What a delight it is to revisit MB&F – Maximilian Büsser and his legion of friends are always sure to bring a sense of frivolity to the, sometimes, austere world of watches. These collaborations are always a treat to discover in person, should you be so lucky!
MB&F started off the year with a bang at SIHH, having partnered for the second time with independent watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva in five years. Together, they unveiled the MoonMachine 2, which boasted the world’s very first projected moon phase that shows off the beauty of natural moonlight, though in actual fact, it relies on projected sunlight seeing as the moon doesn’t radiate any light on its own. The case is a stripped-down HM8, which highlighted the illusory qualities of the projected hours and minutes; a technique the MoonMachine 2 employs to accentuate the visual effect of the moon disc. This projection is made possible thanks to an optical prism which deflects the hours, minutes and moon discs in a vertical nature. A pusher allows for easy adjustments of the moon phase display, and Sarpaneva’s signature golden moon is seen on the openworked radial titanium web.
The following months saw MB&F on a steady pace. The next month in February, the LM Perpetual made a reappearance in Titanium Green, remaining one of MB&F’s most complicated pieces to date. It’s a watch for which pictures don’t do justice; to examine it in person was mesmerizing. The perpetual calendar mechanism was designed by an Irish watchmaker named Stephen McDonnell, and like its two previous versions, boasts the same 581-part movement, which includes an oversized balance wheel the Legacy Machines are known for. An arresting combination of titanium case with green dial brought new life to this well sought-after piece.
Baselworld brought some giggles. As I sat down for my one-on-one presentation, I could not hide my amusement when The Fifth Element was plopped down in front of me. MB&F turned to its faithful partner in crime… or clocks, as it were; L’Epée 1839, to create a desktop weather station, because who wouldn’t need one? A clock, barometer, hygrometer and thermometer in one, you will notice when leaning in closely that this entire piece is controlled by a small alien named Ross.
Alien desk clocks don’t float your boat? Plunge into the abyss with the HM7 Aquapod Titanium Green, coming to life in its third iteration. A flying tourbillon in an oversized case that resembles a jellyfish from the side? Sign me up. The interplay between the two sapphire domes, along with a gap between the bezel and case, leaves a tourbillon mysteriously floating on top.
Büsser himself flew in to introduce to us the HM9 Flow, which took cues from the lines of aircraft and automobiles of the 1940s to 1950s. Though similar to the Tunderbolt, which also had automobile influences, it lacks the same flat, rigid center, replacing it with a conical center. Time is read on a gauge on the side of the watch and “engine” can be observed from above.
To cap off a stellar year, the Legacy Machine family is revisited, with the LM2 Purple. First launched in 2013, the LM is one of the most coveted pieces in MB&F’s artillery to date, and houses one of the rarest complications in horology: the dual regulator, which was created by award-winning watchmaker Jean-François Mojon and is visible through a domed sapphire crystal. A rich purple dial adds flair and sophistication to this already distinctive piece.