Creativity starts when fear of disappointing stops.
In my view, to create is to accept that many will not
understand or like what you do. Young children are
wonderfully imaginative. Then parents, professors
and life teach them that they shouldn’t risk being
wrong. Sadly, over years most will abandon that incredible twinkle of audacity and conform.
A creative adult is a child who survived. This is the
leitmotiv of MB&F’s 10th anniversary, which we celebrate in 2015 – and this second Parallel Worlds is a
tribute to those survivors we salute and revere.
Maximilian Büsser
Parallel Worlds
is published by MB&F SA
Geneva, Switzerland
Editorial Team
Maximilian Büsser
Charris Yadigaroglou
Virginie Meylan
Damien Seydoux
[email protected]
Graphic Design
Printed in Switzerland
on certified
FSC ® C008839 Mix paper
8,000 copies
March 2015
Price : 15 CHF
P. 5
P. 31
P. 59
P. 77
P. 97
P. 117
P. 140
P. 142
P. 6
P. 18
P. 20
P. 26
Defying gravity
Space Pirate
Defying gravity
Written by Ian Skellern
Technical Editor
There are a lot of adjectives you can use
to describe MB&F’s Horological Machines
and I’m sure I’ve used most of them : Crazy, avant-garde, three-dimensional, wild,
monumental, radical, intergalactic, supersonic and even playful.
One adjective I’ve never used, or even
heard used in relation to any of MB&F’s
Horological Machines, is “soft”. While
some Machines have had more curves than
others, they have all had at least one too
many straight lines to be considered “soft”
by any stretch of the imagination… and
Horological Machines do stretch the imagination like nothing else !
MB&F describes HM6 Space Pirate
as “biomorphic”, which basically means
resembling a living creature, and I have
to agree. But not just any living creature
and certainly not any that might sting or
bite ; Space Pirate looks like a friendly little creature you would like to hold in the
palm of your hand and caress.
And in that sense alone, though there
are many others, Space Pirate − and by
“Pirate”, think Han Solo rather than Blackbeard − is a Horological Machine apart.
“Apart” because it looks as though it was
born and bred rather than designed and
While its biomorphic form sets HM6
in a class of its own, there is one aspect
that embeds this Machine firmly into the
MB&F family : it is full of contrasts.
HM6 may look like a soft little creature nestling on your wrist, but its organic case is crafted from aerospace quality
Grade 5 titanium and harder-than-nails
Defying gravity
Space Pirate looks like a friendly
little creature you would like
to hold in the palm of your hand
and caress. It looks as though
it was born and bred rather than
designed and manufactured.
sapphire crystal ; mirror-polished metal reflects beside more subdued matte surfaces.
The apparent simplicity of just two indications, hours and minutes, belies the incredible complexity of a 475-component movement.
Turbines usually generate power, but on
HM6 they regulate power ; and the crowns of
most watches wind the movement and / or set
the time ; one of Space Pirate’s crowns shields
its escapement.
And while Horological Machine Nº 6 is
born of fantasy and imagination, every design element serves a practical purpose.
The two spherical domes respectively
indicating hour and minutes don’t just look
sensational, they also allow for large, highly
legible numerals.
The indication domes rotate vertically at
90° to the movement − something very rarely
seen because of the complexity of the highprecision engineering involved − because
that configuration not only looks better, but
also allows for easy reading of the time from
a wide variety of angles. There is no need to
turn the wrist while driving to see the time.
Those mesmerising twin turbines grab
the eye with fast-spinning animation ; however, the faster they turn, the more air friction is generated. As the turbines are driven
Defying gravity
A second crown on HM6 opens
and closes an elegant
retractable shutter comprising
four curved titanium blades.
by the platinum mass of the iridescent green
winding rotor, the faster it turns, e.g. during
energetic activity, the more resistance the
turbines automatically generate to counteract the excessive speed. That should reduce
wear as well as look cool !
Those bulbous spheres in each corner
don’t just bulge upwards, but also down. The
spheres are largely responsible for the biomorphic shape of the case, but they also wrap
the bottom of the case around the wrist, making the Space Pirate extremely comfortable to
wear, even on smaller wrists.
A flying tourbillon, especially a central
flying tourbillon housed under a sapphire
crystal dome perched high above the movement, needs no justification ; however, the
principal reason for its inclusion on HM6 is
that under that transparent dome there is no
space for an upper support bridge and a flying
tourbillon requires no upper support bridge.
All the better to appreciate its beauty and the
ballet of its operation. The constrained space
under the dome is also the reason that the
battle-axe-shaped bridge supporting the balance wheel curves down like a nimble space
And while we are on the subject of the
protective dome shielding the flying tourbillon, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal may
well be the perfect material to let the viewer
appreciate the mechanism ; however, it lets
light into the mechanism, and light, particularly ultra-violet light, hastens the oxidation
and breakdown of lubricating oils. A second
crown on Horological Machine Nº 6 opens and
closes an elegant retractable shutter comprising four curved titanium blades. Not only
does the mechanism offer the practical benefit of maximising the efficacy of the lubrica-
tion oil, but its operation also resembles a blinking reptilian eye – a friendly reptilian, naturally.
The soft organic nature of the Space Pirate’s case
is not even broken by the lugs. Instead of the usual lugs
that are soldered or screwed to the case, a titanium band
wraps longitudinally around the centre of the case, encircling the tourbillon dome at the top of the case and
the display back below. This band both adds to the structural integrity of the case and supports the hinged lugs,
to which the strap is attached. That strap, by the way, is
calf-skin that has been moulded to complement the threedimensionality of the case.
As enticing as the shape and feel of HM6’s biotic form is, especially when coupled with the animated
tourbillon, spinning turbines and retractable tourbillon
shield, they all play second fiddle to what is really the
highlight of the Space Pirate : its movement, or “Engine”
in MB&F parlance.
Defying gravity
The apparent simplicity
of just two indications, hours
and minutes, belies the
incredible complexity of
a 475-component movement.
Not surprisingly, the movement was conceived, designed and developed, especially and
exclusively for HM6. Nothing off the shelf, every
component and mechanism is bespoke. The flying
tourbillon escapement, already one of the most
exacting of regulators to produce, is even more so
by its position high above the movement. The hour
and minute indications are not only positioned at
two extremities of the movement, a factor which
in itself adds to the micro-engineering required,
but they also rotate 90° to the plane of the gear
train and so necessitated sophisticated bevelcut gearing to maximise efficiency and minimise
transmission power loss. The twin turbines are
connected by a separate gear train to the automatic winding rotor,
meaning that when it turns, they turn. So far so simple ; however, to
ensure that the turbines don’t just turn, but also spin quickly, MB&F
have added intermediate gearing so that the rotations of the rotor
are amplified in the turbines.
Horological Machine Nº 6 Space Pirate is MB&F’s most sophisticated machine to date. It’s also, to my mind, MB&F’s most friendly
machine to date. Friendly in the sense of pleasing, even relaxing
to look at, and friendly in the sense of comfortable to wear. But
make no mistake about it, HM6 is pure Horological Machine and
behind that puppy-dog allure lays a tough skin of titanium and sapphire covering an incredibly complex and beautifully hand-finished
movement. And if you think I’m stretching credibility in describing
Space Pirate as a living creature, just wait until you see it blink !
photographe Iris Velghe
photographe Iris Velghe
Cuvée Rosé.
The Ultimate.
Defying gravity
Quentin Carnaille turns
vintage watch parts
into spectacular floating
Written by Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
Apesanteur II
13 cm in diameter by 2 cm thick
Base 36.5 x 28 x 12 cm
Limited edition of 48
82 x 82 x 12 cm
There is a list of tried and trusted
ideas we often resort to when choosing a gift for dad : aftershave, whisky,
a silk tie or cufflinks.
In 2008, Quentin Carnaille gave
his father some cufflinks to thank
him for his support throughout the
architecture studies he had just completed. Instead of buying the cufflinks though, the then 24-year-old
made them – from a pair of vintage
watch movements he had found at a
flea market.
The imaginatively conceived accessories were a hit, not just with his
dad, but with an antiques dealer at
the Louvre des Antiquaires in Paris
whom Carnaille senior was visiting.
When the dealer suggested putting
the cufflinks on display, orders soon
flooded in. Quentin made more pairs
and they sold like proverbial hot
That’s how Quentin Carnaille
found his creative niche – crafting
stunning jewellery and sculptural
pieces using venerable horological
components as his raw material.
In his atelier in Lille, France,
Quentin cleans, cuts, welds and
polishes the meticulously-sourced
mechanisms – including gears, pinions, screws, balances, bridges,
plates and jewels – before repurposing them to create not just cufflinks
but also portable micro-sculptures
for the wrist, each set in a case with
a strap : ‘watches’ that don’t tell the
“I started by making jewellery,
but now I am giving my work a more
artistic slant, more depth, with an
intellectual enquiry into time,” says
Quentin, referring to his latest collection of larger, more daring pieces
of kinetic sculpture, including Infini
and Apesanteur.
Infini (Infinity) is a framed 4x4
grid. Within each of the 16 squares, a
diminutive sculpture made of watch
components magnetically levitates,
suspended like a satellite in space
and projected endlessly by a mirrored background.
“Time is the result of a constant
human motivation to materialize it,”
says Carnaille. “With Infini, time and
infinity coexist.”
Apesanteur (Weightlessness) is
even more eye-catching : a disk com-
prising thousands of century-old
watch components floats above a
platform via magnetic levitation.
As the disk oscillates and spins, the
tiny horological relics scintillate like
glinting stars in the cosmos.
“Apesanteur evokes the origin of
reading time – astronomy,” he says.
“Everything in space is floating and
here it’s a sculpture which is flying.”
Both Apesanteur and Infini deserve close inspection, especially
the ethereal Apesanteur, and the
M.A.D.Gallery in Geneva is just one
place where Quentin Carnaille’s work
is currently showcased.
For more information,
please visit
Defying gravity
Written by Suzanne Wong
Editor-in-Chief of Revolution Asia
Defying gravity
You can certainly appreciate
the LM2 on its own, but
you gain so much more by
already knowing which
bits of the story have been
told by the LM1.
You know what they say about sequels. And you also know
that it’s manifest nonsense – what they say about sequels
never being as good as the first work. There is nothing
inherently inferior about presenting a second, third, or
even fourth part to an ongoing body of creative work. It
all depends on whether there’s anything left of the story
to tell. That goes for music, film, literature – and the question I want to kick into the field right now is whether it
also goes for watches.
In a sense, MB&F’s Legacy Machine collection is a
follow-up to their Horological Machine collection, and
Legacy Machine Nº 2 is a follow-up to Legacy Machine
Nº 1. One might classify the LM2 as the second watch in
a second collection, a double sequel in the kind of fractal
taxonomy that keeps Linnaean scholars awake at night.
Now, we all know that the best sequels, whilst creatively
and philosophically outstanding in their own right, are
most useful when thoroughly contextualised. You can
certainly appreciate the LM2 on its own, but you gain so
much more by already knowing which bits of the story
have been told by the LM1.
One regulator, two dials. That’s what the Legacy Machine Nº 1 brings to the table, in prosaic terms. What it
suggests in conceptual terms is a little more profound.
Because you have two displays of the hours and minutes
that progress according to the same cadence – the same
fifth of a second as dictated by the 2.5 Hz (18,000 vph) balance – the Legacy Machine Nº 1 can represent any two
times that are based on the same cosmic rhythm. In its
most practical sense, that means two time zones. But
there is a theory about alternate universes (about parallel worlds, as it were). The theory is that every time an
event occurs that might have multiple outcomes, all possible outcomes play out simultaneously in as many alternate universes. At its widest point of interpretation, the
Legacy Machine Nº 1 represents any bifurcating continuity that proceeds from one reality. Pretty heavy stuff, but
what it essentially boils down to is that the LM1 is all
about divergence – of time, of motion, of stories and of
The one dial and two regulators of the Legacy Machine Nº 2, however, do the rather more difficult (and
harder to apprehend) reverse. Through the differential at
six o’clock, the LM2 translates the beating of two balances into a single display. It makes sense of what happens
when two different timelines – each with its own rhythm
that makes no reference to the other – converge. After all,
the two balances do not beat in phase with each other. You
Defying gravity
If the LM1 explores
the possibilities
in divergences and
departures, then
what the LM2
illustrates is return
and reconciliation.
can observe this with the naked eye, and it’s even more
clearly shown in the slowed-down segment of the highdefinition video that MB&F created of the LM2.
Whenever there happens to be two (or more) regulators in close proximity within the same watch, it becomes
almost mandatory to ask about “resonance”, a term that
is as little understood as it is fascinating. But it makes no
sense to induce the resonance effect between the two balances – despite the LM2 taking inspiration from the mechanical assays of Breguet and Janvier, who both exploited mutually phase-locked regulators in their timepieces.
There would be no point in implementing a complex differential for the time display if both regulators worked in
perfect concert. And besides, there is an ideological factor
that makes it essential for the two balances of the LM2 to
maintain separate oscillatory phases.
If the Legacy Machine Nº 1 explores the possibilities
in divergences and departures, then what the Legacy Machine Nº 2 illustrates is return and reconciliation. It is an
overwhelming motif in so many strains of the human condition – the recalibration of two hearts to form a shared
time is at the root of some of our deepest yearnings as
sentient animals. Together, the two watches embody the
perpetual tumult of the strongest forces in our lives : ambition, which drives us to inhabit a different sphere from
those with whom we shared our earliest pulse of existence, and sentiment, which effects the long-desired union
of two sundered rhythms.
I started off by speaking of the LM2 as a sequel of
the LM1, but it has become increasingly clear that the
Legacy Machine Nº 1 and the Legacy Machine Nº 2 are
two sides of the same thought experiment and are pretty
much philosophical sequels of each other. What remains
to be seen is whether your choice of Legacy Machine also
reflects the ruling influence of your life. Then again, how
could it not ? – wrapped around your wrist, at the confluence of veins that gives the report of your heart.
Defying gravity
Written by Ariel Adams
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
Flying The
Like many others, when I was a kid I used to
take a toy plane or spaceship in my hand and
run around with it as though it were flying.
This would often be joined with complementary, self-produced sound effects. A few years
ago, in 2010, Max Büsser told me a story about
his childhood and his interest in planes from
an early age. He described models hanging on
strings from his ceiling and his overall fascination with vehicles of all types. As he talked
to me with a new and interesting timepiece
on his wrist, I immediately thought of him
doing the same thing with his planes as I did
when I was a boy.
More recently I got to relive my boyhood
playtime with a plane made for the wrist in
the form of Horological Machine Nº 4 (HM4).
Inspired by flight and space, the HM4 is as
retro as it is futuristic, and for me is the ultimate definition of what founder Max Büsser
wanted to achieve with his MB&F brand. In
addition, I don’t know if there will ever be
anything else like it either. While MB&F may
further surprise me or create a more impressive watch movement and case, I don’t think
anything will come as close to representing
an emotionally-charged item of mechanical
wrist-worn art from the heart of Max, as the
HM4 has done.
The HM4 was never meant to be a permanent part of the MB&F collection. From the
outset MB&F promised that only 100 movements would ever be made, and during the
four years it took to produce them they placed
these movements in a range of limited edition
models. It all began with the Thunderbolt. In
fact, it all began with the movement. Like a
professional showman, Max revels in a presentation. I recall the movement years back
when he pulled a black cloth off the small
mechanism that looked like the engine mass
of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek. At the
Defying gravity
Left page
HM4 Thunderbolt RT
Red Gold & Titanium
horological engine developed
100 % by MB&F
HM4 Thunderbolt
Titanium and sapphire crystal
Right page
HM4 Final Edition
Blackened titanium and
sapphire crystal
time no images of the final watch design were revealed, and of course
Max had to ask, “Guess what the watch this will be in will look like ? ”
I had no idea…
From a design standpoint the original HM4 Thunderbolt was extremely ambitious. In fact, just to be more of a pain to their suppliers,
MB&F decided that the watch would contain a middle section produced from sapphire crystal. This latter custom-cut sapphire crystal
element caused a range of “industrial headaches,” and relying on expensive Swiss labour ended up costing MB&F as much as many Swiss
watches cost consumers, for each individual piece.
Sapphire crystal and titanium came together for a watch that
attempted to break as many rules as possible while still telling the
time. The HM4 was designed to look like two engines, mounted on
their sides, with a structure design to allow them to sit on a person’s
wrist. As insane as the watch looks sitting on a table, the HM4 is remarkably comfortable when worn, thanks to an articulating lug system which allows the case to curve over one’s wrist.
Reading the time is done by glancing at the dials sitting at the
end of the “engines.” One dial has a face for telling the time, while the
other is a power-reserve indicator. The opposite ends of the engines
have crowns for winding the movement or setting the time. The system is remarkably logical for such an unorthodox timepiece.
MB&F followed up the original HM4 Thunderbolt with later
variations on the core theme. For the HM4 Razzle Dazzle & Double
Trouble editions, the HM4 was transformed into a World War II style
craft complete with exterior rivets and hand-painted pin up art. In
the HM4 ‘RT’, titanium was joined with 18 k red gold for a more luxury-inspired take on the aesthetic. As a totally unique item MB&F
I don’t think anything will
come as close to representing
an emotionally-charged
item of mechanical wrist-worn
art from the heart of
Max, as the HM4 has done.
even produced a special piece for the 2011
Only Watch auction with a small white gold
panda “riding” the watch with small reins. In
2013 MB&F ended the Horological Machine
Nº 4 with a collection simply known as the
HM4 Final Edition. Inspired by stealth aircraft, the HM4 Final Edition had hoods over
the dials and was offered in a black case. This
last version had only eight pieces produced to
complete the total set of 100 HM4 timepieces.
So how exactly does the HM4 sum up the
MB&F brand ? It takes the fantasy mind of a
talented creative director and turns it into a
collectible piece of horological art. It is weird
and wonderful, and designed for the few rather than the many. It is an MB&F, and there is
simply nothing else out there like it.
P. 32
P. 50
P. 40
P. 52
P. 46
Written by Simon de Burton
Freelance journalist and author
Harley Davidson
Maxwell Hazan established Hazan Motors
in Brooklyn, New York, back in 2012,
since when he has built bikes at the thoughtful
rate of around two a year.
There was a great English journalist called W.F. Deedes – better known as Bill Deedes –
who once described the legendary Henry Cotton as having brought golf “from the tradesman’s entrance right around to the front door.”
It is difficult to think of an activity that’s further removed from golf than motorcycling, but the Deedes summation of what happened to the former now seems entirely
applicable to the latter. Because recent years have seen motorcycles elevated from being
perceived as the exclusive domain of leather-clad, oily-fingered rockers to a new standing
as rolling works of art coveted by the wealthy.
High-end motorcycles have, of course, been around for decades – think of bikes such
as the Brough Superior, the Vincent Black Shadow, the rare and meticulously crafted creations of Al Crocker, or MV Agusta’s exquisite 750 ‘America.’ These were never workaday
machines for the impecunious labourer. But it is only during the past decade or so that
the hitherto arcane world of the highly skilled, independent custom bike builder has been
discovered by a wider audience of buyers who have long yearned for a means to express
their individuality other than by simply buying the cliché full dress Harley-Davidson or
‘Rosso Corsa’ Ferrari.
No – what these people were looking for was something truly different, something
that no one else, no matter how wealthy or well connected, is likely to have in their motor
house. On top of that, it had to be beautifully made, aesthetically seductive and practical
enough to actually use.
Step forward Maxwell Hazan, a 33-year-old New
Yorker with a degree in psychology, a sterling reputation
as a designer – and a passion for building one-off motorcycles from the ground up.
You could say Hazan was driven to calling by fate
– ill fate. It was after a dirt bike crash left him laid-up
at home for three, long months that he became inspired
to fit an engine to the ‘beach cruiser’ bicycle at which he
had been staring every day. And, once he had built it, he
discovered his vocation was to make beautifully modelled
and painstakingly produced motorcycles for the connoisseur. As a result, Hazan Motors was established in Brooklyn, New York, back in 2012, since when he has built bikes
at the thoughtful rate of around two a year.
Hazan’s preferred modus operandi is to start with
the heart of the motorcycle, i.e. the engine, and to develop
the look and character of the machine around that. He’s
choosy, mind you. Not just any engine will do – only those
with true aesthetic appeal will become the focal point of
a Hazan special.
Recent years have seen
motorcycles elevated from
being perceived as the
exclusive domain of leatherclad, oily-fingered rockers
to a new standing as
rolling works of art coveted
by the wealthy.
Harley Davidson
Harley Davidson
Photography :
Shaik Ridzwan of The Mighty Motor
For more information,
please visit
One of his recent builds was inspired by seeing a photograph of a
Royal Enfield Bullet which his sister
had rented in India. The Bullet has
been in continuous production since
1948, longer than any other motorcycle, and its single cylinder engine can
fairly be described as the quintessential ‘thumper’ – a no-thrills fourstroke of 350 or 500 cc with an easy
manner and a worthy reputation for
Having chosen the motor, Hazan
set to work crafting everything else,
from the beautifully designed, trellis swinging arm with its underslung
shock absorber to the classic ‘springer’ fork and drilled, lightweight front
wheel hub. The slim, elegant, dual-fill
fuel tank he beat out by hand ; the serpentine, high-rise exhaust he fashioned from a single length of piping
– and the deliciously smooth, softly
contoured seat he carved from a solid
lump of wood, enhancing it with the
sort of high gloss finish more usually
seen on a Riva speedboat.
The result is a Royal Enfield unlike any other : long, lean and spare
with a natural patina that puts it in
another era, yet with an attention to
mechanical detail that makes it entirely practical for the 21st century.
Slightly more radical, perhaps,
is the machine Hazan built around a
1981, 1000 cc Harley-Davidson ‘Ironhead’ engine, conspicuously fitted
with twin carburettors breathing
through highly polished ‘bell mouth’
air intakes. As on the Enfield, the
front of the bike is trick, taking the
form of an old-fashioned girder fork
design adapted with Hazan’s own
suspension design topped with a salvaged tractor light.
Again, the fuel tank is a solo
work of art. Having taken four at-
tempts to perfect, it is long, narrow
and tapered, almost like a component
from a Zeppelin airship. It flows in
to a minimalist, sprung seat which
rides low above the large-diameter rear wheel. Add to that a handchange gearbox, low-level handle-
bars and straight-through exhaust
headers and the result is a machine
that, quite frankly, makes you want
to do just one thing.
And that’s steal it…
From left to right and
top to bottom
Royal Enfield, Maxwell Hazan
and the Ducati 900,
BSA 500, BSA 500 (detail)
T +41 21 989 33 11 - [email protected]
the car
Written by David Chokron
Watch geek and journalist
A car
It is often said that cars and watches are birds of a feather. A mechanical
heart, design cues and a masculine appeal are their interconnection. What
happens when this likeness goes beyond inspiration ? What if a watch were,
almost literally, a car ? It would have to possess an engine, a gear box and
exhaust pipes. A frame, a body and paint. A windshield and a rear window.
Counters, a driving wheel and a safety belt. Well, this is exactly how the HM5
is built.
The engine is an automatic, 4 Hz, 30-jewel Sowind-base movement. A
mechanical movement’s purpose is to transform fractions of a second into
minutes, hours, days and more through gear ratios. It is coupled with a module from one of the best engine-tuning firms. The people from Chronode have
turned it into a flat-twin machine, where longitudinal cylinders are replaced
by discs. Lying flat on the surface of the movement, the jumping hours and
sweeping minutes simultaneously act like a speedometer and a rev-counter.
Yet, they still need to reach the driver’s eye. Because contrary to classical watch design, the HM5 doesn’t have a dial that rests under a crystal glass.
It is a driver’s watch in the 1960s and 70s sense, aka a “cap watch” for the
French-speaking watchmakers. This is where the head-up display comes in.
A sapphire crystal prism distorts the light and sets the digits upright, while
Lying flat on the surface
of the movement, the
jumping hours and sweeping
minutes simultaneously
act like a speedometer and
a rev-counter.
magnifying them. The 90° shift from horizontal to vertical display is what makes the HM5 so unique in today’s
watch landscape.
Steering goes deep inside the engine. Handling requires finesse. The HM5’s driving wheel is actually a
crown, and a master element of design. It tells a story of
energy, force and sleekness. It is part of the general design, an extension of the watch’s case.
The HM5 is definitely aerodynamic. Its case has
curves and elaborate surface finishes. It is the body of the
watch. Just like in a car, it rests on an underlying frame.
The movement is encased in a container. It provides wellneeded protection and unity to the engine and display.
The outer case offers absolutely no water resistance. It
is built like no other : it features flaps that act as louvers.
They let the light shine in on the prism, much like dashboard lights make a car gauges visible at night. But this is
no design flaw that required correcting, on the contrary.
It is a choice that drives the watch’s outline.
“ I’m sporty,
I’m badass,
I’m fast.”
Left page
Photography :
Watch Anish
The HM5’s double exhaust pipe is actually made to let out water, not fumes. Since
the outer case is really a solid metal shroud,
water comes in that needs to come out. Located at the rear of the case, two discreet perforations drilled on either side of the crown
ensure the HM5 doesn’t turn into a portable
bathtub in the rain or in the shower.
The HM5’s safety belt is special since
it is MB&F’s first rubber strap ever. Instead
of fastening the passenger to the seat with a
buckle, it harnesses the watch’s body to the
wrist thanks to a titanium buckle and pin.
Like driving gloves, it is perforated. Like
tires, it is made of rubber. Like everything
else about the HM5, it is sleek.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Good looks are
paramount when it comes to watches or cars
(or their owners). As far as a watch is concerned, matter matters. The first HM5 series
was launched in one of the most technical of
all metals : zirconium. Then came the ‘RT’, a
rose gold and titanium combination. The latest addition to the HM5 garage is all black
and mean-looking like a cat on the prowl. It is
made of CarbonMacrolon. It is light, dark and
outlined with dashes of purple.
But architecture isn’t all there is to
the HM5. Like most of its sister-watches at
MB&F, it is profoundly inspired by toys. Cars
and watches are toys for grown-up boys, but
toys nevertheless. The HM5 has a definite
1960s feel to it. The “head-up display” was a
popular way to tell time then, as design was
freeing itself from conventions and historical
obligations. Great cars were born then too,
many of which sported louvers as a purely ornamental element.
In the late 60s, louvers covering the rear
window had become a full-bore idiosyncratic
car-design gimmick. The 1967 Lamborghini
Miura and the 1967 Ford Mustang made them
popular. It is so emblematic a trick that Lamborghini has never really given up on it. Even
the lethal Aventador has retained it in an updated manner. The flaps paired with a fastback rear-end give the HM5 a striking retro
personality that also says “I’m sporty, I’m
bad-ass, I’m fast”.
So the usual gentleman-driver thing
that many a watch brand appreciates isn’t
what’s driving the HM5. There shall not be
any “gentlemen, start your engines” and such
niceties being uttered before turning the key
in the ignition. The HM5 is bad. And it shows.
And it is definitely cool.
1961 Jaguar E-Type
Fabian Oefner’s photography
occupies the enchanted intersection
between art and science.
Written by Victoria Gomelsky
Watch and jewellery writer for the
International New York Times
When Fabian Oefner was 16 years old, he spent the better part of a year building a telescope at his home in the
Swiss village of Kölliken, about 50 kilometers west of
Zurich. His parents, like most everyone else who learned
about the project, thought he was crazy.
“After they looked through the telescope and could
see the rings of Saturn, they were relatively silent,”
Oefner, now 30, recalls. “Then they congratulated me.”
Gifted with an uncanny patience, Oefner learned
early on that doing slow, painstaking work put him in a
meditative state that allowed him to spend months perfecting the tiniest of details. He went on to study product
design at university in Basel before lucking into a job at
Leica, where he was hired to take photos of the devices
manufactured by the iconic German optics manufacturer.
Slowly, he began to develop a meticulous style that would
come to define his photography.
Inspired by the pioneering work of Harold “Doc”
Edgerton, the MIT entrepreneur credited with inventing
strobe lights, Oefner taught himself how to build high-
speed flashes on the cheap. He then tested his devices by
shooting common objects in uncommon scenarios, such
as his 2009 Shootout series, which captures the precise
millisecond when a projectile fired from an air gun pierces a can of Coke, or his 2011 Nebula series, in which he
used long exposures to shoot the glowing ends of a fiber glass lamp as he waved it around a pitch-black room.
The resulting images, elegant and complicated, evoke the
swirling galaxies of the Cosmos.
A fascination with stopping time connected Oefner’s
audacious experiments. “I photographed an actual moment that happened, just a few microseconds long,” he
says. The cerebral young artist, however, wasn’t satisfied ;
he wanted to explore time from another angle : “You’re
constantly thinking about what you’re doing visually and
intellectually, and I thought, why not build your own moment in time ? ”
In 2012, Oefner turned his attention to cars with two
astonishing photo projects that did just that. In Hatch,
Oefner took a detailed scale model of a 1962 Ferrari 250
“ It took almost two
months just to make
those shells.”
Fabian Oefner
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
Bottom left
1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR
Bottom right
1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR
Making of
For more information,
please visit
GTO and made a latex mold filled with
a thin layer of gypsum. “I did this
process, like, 50 times,” he says. “It
took almost two months just to make
those shells.” He then photographed
the car breaking free from its egg.
For the Disintegrating series,
Oefner purchased three detailed car
models – a 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300
SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé with gullwing
doors, a 1961 Jaguar E-Type and a
1967 Ferrari 330 P4, each about 20
inches long – dismantled them screw
by screw, and photographed each
piece in a distinct position. He then
manipulated the images into a single
frame that gives the viewer the illusion of an exploding car.
Disintegrating represented his
most time-consuming and ambitious
project to date. “The idea was to create an artificial moment in time,” he
says. “When you look at the photos,
you think it’s a car exploding. But in
fact it’s your brain that creates the illusion. It never really happened.”
While he was in the midst of
completing the Disintegrating series,
Oefner was invited to TEDGlobal
2013 in Edinburgh, where he gave a
presentation on photographing fer-
roliquids that captivated MB&F
founder Maximilian Büsser. The ensuing conversation ended with Büsser offering Oefner a solo show at his
Geneva-based M.A.D.Gallery in late
“Sales have been mind-boggling,” Büsser says. “The three Disintegrating photos were sold out in
three months, 25 of each. And more
than half were ordered by people
who’d never set foot in the gallery.”
For his part, Oefner was bowled
over by the reaction his work received at M.A.D., which he describes
as overwhelming. But to Büsser, the
surge of collectors interested in the
artist’s unconventional take on automotive imagery makes perfect sense
– especially in light of how closely it
parallels MB&F’s own iconoclastic
positioning in the watch world.
“Fabian is reinterpreting mechanical art but with a twist,” Büsser
says. “He didn’t just take photos of
cars. He reconstructed them in an
imaginary explosion. We wouldn’t
just do photos of cars. It’s too blatant. He did what we do : deconstruct
something and reconstruct it as mechanical art.”
Written by Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
It’s a perennial conundrum for any
image-conscious urban cyclist : “To
wear or not wear my cycle helmet ?
That is the question.”
Of course, it ought to be a nobrainer : Anyone planning to pedal
their way around town today should
don protective headwear, lest they
become a no-brainer themselves because of some unforeseen road accident.
But rather than riding their bike
safely by wearing a bike helmet, city
cyclists often make ‘looking good’
their priority, and consequently dispense with their protective headgear,
as well as logic.
In 2005, Swedish university students Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin
recognised this trend and, as part of
their Industrial Design master’s degree, set about developing a device
that would protect bike riders while
still allowing them to look trendy –
an invisible bicycle helmet called the
Actually, the Hövding it is not
so much a helmet as a funky-looking
For more information,
please visit
collar worn around the neck. It contains an acceleration-sensitive, rapidly deployable airbag that immediately opens and shields the head in
case of an accident.
The device, which took seven
years to develop, contains accelerometers, sensors that detect unusual
acceleration movements – those heralding an imminent accident. If the
movement patterns match the profile
of a crash, the airbag stored in the
collar instantly inflates using a small
canister of helium.
The collar itself is waterproof
and has interchangeable fabric shells
that allow customisation. The mechanism is rechargeable via USB and is
turned on and off simply by fastening
and unfastening the collar.
Written by Terence Lim
Editor of Style : & Style : Men
Left page
Walcott, 90 x 120 cm
Right page
Eight, 90 x 120 cm
Swiss photographer Ulysse Fréchelin
captures abstract images of
the fast-moving iconic monsters
of the American highways.
These photos are now compiled into
the M.A.D.Gallery’s virgin publishing attempt – American Trucks.
Stare at any one photo from Ulysse Fréchelin’s book, and
we assure you that you will be lost on the subject matter.
But flip through all the pages, and revel in the abstract,
graphic images of radiator grilles, fenders, hub caps and
wheel bolts to grasp the answer instantly. Yes, it’s the rig
truck – the mammoth mechanical beasts that have been
plying American freeways for decades.
On a shooting assignment in the States, he chanced
upon these trucks and felt an attraction to these iconic vehicles, which had since earned their status as the symbol
of the highways. Fascinated with these big rigs, the Swiss
still-life photographer embarked on a two-week-long project in 2013 to document them. Shooting on the ArizonaNew Mexico border, he captures the trucks in a new light
and from angles such that they cannot be instantly recognised. Through the 33-year-old’s eyes – and lens, he
“breaks” them up, highlights their larger-than-life proportions, the blinding gleam of their chrome parts in the
sun as well as the pops of colours juxtaposed against the
clear New Mexican skies.
As fate would have it, the Neuchâtel native met the
MB&F team one day, and a collaborative effort was born.
Together with Fréchelin, the M.A.D.Gallery published its
first book simply titled American Trucks. The 100-page
tome contains stunning images that the graduate from
Ecole d’Arts Appliqués de Vevey shot of the rig trucks’
parts. To launch the book, the M.A.D.Gallery also hosted
a photo exhibition, and there are 100 limited-edition copies, each numbered, signed and presented in a slipcase.
Each image is also available in a limited edition of eight
luxurious, large-format prints.
Shooting objects is common fare for Fréchelin. After
all, his works, whether editorial or commercial, tend to
be of products. And shooting in daylight is his preferred
style. But of course, working on American Trucks and
capturing the rig trucks on the highways is a different
story altogether. Here, Fréchelin tells Parallel Worlds
more about working on American Trucks.
Goodyear, 140 x 100 cm
For more information,
please visit
How did you get into photography ?
Before I turned 20, I was thinking about what I wanted to do : writing,
studying Latin and Greek… At 20, I made a decision. I didn’t want
to pursue the academic route, and chose photography – almost overnight. So I started relatively late.
How did you meet the MB&F guys ? And how did the meeting
result in you working with them ?
I first got to know Max through a common friend, and met Charris
on a commercial project. A friend of mine – also a photographer –
told Max about the trucks I’d just shot in New Mexico, and that
the photos would be a good match with M.A.D.Gallery. So, we sat
down on a cold January morning to discuss things… Fortunately,
they immediately loved the trucks. Max even said “Yes” when I told
them about my dream to compile the photos into a book.
What did you know about MB&F before the project ?
Well, I knew that Max was unique in many ways. In watchmaking,
he was a rebel and an iconoclast. But working closely with
them, I discovered a real nest of talent. The teams at M.A.D.Gallery
and MB&F are fantastic. It’s been a true pleasure working with
them. Everything went so fast and smooth !
Tell us how the concept of American Trucks came about.
It came to me at the border between Arizona and New Mexico.
I stopped at a truck stop, and saw that beautiful bright orange
Peterbilt 379. I saw the New Mexican sky and the clouds – which
was a typical occurrence, by the way – reflecting in the chrome
of the horns.
What challenges did you face when shooting American Trucks ?
The searing heat ! Finding the best truck stops, as well as getting
truckers to accept me hanging around their trucks !
What message do you want to drive across – no pun intended –
with American Trucks ?
I felt irresistibly attracted by the trucks, the colors, the chrome, and
the shapes. I also found that the subject was not very well documented. I just wanted to be a witness of the exuberant creativity and
freedom of expression of the truckers. Their aesthetic and creativity
is limitless.
What do you normally shoot ?
Still life photography, particularly still life in daylight.
What is the most memorable subject you’ve ever done ?
That has to be a lipstick story I shot in Los Angeles for Numéro
magazine – just before the trip to New Mexico, where I fell in love
with the trucks.
So, how different is shooting a truck from normal work ?
The size of subject ! My subject has changed from a bottle of perfume
to a 28-tonne truck. Also, with the travel on the road come the surprises along the way as you never know what things you may discover.
A hybrid philosophy composed
of contrasting elements: timeless
traditional craftwork and fleeting
design trends, the osmosis of
age-old know-how and futuristic
new technologies, with a certain
avant-gardism that is characteristic
of Reuge, blossoming with over
150 years of creative passion.
contact: [email protected]
W W W. R E U G E . CO M
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Written by Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
Do not adjust your screens ! This
stunning cabinet, created by Italian
designer Ferruccio Laviani for furniture brand Fratelli Boffi, is not a digital shot that has been Photoshopped
– it is a real oak storage unit that has
been intricately carved by a CNC machine to resemble a doctored image.
Unveiled at last year’s Salone
Internazionale del Mobile in Milan,
Italy – the largest interior design
fair in the world – the piece is aptly
named ‘Good Vibrations’ and marked
the 53-year-old’s second collaboration with Fratelli Boffi, following on
from the previous year’s ‘F*ck the
Classics’ offering.
Laviani says : “When Fratelli
Boffi called, they saw I had a heritage
in the field of classic furniture. My
concept was to make a mix between
classic furniture and the interferences of different furniture styles,
and shake it up.”
“But we didn’t have the time,
so we just took a classic cabinet and
made this distortion, like when you
rewind an old videocassette and you
get lines like that. I wanted to have
the same 3-D effect on the furniture.”
The distorted, purposely imperfect design has led some observers
to describe the cabinet as a piece of
“Glitch” furniture.
For more information,
please visit
I have a confession to make : I’m probably not the
best person to write this article. After all, I’ve
always been something of an MB&F fan-boy.
Ever since Founder and Creative Director Maximilian Büsser and his posse of friends first blew
my mind with the Horological Machine Nº 1 – a
timepiece I ironically now consider rather tame,
at least by MB&F standards – I’ve been hooked.
For many of you, this story will be all too
familiar, which means you’ll understand why my
views on the HM3 MegaWind are anything but
objective. That being said, you’ve read this far
without turning the page and so I encourage you
to stick with me a little longer as we explore this
truly incredible timepiece. Before we continue
though, I think a little background is necessary.
Now, if you’re anything like me then you’ll
probably agree that the launch of the original
HM3 back in 2009 was arguably the first time the
watch industry at large sat up and started paying attention to what this rebellious young brand
was doing. Aesthetically this timepiece was unlike anything we had seen before ; bold lines, outrageous curves, not to mention complex brains to
match : there was no way people would strap this
thing to their wrists, would they ?
Fast forward 5 years and the HM3 still remains one of MB&F’s most popular collections,
which brings us conveniently to the MegaWind,
launched in 2013. For those of you who don’t
know the story, the idea for the distinctive oversized rotor came from another quirky watchmaker by the name of Stepan Sarpaneva, who worked
Written by Tom Mulraney
Founder of
Rather than being afraid of challenges,
this creative and talented group
of people come together to embrace them,
working as a team to continue pushing
the boundaries of our imaginations steadily
back further and further.
closely with Max and his team to create the HM3 MoonMachine.
Although the rotor of the original HM3 was already visible thanks
to a cleverly-designed inverted movement, he thought it would look even
more impressive on a larger scale, a
‘mega rotor’ if you will. It turns out
Mr. Büsser agreed with him and so
the rest, as they say, is history. Except, like everything in life, things
weren’t quite that simple.
Before I tell you why though, I
have to admit that this particular
piece has always had a special place
in my horologically-inclined heart.
This is in part I think because people unfamiliar with the brand have
a tendency to underestimate it, incorrectly assuming that it is simply
just another HM3 with a larger rotor
and therefore not worthy of closer inspection. You and I however know of
course that nothing could be further
from the truth.
For a start, the introduction of
the 22 k gold and titanium mega-rotor
meant that space had to be created
where there was previously none. As
you can imagine, this was just as difficult and complicated as it sounds,
thanks in large part to the extremely tight confines of the complex mechanical movement and the desire to
maintain the existing HM3 case design.
Not surprisingly, this challenge
was eagerly taken up by Büsser along
with famed watch designer Eric
Giroud, with the two of them collaborating closely to come up with
a workable solution before handing
the plans over to the skilful hands of
movement master Jean-Marc Wiederrecht and his team at Agenhor to execute.
In typical MB&F fashion
though, Büsser asked himself, “Why
stop there ? ” After all, they had
learned a lot since the first HM3 was
introduced in 2009 and this would be
a great opportunity to try out a few
other new ideas. And so, in addition
to the dramatic resizing of the rotor,
the brand also took the opportunity
to implement some of the things they
had learned from designing the HM3
As such, the previously static
construction of hour and minute in-
dicators were replaced with revolving, paper-thin aluminium cones,
complete with bigger numerals than
their predecessors (we’re starting to
see a bit of a recurring theme here,
size-wise.) According to MB&F this
not only makes them easier to read
but is also more in line with their
underlying philosophy of creating kinetic art.
Although these changes are
fairly subtle (especially if you don’t
know what you’re looking for) they
do nevertheless reinforce once again
MB&F’s unrelenting commitment to
improvement through innovation.
Rather than being afraid of challenges, this creative and talented group
of people come together to embrace
them, working as a team to continue
steadily pushing the boundaries of
our imaginations further and further
I don’t know about you, but as
a watch lover I am very grateful for
that fact.
Breaking The Rules
French artist Julien Berthier has designed a fabulous
boat that looks like it is sinking – when actually the vessel is perfectly buoyant and seaworthy.
The cheeky design – which might be sailing too close
to the wind as far as the coastguard is concerned – has
left onlookers all at sea, not knowing whether to applaud
the audacious creation, or call for emergency rescue.
Berthier says of his yacht : “I wanted to freeze the
action just a few seconds before the boat disappears, creating an endless vision of the dramatic moment.
“However, it’s completely functional and perfectly
safe. You can even steer it from the upside down seat I
have installed. In calm waters, it’s easy to manoeuvre, although in choppy waters it can be a bit harder.”
To create this nautical slice of wit, Julien cut a boat
in two before sealing it with fibreglass. He then fitted two
electric motors underneath to propel it.
The unusual mode of transport is stable enough that
Julien has used it to travel around the world – and its
eye-catching design always ensures that observers take a
second glance.
Explore the ocean floor
while staying dry with
the ego semi-submarine
That’s no emergency,
it’s art !
It’s time for us to go on a big ego trip.
Sorry, make that EGO trip, for we are
not talking about inflating our sense
of self-importance, but rather a voyage on the Seven Seas with the EGO
compact submarine.
Make that semi-submarine,
since only the central cabin of this
personal aquatic vessel is submerged,
with panoramic windows on the front
and sides providing a unique vista
onto the underwater world.
The cabin is connected to two
lateral hulls floating on the ocean
surface to provide a stable, buoyant
‘trimaran’ structure. After a hard
day’s work counting all those fish
down below, you can relax on one of
the hulls to enjoy a leisurely tanning
session up above !
The South Korean-developed
craft also includes an on-deck camera allowing the operator below to
see what’s happening on the surface ;
a remote control for on-deck operation to navigate in tight areas ; and a
sonar depth sounder to warn where
the water is not deep enough to explore safely.
What’s more, the EGO is electrically powered, emits zero pollutants
and runs quietly. The price for one of
these is just shy of US$50,000.
For more, please visit
Let’s go surfing now
You don’t even need the
sea with wavegarden
Photography : Julien Berthier
For more information on Julien
Berthier and his artwork,
please visit
Three articles written
by Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
Those of you with surfing aspirations
but who are unfortunately landlocked, fret not, for here is something
that should give you hope of riding a
wave close to home in the near future.
Wavegarden is a man-made
surfing lagoon generating tubing
waves that can apparently peel for
more than 220 m (720 ft) without los-
ing power or shape. The system functions with specially designed bays
acting to transform wave energy.
As a wave breaks from the outer
part – where experienced surfers can
surf rapid, steep waves – the bays
convert the resulting white water
into rolling, smooth crests – great for
those starting out on a surfboard. It
is said to produce an impressive 120
waves per hour, with a height of 1.2 m
(4 ft).
The technology is based on a hydrofoil running along the bottom of
the lagoon which creates a swell that
moves across the banks forming two
peaks that break – one to the left, the
other to the right – allowing two surfers to ride the same swell.
The first facility is at Wavegarden’s private research and development site in northern Spain. The
world’s first public Wavegarden is
scheduled to open in Bristol, UK in
summer 2015.
Photography : Wavegarden
For more, please
The ‘Duel Black Pearl’ by L’Epée 1839 is a
table clock – but also a kinetic sculpture
featuring two double-sword animations.
Placed above the dial, two swords
constantly cross thanks to a double
retrograde seconds complication,
symbolising the duel of two musketeers.
Near the base, another sword animation
indicates the movement’s exceptional
40-day power reserve.
The movement plates are manufactured
in-house, decorated with black gold-plated
Côtes de Genève and fitted with
palladium-plated wheels.
Swiza Manufacture
Rue Saint-Maurice 1 ∙ CH-2800 Delémont
+41 (0) 32 421 94 11 ∙
Breaking the rules
Visually soothing underwater ‘bonsai’ installation
by Azuma Makoto
Written by Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
“ Bonsai transforms its shape
through [the]
ages [and] now
finds a life
in water and
continues to be
alive. We can
admire its new
with plants
from land and
water within
clear water. ”
Azuma Makoto is a Japanese artist… and florist. Some
people describe him as a ‘botanical artist’.
The story goes that while trying – unsuccessfully
– to forge a career as a rock musician, Azuma worked
part-time as a florist and it was in this guise that he
became fascinated by plants and came to express their
beauty with his unique methods.
Since 2002, the 38-year-old has owned the Jardins
des Fleurs high-end flower shop in Tokyo’s Ginza district, mainly creating floral installations for luxury
fashion brands’ boutiques and shows, visual works for
ad campaigns including commercials and movies, as
well as exhibiting his works at galleries and museums
all over the world.
Azuma creates a new form of expression, combining flowers, leaves, seeds and whole plants while putting them in unusual contexts.
One of his pieces is, for example, a beautiful frozen
bonsai tree, complete with the glistening shafts of multiple icicles.
Another striking piece is not so much frozen
bonsai as underwater bonsai, unsurprisingly entitled
‘Water and Bonsai’.
And to be exact, it is not even real ‘bonsai’ but a
piece of curved Sabina chinensis deadwood that has
had Java Moss attached to it to look like tiny tree foliage, all placed in an aquarium full of water.
A filtration system runs constantly to keep the
water clean and the aquarium’s internal environment
follows a natural cycle, by stimulating photosynthesis
with LED lights and CO2 emissions.
An excellently-shot compilation of Azuma’s work
has been published – Encyclopedia of Flowers : Flower
Works by Makoto Azuma – photographed by Shunsuke
Azuma Makoto
You can also check out
his website
Its extraordinary design has made it one of
the most iconic guitars of all time. It has been
hailed in specialist books and magazines. It
has won three major design awards. And it has
become an exclusive addition to connoisseurs’
collections : Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, ZZ Top’s
Billy Gibbons and movie composer Hans Zimmer are all proud owners.
The ‘it’ I am referring to is the outlandishly-looking, technically superb birdfish guitar created by German luthier-cum-industrial
designer Ulrich Teuffel. While its unconventional appearance makes it look futuristic, the
Written by Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
For more information,
please visit
birdfish features all the components
found in classic electric guitars from
When Teuffel conceived the
birdfish, he was inspired by Leo
Fender’s concept of a modular electric guitar. For Teuffel, modularity
meant creating components that the
player can easily exchange to produce a variety of sound outputs. The
instrument’s relationship with the
player’s body was also at the forefront of the Bavarian’s mind, hence
its deconstructed, ergonomic design.
At the heart of the birdfish are
two elements carved from acoustically-optimal aluminium – the ‘bird’
and the ‘fish’ – so named because of
their resemblance to these creatures.
Attached to these are tone bars, pickups and neck, while the control unit
– with a five-way switch like that of
a 1950s guitar – forms the head of the
The cylindrical tone bars – in
alder, quilted maple, swamp ash or
Honduran mahogany – are aligned
sideways from the middle of the guitar, giving a percussive, twangy attack. The player can remove these –
without releasing the strings – and
swap them for bars made from a different wood species, each with its
own tonal characteristics.
The tonal possibilities are furthered by Teuffel’s interchangeable
sliding pickups. Two single coils
and three interference-cancelling
humbuckers are available, each with
distinct output characteristics and
frequency ranges to sound warmer,
brighter, punchier or softer.
Crafted from bird’s eye maple,
the one-piece neck stands out for having no headstock ; the 49-year-old has
omitted it to maintain the minimalist
shape and make the harmonics more
defined ; tuning is carried out at the
neck end closest to the body.
Impressively, Teuffel manufactures nearly all the hardware components himself in his Holzschwang
atelier. The icing on the cake is the
superlative hand-finishing, evident
on the ‘bird’, the ‘fish’, knobs, control
box, tuners, string clamp and pickup
mounts, even down to the screws.
And one of these limited-edition beauties, the rhodium prodigy
birdfish, is rocking out at the MB&F
M.A.D.Gallery – news that will be
music to the ears of any discerning
guitar collector.
Breaking The Rules
Ingenious illusion
Mirrored planks
make desert cabin seem
Written by Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
Courtesy :
Royale projects : contemporary art
Photography :
Steve King, Lance Gerber (bottom)
For more information, please
Take a rickety timber shack that has
seen better days. Stick some mirrors
on it. Add a splash of snazzy lights
and a handful of custom electronics.
And what do you get ? An international art phenomenon, that’s what.
Ladies and gentlemen, feast
your eyes on Lucid Stead, a desert
shelter cum art installation that has
caused such a stir that it lends new
meaning to the term “cabin fever”.
Phillip K. Smith III bought the
humble 70-year-old hut – which sits
on five acres of sand punctuated by
shrubs – in 2004. The California native and artist then went on to give
the cabin a breath-taking makeover.
On the hut’s exterior, Smith attached reflective panels alternating
with the rugged wooden planks of
the original structure. He also fitted
larger mirrors where the windows
and doors would be.
By day, the mirrored planks
and panels spectacularly reflect the
surrounding barren landscape and
changes in natural light, making the
shelter seem partly transparent and
mirage-like. Stunning.
But the superb spectacle doesn’t
end there. In the windows and doorway, Smith installed computer-con-
trolled lights that switch on automatically at sunset.
As the evening sky turns pink
and darkness sets in, the square and
rectangular zones of red, blue, green
and orange begin to glow, the vivid
disco light colours in strong contrast
with the surrounding scenery.
Smith says: “Lucid Stead is about
tapping into the quiet and the pace of
change of the desert. It reveals that it
is about light and shadow, reflected
light, projected light, and change.”
Lucid Stead was initially
planned as an art project in autumn
2013, lasting just two days and vis-
ited, at best, by just a handful of local
But such was the originality
of Smith’s desert-based installation
that it rapidly became an internet
sensation and must-see attraction
for hundreds of art aficionados who
travelled far and wide to witness Lucid Stead in the flesh.
In the end, the installation remained open to the public for a whole
fortnight. Ephemeral beauty at its
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Written by Meehna Goldsmith
Watch enthusiast and journalist
Denizen of the Deep
Steel, brass, copper,
aluminium, wood
Unique piece (2014)
Motion. It surrounds us every day but we often move so fast we
miss its rhythmic beauty. American kinetic artist Bob Potts, who
is 72 and lives in upstate New York, is in awe of natural motion. He
notices it everywhere, from birds and fish to deep-sea creatures
and oars propelling a boat. Through his mechanical sculptures,
Potts captures these movements, bringing focus to their elegance
and ethereal magnificence.
Although Potts finds inspiration in the natural world, his
sculptures aren’t meant to imitate a realistic action. They instead
elicit grace through a mechanical device. His philosophy is to
use the least amount of parts needed to animate his sculptures.
“Everything else is a flourish of embellishment of what it does
or what work it can do,” Potts says. “A mechanism’s motion can
present a beautiful geometric pattern that I would rather show
than hide.”
Top left
Cosmographic Voyager
Steel, brass, copper,
aluminium, wood
Unique piece (2010)
Bottom left
Steel, brass, copper,
aluminium, wood
Unique piece (2012)
Top right
Bob Potts in his studio
“ Rather than
trying to
capture this
and chaotic
motion, I will
embrace it
and let its
rhythm nourish me along
my journey. ”
Bob Potts
For more information,
please visit
In his sculptures Potts is always seeking to stretch himself. At times he
starts with an end in mind and at others a mechanism piques his interest to
see where it leads. Potts discovers a lot of his raw materials in dumpsters,
such as gears, bearings, links and chains. For example, the brass plate for the
base of ‘Pursuit II’ turned up in one, as well as the spherical cover on ‘What
Comes Around Goes Around’, which was salvaged from an old autoclave that
was given to him. Potts also does research at Cornell University, sourcing
their collection of mechanical models of mechanisms created by Franz Reuleaux in the early 20th century.
What is so fascinating about Potts’ pieces is their complex simplicity.
From the moment Potts’ sculptures come alive, they create a jaw-dropping
fascination filled with emotion. Time slows down in their mesmerizing movement. Although Potts is trained as a carpenter he doesn’t have any formal
art education. From a young age, he observed his brother, Don Potts, now a
sundancer with the Native American Lakota called Hada, building in their
father’s garage refined objects constructed with exquisite lines and a perfectionistic intensity.
During this time, Potts’ brother taught him the potential in applying
welding and machine work for aesthetic purposes. Together they spent six
years crafting a tribute to American boyhood in the form of a mechanical
sculpture called ‘My First Car’, a piece that toured the top museums. “[Don]
was a meditative man who regarded the true work of art to be the artist himself,” Potts says. “The objects’ conceiving and building is a way to probe more
deeply into oneself, to stress one’s ego and capacities as an artist to the utmost, to seek a higher and more refined consciousness.”
Potts continued his artistic journey when he joined George Rhoads to
help him produce his audio kinetic sculptures. Working to realize Rhoads’s
concepts, Potts learned how to simplify for ease of construction and visual understanding. Perhaps most importantly for Potts’ future personal work, Rhoads introduced
him to many mechanisms and devices, expanding his
knowledge about mechanical solutions.
In a world where a lot of artists create with the aid
of CAD machines and computers, Potts designs and makes
his sculptures using only his imagination and sketches
to remind him of an idea or concept that comes to mind.
Mechanical drawings help him figure out how parts
stack up mathematically, but his drawing board is simply
rough models made of sticks, wire, string and cardboard.
Potts transforms these models into kinetic sculptures
using metals such as brass, bronze, copper, aluminum,
and sometimes wood.
Potts is a one-man show, building his sculptures in
an 1850s barn turned workshop. His process is a freeflowing evolution, with the design revealing itself during
the process. An original idea often morphs into something
different than initially envisioned, with shapes changing
along the way, though the concept remains the same. “I
ran into problems of balance when building the wings
for ‘G-Plane’ and had to add a tail section to counter the
weight of the extended wing arms. This was exciting and
gave the piece more dimension,” says Potts.
In addition to creating kinetic sculptures, Potts
also plays the fiddle. Growing up in San Francisco in the
1960s, he was exposed to music through his mother’s
piano playing and singing as well as the hotbed of the
music scene going on during that time. At age 24 Potts
picked up a three-quarter violin that once belonged to his
brother Don, began tinkering around with it and became
hooked. Potts soon traded it in for a full-sized instrument,
refined his skills and joined the Highwoods String Band
as a founding member.
Like Potts’ sculptures, the fiddle follows rhythmic
patterns and informs his work. “The focus needed to play
with others when there is no script is a great challenge
and leads to inner growth,” Potts states. “You live and act
in the moment while trying to anticipate what is coming
next. It is a great exercise.”
Potts notices motion everywhere, including the wind
in the trees and the waves of grass, chaotic yet rhythmic.
“My pieces are cyclic and repetitive. Sometimes I feel restricted by it, but the repetition is like a mantra, soothing and steady, surrounded by chaos,” he reflects. “Rather
than trying to capture this natural and chaotic motion, I
will embrace it and let its rhythm nourish me along my
The M.A.D.Gallery in Geneva hosted seven of Bob
Potts’ wondrous kinetic sculptures from April to August
What is
legacy ?
Legacy Machines :
the historical journey continues
Written by Angus Davies
Managing Director of
Max Büsser conceived
the idea of the LM1
by transposing himself
to 1867, 100 years
before his actual year
of birth.
Like many men of my generation, I
have amassed several rings of cellulite around the trunk of my body. I
view them like the growth rings of an
oak tree, denoting the many years I
have spent on earth. The concentric
circles also indicate a wisdom that
was sadly absent from my youth.
The onset of middle age makes
one reflect on personal achievements
and latent talents never realised.
Inevitably it leads individuals to
consider their lives and ponder the
legacy they will leave behind.
My legacy, I suspect in common
with many, will be my two children.
They are the wondrous product of my
liaison with their mother, my wife
of 22 years. The composition of each
child is unique, with admirable virtues and lovable traits. I suspect I am
not alone in looking at my offspring
through rose-tinted glasses. I note
their many qualities, often to the exclusion of some personal flaws.
There are exceptional individuals whose legacy will be recognised
beyond the confines of their own families and be enjoyed by wider society
for generations to come. Indeed, the
finest artisans create a lasting body
of work which can be admired long
after they have terminated their tenure of terra firma.
Visiting the Guggenheim, Hermitage and Louvre, one can see great
bodies of work. They are diverse in
style, innovative by nature, thoughtprovoking in temperament and exhibit a longevity which confers lasting appeal. These works of art are
the legacies of artisans who have enriched the lives of their contemporaries and subsequent generations.
MB&F, the collaborative body
of work by Max Büsser and his
“Friends”, offers many exemplars of
ingenuity. The horological artistic
forms cause contemplation, exhibit
exalted craftsmanship and deliver
unique design language which will
transcend the here and now, conferring longevity and eye-appeal for future generations.
“Machines” is the term used
by Mr Büsser to refer to his array of
high-end timepieces. The company’s
“Horological Machines” are said to
be inspired by Büsser’s childhood
dreams. The neoteric designs are
thought-provoking and seldom resemble conventional timepieces. On
a personal level, some I adore, some
I find challenging to love. However,
I am glad that all pieces have been
born, as life is richer for diverse opinion and alternative artistic expression.
The “Legacy Machines” have
always appealed to me. My love affair commenced the very first time
I handled the LM1, the first Legacy
machine, launched in 2011. I had seen
images in various magazines, but
nothing quite prepared me for the
majestic mien of this horological delicacy.
Max Büsser conceived the idea
of the LM1 by transposing himself to
1867, 100 years before his actual year
of birth. His concept was to imagine
the machine he would have created
if he lived at that time. The resultant
outcome, with a little help from his
friends, was the LM1.
The LM1
a dream
The LM1 drew on the talents of various luminaries in the
field of haute horlogerie, including Jean-François Mojon of
Chronode as well as the incomparable Kari Voutilainen.
The conclusion, when launched, was a horological masterpiece par excellence.
allows the wearer to show different hours and, most
surprisingly, different minutes. Each time indicated is totally
independent of its neighbour. However, the simplicity
of the concept belies the complexity in bringing the LM1
to fruition.
A two-armed arcing bridge follows the form of the domed
sapphire crystal. The balance wheel, suspended from
said bridge, is the focal point of the dial and is beguiling
with its to and fro motion.
At 6 o’clock, the power-reserve indicator resembles a
navigational instrument that might well have sought service
on a 19th century maritime vessel. The vertical indication
of stored energy within the spring barrel endows the dial
with exquisite depth. MB&F has indeed exploited depths
to spell-binding effect. The eyes want to explore each facet
of each plane and “drink in” every subtle artistic element
of the composition.
Two porcelain-white dials sitting on either side of the balance exhibit a virgin-like innocence. Their unblemished
complexions confer a clean and pure line which enhances
ease of interpretation. Each dial can display time independ
ently. Where a watch equipped with a GMT may employ
a third hand to show a different hour, the MB&F solution
Seen through the case back, the finely executed movement stands testament to the adroit skills of the company’s
talented contributors. The eyes are indulged with a feast of
fine finishing including Côtes de Genève motif on bridges,
gorgeous chamfering and gold chatons which reinforce the
sense of tradition. Part of the uniqueness of the LM1 is that,
unlike most timepieces, the balance wheel and Swiss lever
escapement are positioned on the dial side of the machine.
The Legacy Machine Nº 1 celebrates all that is wonderful
about fine watchmaking. It is refined into a traditional
offering, yet exhibits a palpable quotient of ingenuity and
is a remarkable legacy I never cease admiring.
The journey has continued, firstly with the arrival of the
LM2, revealed in 2013, and now a new Legacy Machine,
the LM101.
The LM101
a new
The new LM101 marks a new chapter in the history of
MB&F. The LM101 is the very first movement developed
entirely in-house by MB&F. The similarities with the
LM1 and LM2 are obvious, yet the design delivers differences, potentially appealing to new audiences.
The LM101 is a watch which has stolen my heart, especially
in white gold form. Hours and minutes are presented
on a pristine white dial, while hours are marked with black
Roman numerals. The hands are beautiful blued-gold,
eloquently imparting the hours and minutes.
Suspended by a twin-arm bridge, the balance wheel,
measuring 14 mm in diameter, seems to adopt greater visual
significance than those in other Legacy Machines. This is
probably owing to the smaller case diameter of 40 mm and
by default a greater proportion of the dial surface being
occupied by the balance.
A smaller subdial, positioned at the southerly aspect of
the dial, displays the status of the sole mainspring with its
maximum power-reserve of 45 hours.
Whilst MB&F is a thoroughly modern company, it has not
eschewed traditional craftsmanship. The balance wheel
includes four traditional regulating screws and a Breguet
overcoil features on the hairspring.
Kari Voutilainen provided the “aesthetic design” along with
the “finish specifications”. It shows. The Finnish watchmaker has earned an esteemed reputation among his professional peers. He is known for his exacting standards and
no-compromise finishing. The LM101 stands testament
to his reputation. However, this remains an MB&F machine,
representing a new chapter in the company’s history as it
becomes increasingly independent.
The commonality with the other Legacy Machines is obvious, most notably with the domed sapphire crystal continuing to confer an interesting aesthetic aspect. The profile
of the domed glass, positioned above the dial, and its antireflective nature, makes it virtually impossible to see. The
result is a watch which appears sans glass. It encourages
the wearer to explore each facet of its finely executed form
with an incredulous index finger outstretched.
“Incredulity” is indeed a word that readily sprang to mind
when I cradled the MB&F LM101. I wanted to explore each
surface of every component and inhabit each space located
in between. This is a watch which encourages discovery
and, in my opinion, it is arguably the greatest legacy to bear
the name of Max Büsser and his friends to date.
Bruno Gritti’s
A work of art that is made
to measure
Written by Anand Chandrasekhar
Ever wondered how Mount Everest,
the world’s tallest mountain got its
name ? It doesn’t honour a famous
mountaineer but the British surveyor George Everest, who was instrumental in preparing the first land
survey map of the Indian sub-continent. Surveyors like Everest were
some of the most important men of
the 18th and 19th centuries, as they
played a critical role in guaranteeing safe navigation, planning new
settlements, defending borders and
harnessing natural resources. The
nuts and bolts that civilisations are
built upon.
The surveyors of yesteryear
were really into their gadgets. Their
most precious possessions were
their surveying instruments – devices like theodolites, tacheometers
and levels – which were all vital for
measuring angles and calculating
From left to right
Theodolite, signed “Dennert & Pape,
Altona, Elbe” St. 2101 (Germany)
Second half of the 19th century
Astrolab, signed “Allemano, Torino”
Circa 1900
Clinometer with telescope,
signed “H. Morin, Paris, Bte SGBG”
First half of the 19th century
Tacheometer, signed
“T. Cooke & Sons Ltd. London,
York & Capetown” n. 155521
Early 20th century
Tacheometer, signed
“G. Gerlach Varsavie” n. 12685
Early 20th century
Photo-theodolite, signed “Keuffel &
Esser Co. New York” n. 29326
Circa 1900
the lines needed to map cities, dig canals, build roads and lay down railway
lines in a rapidly industrialising world.
Until the 20th century, the production of surveying instruments was still
an artisanal endeavour. Craftsmen employed by a few specialised firms would
meticulously make the devices by hand in limited quantities. The instruments
were often ordered in advance and shipped to far-off lands where they became
even more precious and valuable.
By a stroke of good fortune, the MB&F M.A.D.Gallery has managed to acquire 15 of these rare and prized surveying instruments from the 19th century
thanks to Italian connoisseur and collector Bruno Gritti. An architect, Gritti
was so fascinated by antique surveying instruments that he began collecting
from the 1960s onwards.
“For me, the tools that feature in my collection are not just an expression of
precision mechanics and applied optics, but they are also objets d’art representing a specific period of history,” he says.
The historic instruments are absolutely amazing to behold, as they somehow manage to look antique and futuristic at the same time. They are time
machines connecting us to the past and allow us to play at being 19th century
explorers. Gleaming in polished brass, bronze or steel, they are very decorative and would be a great addition to any living room. Yet, unlike a conventional objet d’art, their utilitarian origins invite us to touch and handle them.
The surveying instrument has evolved into an object worth surveying in its
own right.
“ For me, the tools that feature in
my collection are not just an
expression of precision mechanics
and applied optics, but they
are also objets d’art representing
a specific period of history. ”
Bruno Gritti
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P. 100
P. 102
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P. 114
Written by Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
Photography :
Luko Gecko (left)
Randi Ang (right)
Photography :
Malcolm Burrows
Gregory Sutton
Two small creatures. One jumps, the
other thumps. And both are veritable
marvels of the natural world thanks
to some neat anatomical engineering
put in place by Mother Nature and developed by Papa Evolution.
First up, ‘the jumper’ a.k.a. the
Issus, a common plant-hopping insect found in gardens across Europe.
Until recently, it was believed
that functioning gear mechanisms
were only man-made. But now it
seems that nature developed interlocking cogs long before humans ever
thought of it !
Scientists from the University
of Cambridge have shown that the juvenile Issus possesses hind-leg joints
with curved cog-like strips of opposing ‘teeth’ that intermesh and rotate
– just like mechanical gears – to synchronise the animal’s legs when it
launches into a jump.
This synchronicity in leg movement is critical for the powerful
jumps that are this insect’s main
mode of transport and defence.
As for the ‘thumper’, we mean
the mantis shrimp, a marine crustacean that can grow as long as 30 cm.
Despite its moniker, it is neither
a mantis, nor a shrimp, but gets its
name thanks to its shrimp-like shell
and mantis-like ‘raptorial’ appendages.
While some species of mantis
shrimp (‘spearers’) have spiny appendages topped with barbed tips to
stab prey, others (‘smashers’) possess
‘clubs’ used to stun and bludgeon
their victims.
These smashers strike at a truly
frightening speed – their clubs can
accelerate to the velocity of a rifle
bullet in three thousandths of a second, in water !
The impact of the appendage
against the striking surface causes
instantaneous forces of up to 1,500
newtons. To put that into perspective, if humans had the same force in
our arms we could throw a baseball
into space !
Studies suggest that the mantis
shrimp club is sophisticatedly super
strong – its helically structured layers ensures that any cracks resulting
from pounding are efficiently minimised.
Even if the mantis shrimp’s initial strike doesn’t make contact with
the prey, the resulting shock wave is
often sufficient to at least stun if not
kill it. That’s because the blinding
speed of the club generates devastatingly destructive cavitation bubbles
between the club and the striking
And the immense force of the
collapsing bubbles produces temperatures of thousands of degrees
in addition to sonoluminescence, the
emission of short bursts of light from
the imploding bubbles. Ouch.
A frog has phenomenal eyes. They allow this jumpy little creature to see
straight ahead, upwards and sideways simultaneously ; Frog’s eyes function
superbly in the dark thanks to a mirror-like layer called a tapetum ; and they
even help the frog to swallow its food. Gulp !
MB&F’s Horological Machine Nº 3 Frog (HM3 Frog) might not possess a
pair of eyes that can do all the above, but it does have a couple of bulbous hour
and minute domes that look uncannily like a real-life frog’s bulging organs of
vision – hence this Machine’s amphibian-inspired moniker.
HM3 Frog protruding hour and minute domes are no less phenomenal
than a real frog’s protruding peepers. For a start, the domes provide near360° vision, in that the wearer can read the time from manifold angles without having to turn the wrist.
Written by Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
Frog Titanium
Poison Dart Frog
More impressively, each dome, far larger than a traditional watch hand,
is extremely light – 0.58 g to minimise energy requirements – and made by machining a solid block of aluminium inside and outside to obtain an ultra-thin
0.28 mm shell.
Even the semi-spherical sapphire crystals covering the domes are a triumph. They have been painstakingly shaped and polished so they are perfectly uniform – they need to be, otherwise any imperfection would distort the
appearance of the bold ‘Star Trek’ numerals emblazoned on the domes.
Alongside the domes, there is a glorious animated 22 k gold flash battleaxe winding rotor spinning around inside the arc of the highly-legible, oversized date display, and set off against the sensational backdrop of the Engine
designed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht.
Subtle arrows point to the hour, minute and date, while the five distinctive clover-head screws provide a neat visual balance. So complete is the attention to detail that the figure-of-eight groove engraved around the domes
echoes the form of the display back, which reveals the dual ceramic bearings
responsible for the smooth operation of the hour and minute indications.
While the movement of HM3 Frog has ‘seriously high-end watchmaking’
written all over it, the overall playful design of this Machine reminds us that
MB&F is that cheeky kid at the back of the haute horlogerie classroom, pulling
faces, making mischief and croaking : “Ribbit, ribbit !”
Seth Casteel’s shots
of man’s best
friend underwater
Written by Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
Fleet, Border collie
whippet mix
Award-winning photographer Seth
Casteel was at a routine photo shoot
when a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
called Buster decided to play around
in a nearby swimming pool. Watching little Buster jump in the water
again and again, Seth thought to him-
self : “I wonder what he looks like under there ? ”
So the Los Angeles and Chicagobased snapper got his hands on a tennis ball, rubber ring and a waterproof
case for his camera and set to work on
a terrific series of photographs aptly
entitled ‘Underwater Dogs’.
The adorable portraits of Casteel’s four-legged friends breaking
through the surface of the water head
first have since been widely shared
across the web and viewed over 150
million times. No self-respecting cof-
Casteel’s technique involved training each
dog to gradually fetch balls deeper
and deeper into the water until the dog
became confident enough to plunge
its entire body into the pool. Most of the
dogs had never been underwater
and some had never even been swimming !
fee table is complete without the printed compilation of photos, which was the best-selling photography book in 2012.
“My goal was to tell the story of the dog I
am photographing,” says Casteel. “And this particular dog, Buster, decided to turn our ‘on-land’
photo shoot into an ‘in-the-pool’ shoot when he
started jumping in over and over again in pursuit
of his favourite tennis ball.
“So I left, bought a little point-and-shoot
underwater camera, zipped back and jumped in.
The resulting photos were the beginning of my
series of underwater dogs.
“However, I needed improved gear to fully
pursue this project so I spent the last available
credit I had on my credit card to buy an underwater housing designed for surf photographers.”
Casteel’s technique involved training each
dog to gradually fetch balls deeper and deeper
into the water until the dog became confident
enough to plunge its entire body into the pool.
Through the course of shooting, Casteel
worked underwater with more than 250 dogs,
and the book ‘Underwater Dogs’ comprises over
From left to right and
top to bottom
Duchess, Black Labrador Retriever
Rocco, Boston Terrier
Making of
Alex, Yellow labrador retriever
Rhoda, Dachshund
Rex, Boxer
80 portraits of man’s best friend as rarely seen
Most of the dogs featured in the series had
never been underwater until they met Casteel…
and some had never even been swimming !
“I happened to pursue an idea that the world
ultimately connected with,” he says. “I took a
chance and it worked out.
“As an artist, that is what I live to do – take
chances that I am passionate about. If you are an
artist and there is an idea that you are passionate
about, make it happen !”
Casteel has since been afforded opportunities with National Geographic and The New
York Times, put on international art exhibitions,
plus given many dogs and cats a second chance
through his charity work.
He is involved in a non-profit organisation,, that helps to increase
adoption rates at animal shelters through better
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Seth himself is a proud ‘dad’ to two dogs : Fritz, the Norwich Terrier and Nala, the mini-Labradoodle.
Photography : Seth Casteel,
Underwater Dogs
by Seth Casteel is published by
Little, Brown and Company
For more information, please visit
Performance Art
pieces are a canvas
for collaborations
Written by Ian Skellern
Technical Editor
A long, long time ago, back in the days
before MB&F, Maximilian Büsser had
a successful career as a senior manager and CEO at a couple of large
watch brands. His ultimate responsibility at these companies was to
ensure that they produced timepieces
that would appeal to large numbers
of potential customers. So naturally,
the designs, colours, indications and
complications were dictated either by
what the market wanted, or what the
brand thought that the market wanted : quite sensible logic for a large
While on a professional level Büsser had every reason to feel
pleased with his success, on a personal level he became ever more frustrated ; he no longer felt satisfied in
fulfilling the desires of what pleased
others. Büsser had a head full of wild
ideas and wanted to create watches
that pleased him. This desire to create for himself was so strong that
Büsser decided to take the plunge,
leaving the security of the corporate
world to found MB&F : a creative hothouse where Büsser’s extraordinary
dreams of kinetic horological art
were brought to life.
After pouring all that time,
energy, money and risk into their
creation, imagine, if you will, the
immense leap of faith required for
Büsser to hand over one of his precious “babies” to another artist and
encouraging them to let their own
imagination soar.
Performance Art pieces are the
fertile result of two creative worlds −
MB&F and an invited artist − coming
together to forge a chef d’oeuvre more
powerful than the sum of its parts.
with Alain Silberstein
Only Watch is a biennial charity auction of uniquepiece watches benefitting research for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a disease affecting young boys,
which is held in Monaco under the patronage of HSH
Prince Albert II . For HM4 Only Watch, MB&F asked
Chinese artist Huang Hankang to let his imagination fly
free with Horological Machine Nº 4 (HM4), and ‘wild’
doesn’t even begin to describe the ride he takes us on.
French architect-turned-watch-designer Alain Silberstein is known for his copious use of bright primary
colours and playful shapes ; his timepieces turn the serious business of haute horlogerie into a laughter-filled
funfair. So, when MB&F invited Silberstein to reinterpret Horological Machine Nº 2 (HM2) as he saw fit, the
last thing they expected was the minimalistic Bauhaus
purity that was Horological Machine Nº 2.2 Black Box.
Silberstein understood that at the heart of all great art
(and watches) is the tension created by contradiction
and contrast, and that MB&F’s Horological Machines
use this aesthetical stress to maximum effect. Well, not
quite to absolute maximum effect, because with “Black
Box”, Silberstein ramped up the contrast to “high”
then kept going.
by Huang Hankang
a solid gold panda bear guiding HM4 through the
air by mean of reins crafted from gossamer-fine gold
threads. The children’s mobility may be limited, but
their spirit and imagination can soar free !
On a more practical note, for the rare occasions when
a golden panda pilot isn’t quite the appropriate
sartorial accessory, it is completely detachable so the
more discreet HM4 can be worn unadorned.
Children suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy
develop reduced mobility, so Huang Hankang crafted
HM2’s complex structural case was reduced to a near
featureless black box, becoming the perfect canvas for
the high-voltage burst of red, yellow and blue of the
indications above and electric-blue rotor below.
with Stepan Sarpaneva
Watchmaking is a logical, rational and analytical
endeavour, basically the polar opposite of the world
of art. So it’s no surprise that there are very few great
watchmakers who also happen to be great artists.
However Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva
belongs to this elite minority, helped no doubt by his
upbringing in a family of talented designers and craftsmen.
Sarpaneva has made the moon and moonphase
indications his own (must be those long Scandinavian
winter nights) and by “own” I don’t just mean that he
dominates the field. Sarpaneva’s signature moons were
created in his own likeness, a factor imbuing them
with a very distinctive look.
For Moonmachine, Sarpaneva ingeniously developed
a moonphase complication fitting between the top of
the movement and the winding rotor, with the moon
set in a blue firmament of laser-pierced northern stars.
The steel and 22 k gold mystery automatic winding
rotor also features laser-pierced stars that poetically
animate the dial.
For the rare occasions when a golden
panda pilot isn’t quite the appropriate
sartorial accessory, it is completely
detachable so the more discreet HM4
can be worn unadorned.
For JWLRYMACHINE, Boucheron transformed a Horological Machine Nº 3 into a
jewel-fledged flight of fantasy. The owl’s breast is crafted from a solid block of purple
amethyst or pink quartz, under which lies its pulsating heart, which is the subtly discernable automatic winding rotor. The colour of the breast is echoed in the leather strap
and jewel set into the crown. Wrapped protectively around each side of the body are
the wings, their iridescent plumage created from a scintillating galaxy of brilliant-cut,
pavé-set gemstones.
But as with its avian counterpart, it’s the owl’s eyes on JWLRYMACHINE that
catch and hold the viewer’s gaze : large translucent cabochons set off by coruscating
orbits of diamonds. And JWLRYMACHINE has one more fletch in its plumage, if − and
this is a big IF − you can draw your attention from the perpetually animated splashes of
colour and light. Looking on the sides of the eyes you can even (whisper this quietly) tell
the time.
Written by Ian Skellern
Technical Editor of
MB&F’s Horological Machines resemble spaceships, fighter jets, super cars and even frogs –
associations limited only by the viewer’s imagination. There is one thing, however, that even
with the wildest imagination you could never
accuse a Horological Machine of looking like…
a wristwatch.
With the vividly-coloured, wrist-born, bejewelled owl that is JWLRYMACHINE, the 150year old French haute joaillerie house Boucheron
has done what most would consider the impossible : it has made one of MB&F’s Horological
Machines, HM3, look relatively watch-like.
Venus and Adonis
after Peter Paul Rubens, 2008
La Marquesa de Pontejos
after Francisco de Goya, 2010
Written by Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
Courtesy : Marta Klonowska and lorch+seidel, Berlin
Photography : Eric Tschernow
For more information, please visit
Lemur, 2011
Polish sculptor Marta Klonowska suffers for her art. Not
in a “I’m a tortured intellectual” way ; she comes across
as happy with her lot. Nor in the “I must endure squalor
to discover my muse” sense ; she lives and works in the
affluent German city of Düsseldorf.
Marta’s suffering is physical. Not quite to the same
degree as American artist Chris Burden – who was shot
in the arm with a rifle for one of his performance art
pieces – but she has sliced her hand open at least once
while carrying out her craft, and more nasty lacerations
could be just around the corner.
That’s because Marta’s artistic medium is glass.
She makes fabulous animal sculptures out of thousands
of spiky glass shards. Not just any creatures, mind you –
she takes animals that feature in the background of classic paintings and puts them centre stage as her sculptural subjects.
Dogs, squirrels, goats, rabbits and other animals
that originally played second fiddle to human subjects in
masterpieces by the likes of Peter Paul Rubens, Francisco de Goya, Frans Snyders and Charles D’Agar all serve
as inspiration for Marta, who generates ideas on visits to
museums and galleries.
“I really like to go to exhibitions of the old masters,”
she says. “There is always something new to discover. I
thought it would be an interesting idea to take something
from these paintings and reinterpret it as something of
my own.”
It takes up to three months for Marta to recreate her
chosen animal subject as one of her glass sculptures.
She begins by welding a framework made of metal
rods based on sketches she has made. She then spends
about half of her working time cutting panes of glass
into fine strips, before gluing the shards onto the frame.
Marta admits that making the glass strips is the most
challenging part.
“The problem is knowing when to stop,” she says.
“When you get tired you’re concentration drops off and
you move in ways you shouldn’t when applying the glass.
I have already slit open one of my hands !”
Given the immense beauty of her sculptures, it
seems that a cut here and a scrape there are creative
risks well worth taking.
P. 118
P. 124
P. 126
P. 130
P. 132
P. 138
HM1 & HM2
Xia Hang sculptures
Comma Man
‘Mr Up’ and ‘Mr Down’
15 cm high
Christian Barker praises a timepiece
that embodies not only past,
present and future, but the 21st
century’s shifting cultural tide.
Written by Christian Barker
CEO and Editor-in-Chief of
Surely everyone reading this will agree that, in its higher
forms, watchmaking is an art. But when watchmakers attempt to get arty, the results can sometimes be closer to
‘Weeping Clown Painted On Black Velvet’ than ‘Girl With
A Pearl Earring’. Take, for instance, animated mechanical automata. Especially when rendered as erotic scenes,
these miniature cuckoo-clocky curiosities mark their
wearer not as an art aficionado, but a tittering, immature,
perpetual adolescent. One can’t help admire the effort
and workmanship, but the taste level ? Saddam Hussein’s
interior decorator would wince.
Where you will see the intersection of art and mechanical engineering done right, however – done with elegance, perfectionism, beauty, and just the right amount
of youthful joie-de-vivre (never immature, but ever playful) – is the M.A.D.Gallery in Geneva. It was here that I
discovered, and immediately coveted, the work of Chinese
artist Xia Hang, whose sculptures in metal – often mechanised – are designed to encourage tactile interaction.
They’re voluptuous, quietly suggestive. Never ‘precious’,
they’re purpose-built to prompt a hands-on experience.
The curvaceous, bosom-like lines of Xia’s ‘Comma Men’
characters invite a caress. The fantastical vehicles the
Comma Men pilot in Xia’s larger works beg to be set in
motion by the viewer.
Unlike erotic automata, Xia’s work is fun and sexy
in a subtle and sophisticated way. The horological collaboration Xia created in conjunction with MB&F boasts
those same attributes. The 4 mm-high ‘Comma Man’ that
graces its dial and indicates power reserve is dubbed ‘Mr
Down’ when slumped, limp and lacking energy ; ‘Mr Up’
when full of verve, wound up, and in (ahem) erect position. Despite the obvious double entendres, there’s noth-
ing vulgar to be found here. Quite the opposite. The Xia
Hang Legacy Machine Nº 1 is the embodiment of refined
classic elegance – but with a spacy, futuristic twist.
Max Busser conceived the LM1 as the type of watch
he might’ve dreamt up if he’d been a Jules Verne-esque
futurist born in the 19th century, and the timepiece certainly does straddle the past and present. This is most
evident in its cutting-edge 3D movement, developed by
Jean-François Mojon and the Chronode team, and finished with baroque historical aplomb by the great Kari
Voutilainen. The ‘now and then’ motif is also reflected
in the innovative dual timezones, which uniquely, allow
completely independent hour and minute settings on each
The 4 mm-high ‘Comma Man’
that graces its dial and indicates
power reserve is dubbed
‘Mr Down’ when slumped, limp
and lacking energy ; ‘Mr Up’
when full of verve, wound up,
and in (ahem) erect position.
of the two dials. But with the Xia Hang edition of the LM1,
and its addition of the sci-fi ‘alien’ Comma Man powerreserve indicator, a third point in time is denoted – the
lovechild of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Isaac Asimov,
this is a watch representing past, present, and a fantastic
imaginary future.
It’s also interesting from a cultural standpoint. If
indeed, as many pundits would have it, we are now witnessing the dawn of ‘The Asian Century’, it is incredibly
apt that MB&F would choose to augment a timepiece that
evinces the creativity, artistry, inventiveness and engineering prowess of the West during the Industrial Age,
with the work of a forward-looking contemporary Chinese artist. Not only traversing time, this watch bridges the yin / yang divide of eastern and western cultures,
symbolically hinting that Europe’s zenith is in the past,
while Asia’s lies ahead.
The LM1 Xia Hang is a timepiece of real substance
– a beautiful blend of aestheticism, engineering, anthropology, history, modernity, technology, poetry, meaning.
In a word, it’s ART. It is not Mr Down, but ordinary automata, that might hang their heads in shame.
Anyone skiing near the French alpine
resort of Les Arcs this winter may
witness the ephemeral artwork of Simon Beck.
For the last 10 years, this Englishman has been creating huge
snowy ‘crop circles’ on the mountains consisting of beautiful, intricate geometric patterns, plotted with
a compass and etched out by foot, all
on his own.
Beck wears large snowshoes to
make the patterns that can take 10
hours to complete, with some spanning the size of six soccer pitches.
A decade ago, the former Engineering Science student at Oxford
University bought an apartment in
the region and began to spend winters there. Because of foot problems,
walking in the snow became the least
painful way for him to exercise.
Written by Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
For more information, please visit
At first, he would draw simple motifs with his feet in the snow
on a frozen lake. That ignited a passion that now keeps him up late into
the night – he even uses a headtorch
– and the effort he exerts for one of
his patterns can equal that needed to
climb halfway up Mont Blanc.
The first two hours are dedicated to mapping out precise outlines
using a compass. He draws inspiration from mathematical patterns –
the Mandelbrot set, Koch curve and
Sierpinski triangle are favourites.
But if he walks in the wrong place, he
can’t click ‘undo’.
Once all of the outlines are
drawn, Beck turns up Beethoven on
his personal stereo and spends up
to 10 hours fleshing out the patterns.
At an altitude of 3,000 m (10,000 ft).
Alone. In a battle with wind and
whatever the weather throws at him.
“It isn’t pleasant and you really
have a long day,” he says. “You feel
very tired when you finish and the
main feeling is just a wish to get back
home safely.”
When he is finished, Beck treks
up the mountain to photograph his
art before posting those images on
Facebook. He now has over 265,000
Facebook fans.
When morning comes, the wind
has often blown away what he began,
or overnight snow has covered it. Not
to worry, Beck treats it as a blank
canvas to start a new one.
“That’s the game, God makes the
rules,” he says. “Mankind will never
be above the laws of nature. You have
to live with nature if you do something outdoors.”
Written by Benjamin Clymer
Founder and Executive Editor
I have a well-documented proclivity
towards the mechanically innovative, and socially inane. In fact, some
would say I have built an entire career of it. But, I remember one day in
March 2013, as I was sitting in the
rear conference room of the MB&F
M.A.D.Gallery in Geneva, when even
my own limits of revering the ridiculous were pushed, or so I thought.
Max had invited me in, saying he had
something to show me – it was, after
all the week before Baselworld. He
removed the cover of what I immediately thought was nothing more than
a to-scale model of some new spaceship he was working on (because, you
know, Max would do that). He told me
it was not just a model spaceship, but
also a music box. I scoffed on the inside, and smiled on the outside. Then
he wound it up, pressed a button, and
it played the most beautiful version
of Imagine I’d ever heard (yes, even
better than Lennon live at Madison
Square Garden in 1972, with Yoko at
Left page
MusicMachine 2 Black
Limited edition of 66
MusicMachine 2 White
Limited edition of 33
Right page
MusicMachine 1 White
Limited edition of 33
his side). Max cracked his own sly smile, knowing full well he’d just converted
a watch lover into a music box lover.
That was MusicMachine 1, built in conjunction with Reuge, the only remaining producers and, in fact, inventors of truly high-end, hand-made music
boxes. I, and seemingly the rest of the watch-following world seemed to love
this first intergalactic music box, but in my head, I had always assumed it
would be one and done – even MB&F wouldn’t be foolish enough to make a
second music box. They did, and it was bigger, louder, and cost twice as much.
And it was that much better. The MusicMachine 2 was so impressive in fact –
with its 350-year-old spruce membranes, its twin 1,400-pin cylinders, and its
aluminium resonance dome – that I asked MB&F to make us at Hodinkee five
of our own to share with our readers. They did just that, and all five of them
were sold out within eight hours.
What makes MusicMachine 2, and in fact much of what MB&F produces,
so interesting is not that Reuge is single-handedly keeping this art form alive,
or just how insanely well finished the object is. Both of those are truths, certainly, but what makes the MusicMachine 2 special is that here, in the year
2014, MB&F inspired Reuge to do things with their music boxes that they had
never done before in their 160 years of existence : the MusicMachine 2 is the
first music box to essentially play in stereo via a connected resonance board,
or amplifier. And that is what I loved about this strange, upside-down looking
USS Enterprise of a desk ornament – it is the physical manifestation of true
innovation in a field that many deemed to be long dead. Does the world need
a $20,000 music box designed by a watch company ? Certainly not, but we do
always need to be moving forward, and thanks to MB&F and companies like
them, I am certain we will.
Written by Anand Chandrasekhar
An invisible presence lurks all around
us, quietly taking over our homes, offices and coffee shops. OK, we’re not
talking about ghosts here, ‘just’ wireless networks.
But what if your WiFi has the
potential to be as thrilling as a supernatural visitor ? The Digital Ethereal
project uses the same tools as ghosthunters to make wireless networks
not just visible but appear almost
The project is the work of Luis
Hernan, a PhD student in architecture and industrial design at Newcastle University, UK. He believes
that this “Hertzian Space” generated
by our technology has many parallels
with ghosts.
“They both are paradoxical entities, whose untypical substance
allows them to be an invisible presence,” says Hernan.
Photography :
Luis Hernan, Digital Ethereal
For more information,
please visit
To capture wireless signals Hernan created a Kirlian Device which
uses the principles of Kirlian photography. Yes, the same technique used
by so-called paranormal researchers
to capture and study auras.
The Device transforms the relative signal strength of a wireless local area network (WLAN) into colour
using a heatmap colour scheme that
is then projected by a Pololu LED
To create the ghost-like effect,
Hernan or another performer carries
and moves with the Kirlian Device
while the LED colours are being projected. Long-exposure photography
captures this movement and colours
to create colourful apparitions in the
final photographs.
Now, you too can play at being
a wireless ghostbuster thanks to the
Kirlian Device Android App developed by Hernan.
There is a first time
for everything
Written by Elizabeth Doerr
Co-founder of
Much is always made of how top makers of
luxury watches are able to combine tradition
with modernity to make extraordinary pieces, and in some cases even objets d’art that
tell the time as accurately as they appeal to
other senses.
L’Épée 1839 is one of the most traditional manufacturers of timepieces working in Switzerland today. In fact, L’Épée was
founded the very same year as Patek Philippe,
but unlike that icon of the horological world,
L’Épée has remained so true to its roots that
it makes much the same kind of product today
that it did in the late 19th century : L’Épée remains the only specialized maker of luxury
clocks situated in Switzerland.
One of the hallmarks of L’Épée’s past
and present work is the fact that its components are made by hand – in particular, the
company’s unique platform escapement. As
part of L’Épée’s most recent modernization –
the platform escapement was also in a way a
modernized version of the pendulum – it introduced a new movement in 2010 that still
utilizes the platform escapement but now
boasts 46 jewels and 40 days’ worth of power
Left page
Light version
Inner C-shaped structure, external
C-shaped structure, support arcs and
screws all in stainless steel
Right page
Dark version
Inner C-shaped structure, external
C-shaped structure and support arcs
in ruthenium-treated stainless steel
“For everything there is a first time,”
Mr. Spock said in 1982’s Star Trek II : The
Wrath of Khan. The logical Vulcan was commenting the newfound equal-gender policy
of his employer, Starfleet, in the film, which
was peppered with rather progressive undertones, providing a certain updated feel to
the timeless, classic television show for its
silver-screen continuation.
What if we take the same recipe – tradition meets open-mindedness – and we apply
it to haute horlogerie ? We may come up with
another Starfleet expression. Indeed, this
time it might even be one that ticks : Starfleet
Encased in minimalist surroundings that allow full view of the mechanical
workings, Starfleet Machine boasts a sleek,
modernly finished movement that was fully
designed and manufactured in L’Épée’s Delémont workshops. Manually wound using a key
that inserts into two depths of the movement
using a set of grooves, one each for winding
and time-setting, the movement boasts 40
days of energy thanks to five serially operating spring barrels. The balance, in plain view
just below the time display, beats at a vintage
frequency of 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz).
Even if it is rather difficult to spot,
the Starfleet Machine also utilizes L’Épée’s
standard platform escapement, though the
time-keeping subgroup has been modified to
give it more of an in-line configuration, thus
better adapting to the overall style of Starfleet Machine.
Some of MB&F’s typical design codes
are visible on Starfleet Machine, such as the
typeface of the hour and minute numerals on
the central dome providing the time display.
If you look closely, you will discover that the
dome and numeral font are not wholly unlike
the time displays found on MB&F’s Horological Machine Nº 3.
The clock also displays seconds progressively : by use of a 20-second-interval
retrograde counter. The power reserve of 40
days is indicated by another dome that provides a reading of bars that functions much
like a mobile phone’s indication of reception
capacity. It is accompanied by a sort of radar
disk that revolves along a 270-degree arc. In
fact, the little element that looks much like a
miniature satellite dish makes its rotations
at exactly the same 40-day rate, providing
added entertainment value.
The main structure of the encasing is
highly reminiscent of the docking station
from the Star Trek Deep Space Nine television
show. The all-stainless steel structure measuring 29 x 21 centimeters provides the support frame holding the movement in place ;
needless to say it in itself catches the eye and
keeps it glued to the spot.
The case comes in two colors : the “light”
version comes in natural stainless steel,
while the dark version’s steel frame has been
coated with ruthenium, a rare metal that belongs to the platinum family. On this latter
version, the movement’s brass base plate is
also coated with the darker metal. The entire
construct is protected by a transparent glass
“biosphere” dome.
Though Starfleet Machine won’t quite
carry the crew of the USS Enterprise, and
Scotty certainly won’t be able to beam anyone up onto it, it is guaranteed to entertain its
owner more than any other timepiece. Indeed,
Mr. Spock might declare it fascinating.
S T . A N T O N
W W W . D A H U S P O R T S . C O M
HM1& HM2
Written by Ian Skellern
Technical Editor
When the horological world first
heard that Maximilian Büsser had
forsaken commercial horology to
found a creative lab called MB&F…
and that MB&F would focus on concept-type watches, nobody had any
idea what to expect. Who could possibly imagine what kind of watch was
in the deranged mind of a man crazy
enough to turn his back on a comfortable career for the wild unknown ?
Launched in 2007, Horological Machine Nº 1 (HM1) answered
that question : Büsser was even crazier than we thought ! HM1 wasn’t so
much a wristwatch as a deconstructed three-dimensional kinetic sculpture. HM1 also introduced the world
to the concept of Machines that happened to tell the time, unlike watches
whose main purpose was to tell the
time. Horological Machines are primarily kinetic art : telling the time
− while they do that very well and to
the highest standards of haute horlogerie − comes second.
HM1 smashes so many conventions
that it is “message understood” ; the
world of watchmaking has entered
a new, post-modern era. HM1 soars
up off the wrist like a sport stadium
with pinched-in sides ; there isn’t one
dial but two, separated by a central
tourbillon raised above the movement. And what a movement : the
world’s first with four mainspring
barrels connected both in series and
in parallel.
HM1’s movement architecture
is like a human body, with the lungs
(two pairs of barrels) sending oxygen (power) to the heart (tourbillon),
which controls the hands. While the
eye can get lost in the intricacies of
HM1’s multi-layered dials, the view
through the display is equally rewarding, with the now iconic battle-axe mystery winding rotor and
absolutely stunning hand-finished
Looking more like an off-world base
station than a wristwatch, Horological Machine Nº 2 (HM2) reinforced
the genetic codes unifying all Horological Machines : two distinct dials /
indications ; three-dimensionality ;
battle-axe mystery winding rotor if
automatic, motif elsewhere if not ; superlatively hand-finished movement ;
and structure you could feel.
With its flying buttresses, sliding crown guard, porthole dials and
in-your-face engineering, the complex case of HM2 appears to be constructed from an up-market Meccano
set. Each of the dual portholes offers
a different perspective of time. Fastpaced jumping hours and concentric
retrograde minutes on the right, with
the altogether slower retrograde date
and bi-hemisphere moon phase on
the left. HM2’s rectangularity flows
along the arm, ensuring a comfortable fit for wrists of all sizes.
HM1 smashed so many conventions
that it was “message understood” ;
the world of watchmaking had entered
a new, post-modern era.
Written by Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
The MB&F
A magical place
where machines rule
Sometimes, it is easier to show someone what you mean instead
of trying to explain it. In October 2011, Maximilian Büsser did
just that when he opened the MB&F M.A.D.Gallery in Geneva.
While spending the previous five years describing MB&F’s
creations as three-dimensional Machines that tell the time – not
to tell the time – the brand’s founder and creative director was
often met with blank stares. What better way, thought Büsser,
to show how MB&F’s Machines belong to the world of kinetic art
than to place them next to other mechanical sculptures in the
context of a crazy gallery ?
“The M.A.D.Gallery is about bringing together artistic aliens
and outcasts who feel alone because they are creating beautiful
machines in a world of practicality,” says Büsser. “We thought
we were unique in creating our Machines within a world of
timepieces. But we realised there are other people creating
machines who are also considered aliens in their world.”
The machines – or Mechanical Art Devices, hence the M.A.D.
– in question have been carefully curated by Büsser and
his team via patient research and smart recommendations from
collectors. All of the pieces are curious, captivating creations
that Büsser would love to have in his personal collection : handcrafted motorbikes and penny farthings ; ingeniously engineered
lights and extra-terrestrial-looking lamps ; transformable,
floating, playful and graceful sculptures ; there is even a mindblowing electric guitar plus photographic art capturing the
essence of machines.
For Büsser, it is the tales behind these objets d’art that are just
as intriguing as the pieces themselves. “Behind every piece,
there is a story of a human being,” he says. “You are seeing a
piece of someone’s life – the life of a creator, a rebel.”
MB&F have often developed close rapports with the artists they
represent and some of these relationships have led to collaborations such as MB&F’s Legacy Machine Nº 1 Xia Hang and the two
MusicMachines for REUGE.
So far a staggering 15,000 visitors have visited the
M.A.D.Gallery. Over a thousand pieces created by around 20
artists and designers have been sold. And with local partners
keen to repeat the successful concept, a second Gallery opened
in Taipei in June 2014, while a third, in Dubai, is on the horizon.
“When we opened the M.A.D.Gallery, we wondered if anyone
would understand it let alone enter it,” says Büsser. “Three years
later, its success has surpassed our wildest dreams.”
Written by Ian Skellern
Technical Editor of
a little
While the inspiration for many of MB&F’s Horological Machines
comes from Maximilian Büsser’s childhood fantasies, the MB&F
Friends concept − and in fact the seeds of MB&F itself − originated while Büsser was in his thirties and CEO of Harry Winston
Rare Timepieces.
To develop that brand’s horological credentials, Büsser came
up with the idea for the Opus series of Concept timepieces. The
Opus watches were not only innovative in their wild complications, but also for the fact that the independent watchmaker
who developed each model was openly credited. And not
only credited in the press material : the watchmaker’s names
were engraved on each watch in the Opus collection. This was
nothing less than a revolution in the hitherto secretive world of
Swiss watchmaking, a world in which many brands fostered the
impression that everything was done ‘in-house’.
Büsser realised that it was working on the Opus series that gave
him the most pleasure and decided to take a massive leap into
the unknown and found a creative hothouse ; one that would
focus exclusively on developing wild concept-style timepieces,
and that not only would the collaborating watchmaker be credited, but that the contribution of virtually everyone involved in
each project would be acknowledged… in a similar way to the
comprehensive credits at the end of films.
And it isn’t just those directly involved in developing, manufacturing, assembling and regulating the Machines that fall under
the Friend’s broad umbrella, but also those photographing the
watches, writing the press releases, creating the presentation
cases, retail partners and – perhaps the most important Friends
of all – the passionate community of watch collectors and aficionados who made and are making the whole MB&F adventure
MB&F is still to my knowledge the only high-end watch brand, if
not the only luxury brand, period, which is so openly transparent
regarding their partners and collaborators. And others might
pay attention, as not only is complete transparency ever more
appreciated by collectors, but there are also few more powerful
motivations for a partner to do their very best work than having
their name on it.
While MB&F’s innovation is usually associated with their outof-this-world Horological Machines, the compelling concept of
Friends has played a significant role in driving the creativity
to reality. And if you are wondering how you might become an
MB&F Friend, the chances are you already are.
Ariel Adams
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
in environment communications and
blogged for the UN. He is currently a
journalist with
Fuelled by an unshakable love for
horology and a general curiosity for
intricate things, Los Angeles-based
Ariel Adams founded aBlogtoWatch
in 2007 as a means of sharing his
passion. Since then, aBlogtoWatch
has become the highest trafficked
blog on luxury timepieces, and Ariel
has become a contributor to other
online publications such as Forbes,
Departures and TechCrunch, to name
just a few. His conversational writing
style and inclusive attitude brings a
wider appreciation for watches the
world over, and that’s just the way he
likes it.
David Chokron
Watch geek and journalist
Christian Barker
CEO and Editor-in-Chief
The CEO and Editor-in-Chief of, Christian Barker was
previously founding editor-in-chief
of The Rake magazine, where he
completed a three-and-a-half-year
tenure at the helm, and was one of the
founding editors of Asian men’s magazine August Man. Earlier, Barker was
a contributing editor at GQ Australia,
features editor of Nylon magazine
Australia, and contributed writing to
an array of international publications.
Simon de Burton
Freelance journalist and author
Simon de Burton writes about highend cars, motorcycles and watches
for publications around the world,
including the Financial Times How To
Spend It magazine, Revolution, Vanity
Fair ‘On Time’ and GQ. He acquired
his first motorcycle at the age of six,
and has since owned more than 250
machines – but none have been
as radical as those to be seen in the
Anand Chandrasekhar
Anand Chandrasekhar enjoys nothing
more than making a living from writing. Making complicated and technical
stuff simple and interesting comes
a close second. Anand has worked
David Chokron is a journalist with
several magazines and websites that
all have to do with watchmaking, his
one true passion. To him, watches are
a universe of their own. They are ruled
by the laws of mechanics, by beauty
and by a healthy dose of lunacy that is
all the more reason to love them.
Benjamin Clymer
Founder and Executive Editor
Founder and Executive Editor of
online wristwatch magazine Hodinkee,
Benjamin Clymer is widely considered
a leading voice in the wristwatch
industry. He is regularly quoted in
The New York Times, Reuters, Forbes,
Departures, GQ, and the Financial
Times, and was dubbed “The High
Priest of Horology” by The New York
Times in 2013. Benjamin is 32 years
old, lives in downtown New York City,
and holds a master’s degree in
journalism from Columbia University.
Angus Davies
Managing Director of
Angus Davies is a self-confessed
watch fanatic. His interest in watches
has been a preoccupying obsession
throughout his adulthood, with him
often succumbing to the temptations
of ‘just one more watch’. He has his
own watch website, Escapement,
which was founded in 2011 and he
regularly contributes to magazines
in his native England, as well as Switzerland and the US. Angus regularly
travels to Switzerland to visit watch
manufacturers and freely admits
he has a keen interest in movement
finishing and the work of independent
Elizabeth Doerr
Co-founder of
Born in Michigan, Elizabeth Doerr has
dedicated most of her waking hours
to mechanical watches since 1991.
Despite having co-founded online
magazine in 2014,
Elizabeth continues to regularly
contribute to numerous high-quality
publications all over the world, including, reaching millions
of readers every year. Elizabeth is the
author of 2010’s 12 Faces of Time,
described as a “love letter” to independent watchmaking by the International Herald Tribune.
Meehna Goldsmith
Watch enthusiast and journalist
Although hardly ever on time, Meehna
is fascinated by the mechanics and
aesthetics of haute horlogerie. She
loves how modern watchmaking is now
daring to incorporate new materials
and progressive ideas into the mix.
However, she swoons for traditional
and impeccable finishing.
Victoria Gomelsky
Watch and jewellery writer for the
International New York Times
Victoria Gomelsky is editor in chief
of JCK, a 145-year-old jewellery trade
publication based in New York City.
Her freelance work has appeared in
the International New York Times,
WSJ Magazine, and The Hollywood
Reporter. She earned her MFA
in nonfiction writing from Columbia
Univer-sity in 2002. She divides
her time between New York City and
Los Angeles.
Terence Lim
Editor of Style : & Style :
Men Timepieces
Besides his wife and kids, Terence has
two other loves : sports and watches.
The former gets his adrenalin pumping
– 80 per cent of the time, he is at the
court, pool or on the roads but never
at the office – while the latter piques
his interest and enthusiasm – the who,
what, why and how of watchmaking
never fails to fascinate him.
Tom Mulraney
Founder of
Tom Mulraney is the Founder of The
Watch Lounge, a New York-based
online magazine dedicated to luxury
watch lovers that he created back in
2009 as a way to share his hobby with
others. Although passionate about all
things horological, he is particularly
fascinated by independent watchmakers, often travelling the globe for
a chance to spend some “hands-on”
time with their breathtaking creations.
Steven Rogers
Journalist and copywriter
Englishman Steven Rogers is a multilingual journalist. He has written and
edited for national newspapers and
acclaimed online publications including and
He currently works for niche Swiss
watch brands as a content creator,
copywriter, blogger, communications
consultant and social media manager.
Ian Skellern
Technical Editor of
An Australian based in Switzerland, Ian
Skellern is a well-known watch journalist and photographer in both print and
online publications (see QuillAndPad.
com). Ian is one of the original MB&F
Friends and has been a long time supporter of independent creators.
Suzanne Wong
Editor-in-Chief of Revolution Asia
Suzanne didn’t exactly fall into horology by chance (she was shoved), but
after four years she’s decided she
quite likes it here and can no longer
remember what it’s like to know nothing about watches. She works with
an amazing team on the world’s most
intellectually and visually stimulating
watch title and she likes it that way.
Her particular interests lie in reading
watches as cultural and sociological
artefacts, anchored at the crossroads
of art and science. Suzanne has a
curious phobia of referring to herself
in the third person, but also believes
in overcoming irrational fears through