MB&F - Horological Machine No1 - Titanium Grade 5
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
MB&F - Horological Machine No1 - Titanium Grade 5

Horological Machine No1 - Titanium Grade 5

MB&F

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See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
Horological Machine No1 is an art and sculpture of micro-engineering. By designing and constructing its first three-dimensional machine MB&F broke free of the constraints imposed by traditional horology. HM1 is a totally original timepiece, featuring hours and minutes on separate dials, raised central one-minute tourbillon, seven-day power reserve, four mainspring barrels and both automatic and manual winding. It has a radical new design and construction plus a brand new movement with 376 parts and 81 functional jewels. While the most visual technical element of the movement is the rotating one-minute tourbillon on top of the dial, it was the four massive mainspring barrels that dominated HM1's design and construction. There is no mistaking the three-dimensionality of Horological Machine No1, both in the sheer volume of the case and in the multiple strata of its dial. The depth and complexity of the dial encourages and rewards an oblique viewpoint as there is so much more to see than simply the time. The single arm of the tourbillon cock, reminiscent of vintage Breguet pocket watches, allows an uninterrupted view right into the beating heart of the movement. Limited edition of 10 pieces.

Technical specifications

Case
  • Titanium Grade 5
Diameter
  • 41 mm x 64 mm x 14 mm
Caliber
  • Engineered by Laurent Besse with Peter Speake-Marin
Functions
  • Hours, Minutes, Central one-minute tourbillon
Dial
  • Crystal, Ruthenium, Silver
Bracelet
  • Black alligator

Who's who

“Amazing. Maximilian Büsser is definitely an amazing person.” If you ask Laurent Picciotto to go over the main points of his history with the big man at MB&F, you’ll initially be met by a long silence and a pensive look. Where to begin? What about the first meeting, when “Max” was on a work placement at Jaeger-LeCoultre? When he was head of Harry Winston Watchmakers? When he transitioned to become a designer, bringing together the greatest watchmaking talent at MB&F? These are all stages in Max Büsser’s career; yet the person who passed through them has been so different in each role that it can sometimes be difficult to see the continuity. Be that as it may, the link between the two men was indeed first forged in Paris, twenty years ago. Laurent Picciotto had opened Chronopassion three years previously, laying the foundations for a brand that was to become a benchmark, but which at that time was pretty much a complete unknown beyond a tiny number of top watchmaking connoisseurs. Meanwhile the young Maximilian Büsser had just graduated from the Lausanne Federal Polytechnic School and joined Jaeger-LeCoultre. Büsser was enamoured with watchmaking mechanics. When he was in Paris, he went to see Chronopassion in rue Saint Honoré. “He stayed over three hours,” recalls Laurent Picciotto. “He was enthusiastic and inquisitive. He asked thousands of questions – he was an unusual young man and already knew a lot more about watchmaking culture than he was letting on.” Max Büsser worked in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Marketing department for seven years. He left in 1991 to move to Harry Winston. The 5th Avenue jewellers in New York City had already made some inroads into the watchmaking world, but without any major breakthroughs. The first timepieces dated back to 1989, but had failed to find much success. Output remained tiny, as the young Max Büsser sowed the seeds of high-class watchmaking at the jewellers. He was soon promoted to the position of Managing Director of the Rare Timepieces department. That was when the paths of the two men crossed again. “I was out for a walk in Geneva,” says Laurent Picciotto, “when a man in a car stopped next to me. He was no longer the young apprentice from Jaeger, but the CEO of Harry Winston Watchmakers. I didn’t recognise him – he’d completely changed, even physically! He really had taken on the stature of CEO. It was amazing.” The two men then saw each other every year during the course of Harry Winston business. The watchmaking part of the brand, driven by Max Büsser, gradually took shape, “but I was interested only in the Opuses,” says Laurent Picciotto with a smile. A friendship developed and when Max Büsser left Harry Winston in July 2005, a new chapter in it began. “Max told me about his new project, MB&F, standing for Maximilian Büsser & Friends. I said just three words to him: ‘I’ll follow you.’ He was a little surprised, as he didn’t have any immediate plans to establish the brand in France and he hadn’t even got the slightest prototype anywhere near ready!” Picciotto’s instinct was right, though. The first Horological Machine, HM1, came into being two years later in 2007. “This timepiece is difficult to apprehend – you need to put it on your wrist and wait a good quarter of an hour before being able make up your mind,” remembers Laurent Picciotto. The next part of the adventure is better known: four HMs and an LM, standing for Legacy Machine, a piece that pays tribute to watchmaking inventors. It is more aesthetically accessible but no less technically complicated for all that. Each MB&F item is the fruit of the greatest talents in top watchmaking, in terms of both watchmaking technology itself and design: Jean-François Mojon, Kari Voutilainen, Peter Speake-Marin, Laurent Besse, Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, Eric Giroud, and so on. “At the end of the day, MB&F timepieces really do need to be adopted by their owners. Max adds a touch of humour, born out of his uninhibited approach to watchmaking. It’s definitely a brand that brings a breath of fresh air to the watchmaking landscape, shaking it up to just the right degree,” concludes Laurent Picciotto.
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