Its no secret that the mechanical watch industry has experienced quite the renaissance along with a high renewed interest. After facing near extinction in the 1970’s to early 1990’s, the quartz movement was the most popular choice during those times primarily due to the price difference between a quartz watch and most mechanical watches which was quite substantial. Many brands did not survive the quartz outbreak while some even adapted to those times and produced a variety of quartz powered watches.
But overtime, for the brands that did survive that “dark period”, they are now more than ever enjoying the spoils of survival especially with the internet educating those horologically curious individuals and almost turning them into experts overnight. With this flourishing interest and advancements in technology in mechanical watchmaking, many independent brands began to emerge and are making headlines with some “out of this world creations”. Leading the charge in this renaissance in watchmaking is powerhouse in the independent watch scene we all know as MB&F.
MB&F which stands for Maximillian Busser and friends, was founded by the former creative director for Harry Winston’s opus project. For those who are not familiar with the Opus collection, I would highly suggest googling it right away. Though the style may not be for everyone, one thing that would never be disputed is the unbelievable mechanics involved in this special collection. Each iteration of an Opus piece was crafted from a different independent watchmaker each year. With every year comes a brand new fresh perspective of wildly telling time, and one of my personal favorites was opus 11 by Denis Giguet that told time by explosions. (not literal of course)
With that pedigree and level of connections made throughout many of those projects, Busser decided to start his own brand Mb&f. In his vision, it was worth to be more adventurous with the concept of watch making, and originally he didn’t want to just make classic and conventional watches. Working sculptures are what he sought to create, and for over 10 years Mb&f has created some amazing pieces that represent both classic sensibilities followed while the alter ego of that would be amazingly wild like the “Horlogica Machine” collection.
Currently, there are 6 different watches in the “Horological Machine” collection, and ever year keeps getting wilder and crazier, but is still amazing in all its glory. Personally I always liked the horological machine No.4. Although its probably going to be a monster on the wrist and maybe uncomfortable at times, the spaceship shape and design watch was inspired by “Star Wars” which Max was actually a huge fan of growing up.
It may seem rather ridiculous to the ultra practical since this is actually a space ship that can be worn on the wrist, but beyond that fact it’s hard to imagine that something like this could even be accomplished. The amazing likeness of thrusters that are also sectioned off by a precisely shaped sapphire crystal exposing the heart and core of the watch is simply unbelievable. Of course let us not forget about the movement.
This ultra-complicated movement was developed by Laurent Besse and Les Artisians Des Horlogers (now bankrupt) who were also once part of Corum’s team in designing their highly complicated pieces. The purpose of this design was to emulate the look of an engine with an automatic rotor spinning in the middle along with the escapement. Each side powers an individual function as indicated of the rear of the thruster which are either seconds of minutes and hours.
Of course like any respectable watchmaker, their finishing elements even down to the beautifully hand polished edges are also quite superb as well as the tight Cote D’ Geneve.
From all facets, this watch is an absolutely masterful piece of micro-mechanics and even just looking at it without wearing it is enjoyable. But of course not wanting to wear one may be understandable as well.