Nearly two years ago now, as Max Büsser read increasingly grim reports from Italy and China, he surmised that MB&F, his namesake and signature timepiece brand, would go bankrupt before the pandemic was done ravaging his main global markets in Europe, Asia and the USA.
These days, he’s happy to have been wrong, but acknowledges that the outcome could have been vastly different. The key to his pandemic survival? Key, loyal customers placing cash orders for timepieces that his workshops are still cranking out.
An MB&F timepiece waiting period is up to three years.
MB&F breaks down their creations into four categories: Horological Machines, Legacy Machines, the very limited Performance Art, and Co-Creations. Horological Machines are inspired by childhood memories and dreams. The pieces are both futuristic and appealingly unusual in design, especially for collectors. Legacy Machines are pieces that could have been created 100 years ago: round-face timepieces with an anything-but-traditional design under a domed treasure box of angled and projecting tourbillons and vertically stacked movement structures. Büsser’s everyday choice for his personal timepiece comes from this collection: he wears the MB&F LM Perpetual EVO.
Performance Art pieces feature artisans, from accomplished watchmakers to young, budding artists, who put their personal spins on unique and limited pieces. In contrast, you won’t wear MB&F’s co-creations line on your wrist, but each of the complex and futuristic, stand-alone time-telling machines are an ultimate must-have for collectors and enthusiasts.
MB&F produces 250 custom timepieces per annum these days, including the new LM Perpetual in Palladium. Upon the Palladium’s completion, the team of six watchmakers and six engineers begged Büsser not to work with palladium again: it was just too difficult of a material. For Büsser, that’s what made it so special.
Büsser brought his creative experiences from Jaeger LeCoultre and Harry Winston to MB&F (Max Büsser and Friends) in 2005. “I’ve always been a creator. I became a marketeer – and I hated it. I found myself designing pieces that would sell, when what I wanted to do – what I needed to do – was just design for myself,” he said.
Büsser spoke to Polo Lifestyles from his home in Dubai, where he relocated his family over concerns that he was prioritizing the MB&F workshops over his homelife, he worked remotely before, well, we all started doing that. “I was working remotely back when people said, ‘Oh that will never work,’” he laughed. He chose Dubai because of its relatively bearable time zone difference with Switzerland, and he – and his family – have never regretted it. “Dubai offers a quality of life you really don’t find everywhere. Working remotely is no longer considered the exception, but almost the rule, so it’s really a perfect situation for me and my family.”
MB&F timepieces are available at select, fine retailers and jewelers in Europe, Asia and the United States, as well as at MB&F’s dedicated M.A.D. Gallery locations in Geneva, Taipei, Dubai and Hong Kong.