MB&F Explore The Ocean

As the saying goes, “In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play”. Every man loves playing with toys, to be in touch with his inner-child. In watchmaking, suffice it to say, Maximilian Busser is a grown-up boy. Most of MB&F’s creations, if not all, are inspired by Max’s childhood obsessions.

For instance, the HM2, HM3, and HM6 are inspired by his childhood dream of traveling to space. The HM5, HMX, and HM8 are the refection of men’s innate interest of sports cars, while the HM4 is inspired by Max’s aviation passion. Besides, Max loves robots, especially the ones in Japanese animation, and presented us with the robotic clocks Melchior, Sherman, and Balthazar. Playful yet luxurious, Max’s creations are the ultimate big boy’s toys; it is more than a watch simply telling time.

Just last year we saw the HM8 taking inspiration from the Can-Am racing series. In 2017, having conquered the land, sky and space, MB&F dives into the water with the latest watch creation Horological Machine No.7 Aquapod, the very first Horological Machine inspired by the ocean.

Horological Machine
No.7 Aquapod

MB&F for so long names its creations by chronological order, like HM1 followed by HM2, and HM2 followed by HM3. The HM7, however, comes after the HM8. This is due to the complex development of the piece. As the HM8 is a sort of mix of the HM5, its complexity of the development is comparatively lower. Therefore the HM8 ended up launching before the HM7. Yet, some believe MB&F intended to launch the groundbreaking HM7 at SIHH in order to steal the limelight at the show.

The inspiration behind the design of the HM7 is the form of jellyfish. Jellyfish has by nature a hood or bell on top. Its almost transparent bodies have radial symmetry with visible internal structure. The HM7 features a spherical movement structure which originated in the “onion” pocket watches in the 18th century. Beneath the hemisphere sapphire crystal, there are the hours and minutes display, barrel and rotor. The dual crowns are located at two sides – the one on the left is for winding the movement and the one on the right for setting the time. The caseback is protected also by a hemisphere sapphire crystal to complete the spherical shape of the piece and allows the wearer to appreciate the movement architecture.

To indicate time, hours and minutes are displayed by two spherical segment discs in aluminium and titanium, which are supported by the oversized ceramic ball bearings, for both minimum mass and maximum rigidity. Turn the piece over and you can see the jellyfish-tentacle-like winding rotor made of titanium. To reinforce the aquatic theme, the piece is equipped with a unidirectional ceramic bezel like a dive watch. The hours and minutes numerals and markers have been painted in Super-LumiNova, while the tourbillon is lit up at night by the use of the AGT Ultra lume (Ambient Glow Technology).

This avant-garde piece is available in rose god case with black bezel (limited to 66 pieces) and titanium case with black bezel (limited to 33 pieces). It measures a massive 53.8mm diameter. Despite the thickness and domed caseback, the HM7 is complemented by movable lugs that will curve comfortably on your wrist. Just a reminder, the HM7 is 50m water resistant. It’s suitable for handwashing and bathing, but not actual diving.

Case: titanium or rose gold
Diameter: 53.8mm
Movement: automatic
Functions: hours, minutes, tourbillon, unidirectional bezel, 3 days of power reserve
Water resistance: 50metres
Limitation: 33 pieces in titanium, 66 pieces in rose gold
Price: 98,000 Swiss Franc (titanium), 118,000 Swiss Franc (rose gold)

Horological Machine
No.8 Can-Am

The HM5, the first creation inspired by sports car of MB&F, was created to pay homage to the optical prism displays of the 1970s Amida watch. This HM8 Can-Am is indeed an evolution of the HM5. The battle axe-shaped rotor, a signature design of the brand, is now visible up top instead of putting it on the underside of the watch. The watch is produced to salute the Canadian-American Challenge Cup (Can-Am), a prestigious racing series in America first held in 1966. The race was a Group 7 SCCA/CASC racing series having no limitations on engine power, or any other performance restrictions. As long as the car had two seats, and met basic safety standards, it was allowed. The wide open regulation permitted almost any innovation and so the cars included such imaginative designs and features, thus leading the developments of the sports cars. For example, Bruce McLaren, founder of McLaren, built his first sports car for the series.

The HM8 Can-Am shares the sleek and bold contour of the Can-Am sports car. The hours and minutes display is transparent in the middle. And the louvers on the top of the case found on HM5 are now removed to clearly show the battle axe-shaped rotor, while the Can-Am inspired polished titanium “roll bars” sweeps from the front of the watch down to the beguiling tapered back. Turning the piece over you can even find the dual oil sumps similar to car engines

Case: white gold and titanium or rose gold and titanium
Size: 49.5 x 52.3mm
Movement: automatic
Functions: jumping hours and minutes
Water resistance: 30metres
Price: 82,000 Swiss Franc

Legacy Machine
No.2 Titanium

Bronze watches and watches with a blue dial have been popular in the watch scene last year. Recently we’ve seen scores of titanium watches and watches with a green dial. Perhaps they will be the hottest style trends in 2017. While this year’s Baaslword is around the corner, MB&F will release the LM2 Ti which ties together a titanium case and green dial. And it will be the fourth edition of the LM2 collection, while the previous models are cased in platinum, rose gold or white gold.

The LM2 first launched four years ago; yet, it still looks cool and modern. This time the LM2 is bestowed a refreshed look – the bezel and lugs are mirror-polished to give a greater contrast with the satin-finished case. Besides, the bezel is 1mm thinner and the dial boasts more open space, lending an elegant touch to the piece. Moreover, the double balance wheels are also mirror-polished echoing the finishing of the bezel, and now held by four gracefully arcing arms, leaving the lines very gentle and soft.

Case: titanium
Diameter: 44mm
Movement: hand-wound
Functions: hours and minutes
Water resistance: 30metres
Limitation: 18 pieces
Price: 138,000 Swiss Franc

Legacy Machine
Perpetual White Gold

The Legacy Machine collection is created to pay tribute to traditional watchmaking craftsmanship. The watches therefore are in round case and equipped with some classic functions. As such, Max teamed up with watchmaker Stephen McDonnell to create the LM Perpetual with the function perpetual calendar. First released in 2015, the watch was cased either in rose gold or platinum. In last year’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG), this groundbreaking watch was awarded the “Calendar Watch Prize”. And the latest iteration comes in a white gold case and marries with a choice of either purple dial (limited edition) or grey dial (non-limited).

The dial of the LM perpetual features a three dimensional design and a signature and eye-catching balance wheel hovering over the dial. Under the balance wheel you can see the off-centered hour and minute dial as well as the three sub-dials, while the power reserve and retrograde leap year indicator are located at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock respectively.

With a conventional perpetual calendar layout, the day of week, month, date are assigned at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock respectively. Unlike the traditional approach building modules on the base movement, the heart of the LM perpetual is a single and fully integrated movement. In addition, an exclusive mechanical processor system replaces the traditional grand lever system, which allows quicksetting of the day and eliminates the risk of damaging the movement, so as to maximise the ease-of-use of a perpetual calendar watch.

Case: white gold
Diameter: 44mm
Movement: hand-wound
Functions: hours, minutes, perpetual calendar, retrograde leap year indicator, 72 hours of power reserve
Water resistance: 30metres
Limitation: 25 pieces (purple dial), non-limited (grey dial)
Price: 148,000 Swiss Franc


To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of MB&F, the brand joined hands with L’Epee, a premier clock manufacture in Switzerland, to produce the robot clock Melchior. And the novel collaboration goes on. In just two years, they have presented us the spider-inspired Arachnophobia and another robot clock Sherman with tank-tread feet. The latest robotic offering is the Balthazar weighing at over 8kg and standing 39.4mm tall, which is even taller and heavier than its predecessor Melchior. This cool robot offers choices between black, silver, blue or green armor variants, each limited to 50 pieces.

The Balthazar is inspired by human nature of light and dark side, so it is designed to have one look at the front and one at the back. The light side has a smiling face and the red eyes are actually 20-second retrograde displays, as if it is continually scanning the surroundings. The time is displayed on the chest: an hour-disc on the left and minute-disc on the right. Below these, there is a power reserve indicator of 35 days at the waist. Balthazar’s dark side shows a moonphase indicator engraved with its smiling face and angry face. The shield which mounts on its arm is the “key of power”, for it allows you to wind the movement and set the time. Last but not least, you might wonder why the name Balthazar was chosen. In the Busser family, from the 1400s onwards, every eldest Busser son was either called Melchior or Balthazar. But it is until Max’s grandfather, who was named Melchior and wasn’t much like the name. Max, however, is very fond of both names. That’s why the names are used for the two robotic clocks Melchior and Balthazar.

Frame: palladium-plated polished brass and stainless steel
Size: 39.4 x 23.8cm
Movement: L’Epee hand-wound
Functions: hours, minutes, retrograde seconds, moonphase, 35 days of power reserve indicator
Limitation: 50 pieces
Price︰52,000 Swiss Franc


Text: Gavin Ho / Photo: Kauzrambler (HM7)