Maximilian Büsser and Friends, normally shortened down to MB&F, is a Swiss watch brand founded by Maximilian Busser in July 2005 and based in Geneva, Switzerland. After graduating with a master’s degree in micro-technology engineering, Maximilian Büsser’s first employer was Jaeger-LeCoultre where he spent seven years in their senior management team during a period of change and strong growth.
Büsser was appointed managing director of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces in 1998. During his seven years there he transformed the company into a well-respected haute horlogerie brand. Working with talented independent watchmakers on the revolutionary Opus series of timepieces planted the seed for developing that concept further still.
In 2005 Büsser resigned from Harry Winston to form MB&F – Maximilian Büsser & Friends—with the ethos of acknowledging the contribution of the individuals who contributed to each project.
A lifetime car aficionado, MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser first channelled the visual cues of the mid 20th century in the 2014 HM6 Space Pirate, particularly in its ‘Streamliner’ SV editions. This year, MB&F goes even further and presents one of its most ambitious designs yet.
Yesterday MB&F released a new machine, the HM9. The new Horological Machine can be described only with superlatives. The HM9 wears the clear signatures of Maximilian Büsser and Friends. Horological Machine N°9 ‘Flow’ debuts in two titanium editions limited to 33 pieces each: – the ‘Air’ edition comes with a dark movement and aviator-style dial; – the ‘Road’ edition has a rose gold plated movement and a classic speedometer-style dial. Below the integral press release.
The Horological Machines from MB&F, of which this is the ninth, are about the furthest things from conventional watches and watchmaking that you can imagine. In the years since the first Machine came out (HM1 debuted in 2007) the Horological Machines have come in a bewildering variety of shapes and inspirations, from the bulbous convexity of the HM3 ‘Frog’ to the flying saucer-shaped HM7 ‘Aquapod’, to the most recent, automotive-inspired HM8 ‘Can Am’. Each of the Machines is essentially an act of horological deconstruction and recreation – the elements of a traditional wristwatch are re-engineered in order to produce a new kind of time-telling device that also doubles as wrist-wearable art.
Horological Machine No.9 ‘Flow’ is audacious in its design, not simply because of its unconventional form, but because of the extremes to which it takes this form. Mould-breaking, transgressive case shapes are nothing new to the MB&F Horological Machine collection, but HM9 has rejected all limits. Its extreme curves and acute angles required new manufacturing standards and techniques to obtain a complete milled and finished case.
MB&F produces high horological art, but the Machines are also deliberately playful, and intended to evoke a certain kind of nostalgic reverence for a child’s imagination. The newest Horological Machine, the ‘Flow’, celebrates the visual poetry of streamlined cars and aircraft of the 1940s and 1950s, in the days before, as MB&F says, ” … a time well before wind tunnels and CAD software imposed their hard logic and restrained creativity”.
The general design language of MB&F has reached, over the last 20 years, a certain kind of maturity and there is an assurance in the general variety of forms used in HM9 that will be familiar to long-time observers of MB&F’s work. There has always a bit of a Golden Age Of Sci-Fi vibe to the Horological Machines and HM9 is no different, with its twin lateral pods somewhat evocative (if you’re a Star Wars fan) of the iconic twin-pod Cloud Cars seen zipping around the airborne city of Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back.
Two satin-finished air scoops are mounted alongside the pods containing the oscillating balance wheels, evoking the raised vents that allow continuous airflow to high-performance motor engines.
However, the primary world from which the HM9 draws inspiration is the automotive realm – for scifi fans there may be echoes of Star Wars in HM9, but for automotive enthusiasts, there will also be a strong sense of the inspiration of early attempts at streamlining, such as Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion car (intended to be the ‘ground taxiing’ phase of a land-air vehicle) and more conventional, now-classic automobile’s like Pontiac’s Streamliner, which debuted in 1942.
You expect any Horological Machine to be, so to speak, symbolically multivalent and HM9 certainly evokes a myriad of designs from both real and fictional worlds, but it’s also one of the most mechanically sophisticated Horological Machines as well. Each of the twin lateral pods houses a separate balance wheel and escapement, while the central pod houses the mainspring barrel, as well as a differential, which averages the rate of the two independent balances and produces a single output for the time display.
In wristwatches, this type of mechanism was first pioneered by Philippe Dufour, in his Duality wristwatch. MB&F first used a variation on the mechanism (in which the tendency of the two balances to cancel out each other’s variations in rate is intended to produce better accuracy) in the Legacy Machine 2, but this is the first time it’s ever been employed in an Horological Machine.
HM9 will come in two variations – the Air version will have a dark movement and cockpit-instrument styled dial, while the Road version will have a rose gold-plated movement and speedometer-styled dial.
Model: Horological Machine No. 9 “Flow”
Dimensions: 57mm × 47mm × 23mm
Case Material: Grade 5 titanium
Dials: Speedometer style for the Road variant; cockpit instrument style for the Air variant
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Hand-stiched brown calf leather strap with folding titanium buckle
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 2.5 Hz (18,000 vph)
Additional Details: Two independent oscillators, coupled by a differential; hours and minutes on a vertical display
Availability: First pieces shipping now
Limited Edition: 33 of each version
Beauty doesn’t comes cheap (sometimes), with a price tag of $182,000, it’s not expensive, but a lót of money! Come into the beautiful and timeless world of MB&F.