounds the senses. Turning the watch over reveals the technical secret behind HM3’s inverted movement: two large high-tech ceramic bearings efficiently transmitting power up to the cones and date wheel.
After decades learning and conforming to the corporate rules of watchmaking, Maximilian Büsser broke the chains and started a rebellion - a rebellion called MB&F. MB&F is an artistic and micro-engineering concept laboratory in which collectives of independent horological professionals are assembled each year to design and craft radical Horological Machines. The ramifications of these audacious projects are profound. Respecting tradition but not shackled by it, MB&F fuses traditional high-quality watchmaking with cutting-edge technology to create three-dimensional kinetic sculptures.
Horological Machine No3 is the third chapter in the story of MB&F’s horological revolution; it is a story of adventure, of excitement and of passion.
“The Earth is a cradle of the mind, but we cannot live forever in a cradle.” -Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky, Father of Russian Astronautics, 1896.
Inspiration and Realization: Horological Machine No3 was developed to display the machine’s beautifully finished movement in operation. Harmoniously crafted bridges, rapidly oscillating balance wheel, gearing and distinctive battle-axe shaped automatic winding rotor are all open to view. This allows the wearer to fully appreciate the art and craft that makes up HM3 and draws the viewer’s gaze inside the highly complex machine; a machine comprising more than 300 fine-finished, high-precision components.
The movement of HM3 has been literally turned upside down to allow for an uninterrupted panorama of the solid gold winding rotor’s graceful arcs and the high-speed oscillations of the balance wheel. Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, winner of the inaugural award for Best Watchmaker at the 2007 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, was entrusted with turning the drawings and designs of Max Büsser and designer Eric Giroud into horological reality and, with his team at Agenhor, he not only met but surpassed the challenge.
White gold Starcruiser
Starcruiser and Sidewinder: MB&F’s Horological Machines are for individualists who demand art, craft, excellence, exclusivity . . . and choice. To cater to these demanding aficionados, Horological Machine No3 is available in two versions: ‘Sidewinder’, with its cones lined perpendicular to the arm and ‘Starcruiser’, with its cones in line with the arm. Just like their potential owners, each is very special, each is very different.
Red Gold Sidewinder
Indications: The three-dimensional time-indicating cones allow for telling the time at a glance, whether driving or typing; however, the fact that nothing like them had ever been attempted before in horology posed considerable challenges. The top caps of the truncated cones are brazed (not glued) to ensure maximum water-resistance and the red ‘hands’ of the hour and minute indicators had to be cut by laser to obtain the incredibly high precision with minimum mass that the design necessitated.
The over-sized date wheel is actually a larger diameter than the movement, a fact that allows for very legible and well spaced 2.5mm high numbers. A neat triangle engraved into the top of the case marks the date.
Exposed automatic rotor, domes and hands
Mystery Rotor: the prominence of the 22K solid gold battle-axe shaped rotor on the dial of HM3 is certain to increase the recognition of this already iconic MB&F symbol. The rotor is a ‘mystery’ because it appears to defy the laws of physics in being symmetrically balanced instead of having a visibly off-centred mass. This is achieved by machining the underside of one arm to a razor-thin edge so reducing its mass.
“The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” -Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Horological Machine No3 Technical Innovations:
Ceramic Bearings: Time indications are usually located on the top, or dial side, of a movement. As the movement of HM3 is inverted to display its operation, an efficient solution was needed to bring power from the bottom of the movement to the timekeeping cones and date wheel at the top. Standard pinions set in jewels would have required complex, friction-generating gearing, and would require support top and bottom – a factor which would increase the height of the movement, and thus the watch. So instead of standard jewelled pinions, HM3 features two large-diameter (15mm) high-tech ceramic bearings. These minimize the number of gear-wheels (and thus friction) because of their large diameter and, as they only require support at one end (the base) due to the rigidity resulting from their ultra-high precision design and manufacture, they allow for a thinner movement.
Large Date: The over-sized date ring has a diameter larger than the movement. While the design allows for large (2.5mm high) easy-to-read numbers, the considerable distance between each number, while aiding legibility, required great ingenuity in enabling the date to be adjusted. Technical constraints in using the crown to operate the date meant that a pusher was called for; however, a pusher has an approximate travel of only 1mm – far short of the 4mm needed to move the date wheel from one day to the next. An ingenious system of amplifying the pusher’s travel was developed using efficient gearing to multiply by four the distance travelled by the pusher.
Sapphire cones: Three-dimensional cones have never been used to display time before, and no wonder as their manufacture was said to be impossible. Fortunately the impossible just took a little longer. The difficulty lay not in actually fabricating the cones, but in polishing the interior of their (originally) translucent surface until transparent. The caps of the truncated cones are brazed (a high temperature soldering technique) to their gold rims, a technique which is aesthetically pleasing and ensures a solid and waterproof construction.
Screw heads: Perfection lies in the details, form follows function. Those two statements explain both the reason MB&F has gone to the effort of redesigning the slots of the case screws and their unusual cloverleaf shape. Sharp-edge shaped screw slots require sharp-edge shaped screwdrivers, a tool tailor-made for scratching polished gold screws. The rounded cloverleaf pattern in the head of HM3 screws is not only pleasing to the eye, it reduces the chances of damage to the screw. Horological Machines are micro-mechanical works of art and demand that each and every component both looks superb and functions impeccably.
Case and finish: Though totally original in design, the double indications, idiosyncratic play of matt and polished finished surfaces, iconic mystery rotor and slope-sided case ensure that HM3 is unmistakeably, 100 per cent pure Horological Machine.
"Traveling through hyper-space ain't like dustin' crops, boy." Han Solo in Star Wars
Three-dimensional horological engine designed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht/Agenhor; Girard-Perregaux oscillator and gear Balance oscillating at 28,800 bph. 22k rose gold battle-axe shaped ‘mystery’ automatic winding rotor Hour and minutes information transmitted via ceramic ball bearings to laser-cut hands.
Number of jewels: 36 (all functional) Number of components: 304 Functions:
Hour and day/night indicator on one cone Minutes on second cone Date around the movement
2 versions: Starcruiser (cones in line with arm) Sidewinder (cones perpendicular to arm)
Both versions available in 18k white gold/ titanium or 18k red gold/titanium. Screwed-down crown Dimensions (exclusive of crown and lugs): 47mm x 50mm x 16mm Number of case components: 53 - Starcruiser , 57 - Sidewinder
Cones and both display backs with anti-reflective treatment on both faces. Strap & Buckle:
Black hand-stitched alligator with 18k gold and titanium custom designed deployment buckle.
'Friends' responsible for Horological Machine No3
Concept: Maximilian Büsser/MB&F
Product Design: Eric Giroud – Eric Giroud Design Studio
Technical and Production Management: Serge Kriknoff/MB&F
Movement Development: Jean-Marc Wiederrecht/Agenhor, Nicolas Stalder/Agenhor
Movement manufacturing: Georges Auer/Mecawatch, Salvatore Ferrarotto/APR Quality
Ceramic ball bearings: Patrice Parietti/MPS
Movement assemblage: Didier Dumas/MB&F, Gilles Dalloz/Agenhor
Case and buckle construction and production: Philippe Marti, Dominique Mainier and Stéphane Lhomme of G.F.Châtelain
Sapphire cones: Sébastien Sangsue and Grégory Esseric/Sebal, Peter Bloesch/Bloesch
Dials: François Bernhard and Denis Parel of Nateber
Hands: Pierre Chillier, Isabelle Chillier and Félix Celetta of Fiedler
Graphic Design - Alban Thomas and Gérald Moulière of GVA Studio Product Photography - Maarten van der Ende Display Architecture - Frédéric Legendre/Lekoni Portrait Photography - Régis Golay/Federal Webmasters - Stéphane Balet and Guillaume Schmitz of Sumo Interactive Texts - Ian Skellern Project Manager - Estelle Tonelli/MB&F
MB&F - The Genesis of a Concept Laboratory
The projects that gave Maximilian Büsser the most pleasure and personal satisfaction during his seven year tenure as head of Harry Winston Timepieces, were those working with talented independent watchmakers on the exciting Opus series watches. An idea for his own personal utopia emerged; that of creating a company dedicated solely to designing and crafting small series of radical concept watches in collaboration with talented professionals he both respected and enjoyed working with. The entrepreneur in Büsser brought the idea to reality.
MB&F is not a watch brand, it is an artistic and micro-engineering concept laboratory in which collectives of independent horological professionals are assembled each year to design and craft radical Horological Machines. Respecting tradition without being shackled by it enables MB&F to act as a catalyst in fusing traditional high-quality watchmaking with cutting-edge technology and avant-garde three-dimensional sculpture.
MB&F is independent people creating for independent people.
Biography– Maximilian Büsser
Maximilian Büsser was born in Milan, Italy, before moving at an early age to Lausanne, Switzerland where he spent his youth. Growing up in a multi-cultural environment and family - his father was a Swiss diplomat who met his mother, an Indian national, in Bombay - led Büsser to develop a cross-cultural broad-based approach to his life and to business.
In July 2005, at the age of 38, Maximilian created the world’s first horological Concept Brand: MB&F (Maximilian Büsser & Friends) in which he is now partnered with Serge Kriknoff. Büsser's dream with MB&F is to have his own brand dedicated to developing radical horological concepts by working in small hyper-creative groups composed of people he enjoys working with. MB&F presented its first timepiece, Horological Machine No. 1 (HM1), in 2006and followed that up with HM2 in 2007 and HM3 in 2008, and Büsser has more radical machines in the development pipeline.
Entrepreneurship is Maximilian Büsser's forte. In 1998 and only 31 years old, he was appointed managing director of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces in Geneva. During his seven years there Büsser developed the company into a fully-fledged and well respected haute horlogerie brand by developing the strategy, products, marketing and worldwide distribution, whilst integrating design, R&D and manufacturing in house. The results were a 900% increase in turnover and the positioning of Harry Winston as one of the leaders in this very competitive segment.
Prior to Harry Winston, Maximilian Büsser's love for high-end horology was strongly imprinted by his first employer, Jaeger-LeCoultre. During his seven years in the senior management team during the 1990s, JLC strongly increased its profile and multiplied its turnover by a factor of ten. Büsser's responsibilities at Jaeger-LeCoultre ranged from Product Management & Development to Sales & Marketing for Europe.
Maximilian graduated in 1991 with a Masters in Micro technology Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne.
Maximilian Busser's Horological Machine No.3 (HM3) is on the horizon and you'll see it unveiled here. For now, we must wonder what the two crater-like domes might contain. This pair appears to be very well hung.
MB&F introduces Limited Edition Titanium Horological Machine No.1 - The HM1 Ti
Published: March 25,
2008 | 15:14
I had a blast trying on a MB&F HM1 (and HM2!) late last year and decided to buy one if Max would give me an installment plan of $100 a month for 1500 months. Sadly, I am still sans Horological Machine.
But now I have my heart set on the Ti, a just-announced limited edition of ten HM1 in Titanium casing. Maybe a layaway plan this time Max?
From Max just a few hours ago... "We will be unveiling on September 7th HM1-Ti, a very special 10 piece limited edition of “Horological Machine No1” . Out of the 100 HM1 movements to be crafted between 2007 and 2009, only 10 will conjugate this amazing Titanium case (a real feat to achieve) with a new sapphire dial partially unveiling the Tourbillon system and the amazing hour/minute floating synchronizing wheel."
HM1-Ti is an extremely sophisticated timepiece on many levels: visually, technically and emotionally. As much, if not more, art and sculpture as micro-engineering.
HM1-Ti is an avant-garde three-dimensional timekeeping machine broken free from constraints imposed by traditional horology.
The relatively light weight belies the architectural volume of HM1-Ti's grade 5 titanium case; a case whose complex modular construction enables every part to be independently refurbished.
The radical three-dimensionality of the case construction may turn heads; however, the totally original and highly intricate movement inside, with its 376 parts and 81 functional jewels, ensures that HM1-Ti will turn minds as well.
The challenge of applying a variety of multi-faceted fine finishes to the difficult-to-work titanium has been rewarded by the vibrant juxtaposition of light reflecting off the contrasting highly polished and matte-satin surfaces.
An extra-wide custom tapered strap, complemented by a bespoke white gold and titanium folding buckle, completes the timepiece and reinforces the highly technical nature of the case.
HM1-Ti is a limited edition of 10 pieces
Movement: Raised central one-minute tourbillon, separate hours and minutes, seven-day power reserve. Balance oscillating at 28,800 bph. Automatic winding. Four mainspring barrels in parallel. Number of jewels: 81 (all functional). Number of parts: 376 (including jewels).
Functions: Left dial: Hours Right Dial: Minutes and Seven-Day Power Reserve
Case: Titanium Grade 5 - Limited Edition of 10. Dimensions: length 41mm, width 64mm, height 14mm. Number of parts: 48.
Sapphire crystals: Dial side with anti-reflective treatment on both faces. Display back with anti-reflective treatment on single face.
Dial: Open dial with etched sapphire Hour and Minute bridges. Power reserve displayed by rotating disk.
Strap & Buckle: Extra wide black hand-stitched alligator strap with white gold/titanium folding buckle.
Presentation box: Bespoke ETRO pin-stripe flannel and leather designer carry bag hosting the presentation box. See Also; All Horological Machine Posts-->Link