In Conversation With Maximilian Büsser @ Owner & Creative Director of MB&F Horological Lab

MB&F stands for Maximilian Büsser & Friends - just as the name suggests, MB&F is an artistic and micro-engineering concept laboratory dedicated solely to designing and crafting small series of radical concept watches in collaboration with talented professionals. Collectives of independent horological professionals are assembled each year to design and craft radical Horological Machines. Maximilian Büsser, Owner & Creative Director of MB&F Horological Lab talks to mylifestylenews on his switch from luxury watch brands to his very own brand formation and proud to shout out loud that this is a disruptive watchmaking art business during his visit in Hong Kong......

Respecting tradition without being shackled by it enables MB&F to act as a catalyst in fusing traditional, high-quality watchmaking with cutting-edge technology and avant-garde three-dimensional sculpture. In 2007, MB&F unveiled their first Horological Machine; in 2011, MB&F launched their round-cased Legacy Machine collection. In just a couple of years, the talented teams assembled by Maximilian Büsser have become a new creative force in watchmaking with their highly-coveted original timpieces and making childhood dream comes true.

In 2005, after seven years in the senior management team of Jaeger-LeCoultre and another seven years as managing director of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces in Geneva, Büsser created the world’s first horological concept brand: MB&F – Maximilian Büsser & Friends. MB&F is dedicated to developing radical horological concepts by working in small, hyper-creative groups composed of people Büsser enjoys working with. Respecting tradition without being shackled by it enables MB&F to act as a catalyst in fusing traditional, high-quality watchmaking with cutting-edge technology to create three-dimensional mechanical sculptures.

In 2007, MB&F unveiled their first Horological Machine. Its sculptured, three-dimensional case and beautifully finished Engine set the standard for the idiosyncratic Machines that followed – Machines that tell the time, rather than Machines to tell the time. In 2011, MB&F launched their round-cased Legacy Machine collection. These more classical pieces (classical for MB&F that is) pay tribute to 19th century watchmaking excellence by reinterpreting complications from the great horological innovators to create contemporary objets d'art. Since 2011, MB&F alternate between launching an exciting new Horological Machine and an historically-inspired Legacy Machine.

At the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève in 2012, MB&F’s Legacy Machine No.1 was awarded the Public Prize (voted for by horology fans) and the Best Men’s Watch Prize (voted for by the jury). At the 2010 Grand Prix, MB&F won Best Concept and Design Watch for HM4.

<Legacy Machine N°1 Xia Hang>

Legacy Machine N°1 Xia Hang (LM1 Xia Hang) retains all of the 19th century pocket watch-inspired features of the original LM1, including the majestically suspended slowly oscillating balance wheel and dual time indications that can be set completely independently, but with a twist: the power reserve is indicated by a miniature, highly-polished aluminium man, designed by talented Chinese sculptor, Xia Hang. The man sits up straight when the movement is fully the wound (Mr. Up) and gradually slumps over as the power diminishes (Mr. Down). Xia Hang and MB&F share much in common. While MB&F create serious works of time-telling kinetic art, they don’t take themselves too seriously. Similarly, Xia Hang believes the world of art is often too serious; he likes it to be playful, and wants his sculptures to entertain and make people smile. And just like MB&F, Hang calls his kinetic sculptures ‘machines’. The in-house movement powering LM1 Xia Hang bears testimony to the enormous talent of its creators. Jean-François Mojon and his team at Chronode developed the LM1 calibre, which features the world’s first vertical power reserve and allows completely independent setting – including minutes – of both time displays. Acclaimed independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen was responsible for the aesthetic design and for strictly ensuring the utmost respect for tradition and finish. Legacy Machine N°1 Xia Hang is a limited edition of 12 pieces in red gold and 12 pieces in white gold. Each Machine is accompanied by a pair of stainless steel sculptures: large-scale versions of Mr. Up and Mr. Down signed by Xia Hang.

<Legacy Machine 101>
For a classically sized 40mm wristwatch, Legacy Machine 101 (LM101) covers a lot of ground. It embodies and accentuates the very essence of what is essential in a wristwatch: the balance wheel, which is responsible for regulating precision; how much power remains in the mainspring, which indicates when it needs to be next wound; and of course, the time. And it has one more very special feature: it houses the very first movement developed entirely in-house by MB&F. Visually, LM101 is dominated by the monumental suspended balance wheel under two arches, its sedate oscillations drawing the eye ever closer. Two pristine-white subdials hover just above the fine sunray-engraved movement top plate: At the top right, highly legible hours and minutes are displayed by beautiful blued-gold hands contrasting against the immaculate white, while the 45-hour power reserve indicator is displayed in a smaller, but similar subdial below. With its undulating Geneva waves, hand polished bevels, gold chatons and countersunk blued screws, the beauty of LM101’s movement doesn’t just stay faithful to a bygone era. It also heralds the dawn of a new epoch as it is the first MB&F calibre to be entirely conceived and designed in-house. While award-winning independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen took responsibility for the movement’s fines finishing and fidelity to the horological past, its architecture and construction are 100% pure MB&F. Legacy Machine 101 is available in an 18k red gold or 18k white gold case.

<Horological Machine No.5 RT>
HM5 RT is full of surprises: Hour and minute displays look straightforward, but they are bi-directional jumping hours with indications inversed, reflected 90° and magnified 20%. HM5 RT has a futuristic case design, but it’s from the 1970s. HM5 RT has a mechanical movement, but inspired by an era when quartz was King. The rear louvres on supercars block light, but on HM5 RT they let light in. Befitting its automotive heritage, HM5 RT has exhaust pipes, but they drain water. Horological Machine No.5 RT was inspired by an earlier time when we were not quite as blasé about technology as we are now: the 1970s. A deep-brush case finish brings out the lush richness of the 5N red gold and the warmth of the precious metal creates a perfect juxtaposition with the cool electric-blue trim around the time display. Grade 5 titanium flanking the lower sides and base of the case both highlights and softens the formal nobility of the red gold. While HM5 RT has a generously sized 51.5mm x 49mm case and gold is known for its weight as much as its beauty, thanks to the discrete use of ultra-light titanium, HM5 RT is a very comfortable machine to wear. HM5 RT is a luxurious limited edition of 66 pieces in 5N red gold and titanium.

<Starfleet Machine>
The Starfleet Machine is ready to explore the deep space and beyond with you. Starfleet Machine is an intergalactic spaceship-cum-table clock, featuring hours and minutes, double retrograde seconds and power reserve indicator. The highly visible, superlatively finished in-house movement boasts an exceptional power reserve of 40 days (you need a large fuel tank for long space voyages). Starfleet Machine has been designed by MB&F, the award-winning artistic and micro-engineering laboratory.

Hours and minutes are indicated on the central black dome by hand-polished hands that follow the dome’s curved contours. Behind that, a smaller rotating dome, accompanied by a revolving radar dish, provides an intuitive view of remaining energy: five bars indicates the movement is fully wound (40 days of power); one bar means Starfleet Machine is running low on propellant (eight days of remaining power) it’s all relative as most table clocks have a maximum power reserve of only eight days. Below 12 o’clock on the central hour-minute dome are the double retrograde seconds in the form of turret-mounted laser cannons. The cannons start in parallel and cross over one another before rapidly flying out again, an action marking off 20-second intervals. The red-tipped cannons provide eye-catching visual animation, and perhaps just as importantly, fend off enemy attacks against the core of the craft just underneath: the regulator, which has deliberately been placed in full view for all to admire.

What drive you to start with the first horological concept watch brand after numerous year working for JLC and Harry Winston?
When I started at Harry Winston, it was a big shock because I did not know the company was being sold and H.W. Timepieces was virtually bankrupt. This was 16 years ago, I was 31, and I felt I had done the biggest error of my life. With a team of 7 people we were working like hell creating a new strategy, travelling like crazy to help get out of that hole without New York ever helping us in any way. I learned two things through growing the company and becoming really successful: first is that I am capable of doing it. You do not know what you’re capable of doing until you are confronted to it. The second is much more amazing for me: it is that the bigger the company was growing, the more I had what most men want recognition, power, money or your face in the newspaper - the less I was enjoying myself. Even though it was easier and easier, it was becoming less and less pleasurable and I didn’t understand why. It was my father’s passing away 13 years ago that made me realize this is not the life I want to live, not the life I would be proud of on the day I pass away. So I started dreaming about what would later become MB&F but I didn’t have the funds to get started and I just put the idea into a drawer and closed it. Yet, every time I opened the drawer I thought ‘..that’s a fantastic idea!’ and I started opening the drawer more and more often. Then two things happened much like when you fall in love: A) you become completely stupid, and B) you stop reasoning because you’re obsessed. And suddenly everything was about that. I just had to do it. MB&F is about giving a real art perspective to watchmaking. We deconstruct the most beautiful movements of the past to reconstuct them into 3D pieces of kinetic art which give time.

By creating this brand, does this mean that you have made your childhood dream come true?
For a very long time, I considered I had had a pretty sad and lonesome childhood. Survival for a lonely child is day dreaming. I was saving the world on a daily basis. One minute Han Solo, one minute Captain Kirk, one minute a fighter pilot during the first or second world war, etc, etc… And it is only once I started creating for myself at MB&F that I realized these childhood fantasies were getting replayed over and over again in my designs. I don’t set upon creating a Horological Machine which looks like a plane (i.e. the HM4 Thunderbolt), my drawing just takes me there. Sometime I think MB&F is very close to a psychotherapy: I revisit subconsciously my childhood to create incredible 3D kinetic sculptures which make my adult life happy.

Who is your target market?
There is no target market. I create for myself. Our most successful pieces were creations I thought no one would ever buy. This is where watchmaking touches art.

Who are the people in profession best fit in to the MB&F style and design?
I don’t know. All over the world we garner a very small but very loyal group of followers. Their motivations are as diverse as their backgrounds.

How much do you involve the in design & product development?
100%. Creating is my life. That is why MB&F exists. Now of course all alone I would never be able to make these incredible pieces come to life. That is why I called my brand “& Friends” because the incredible specialists, artisans, engineers and watchmakers take an idea and transform it into a beautiful piece of disruptive watchmaking art.

When you design, do you design for trend or practicality and durability? Why?
I design for myself. Trend is a completely banished word at MB&F. In 10 years you will put 20 of my creations on the table, and see no trend of the watch industry. Just what I have wanted to express and experiment. Practicality and durability are of course in the back of my mind when I create a piece. MB&F was created on one philosophy: treat people the way you want to be treated. And ensuring a great product and great service is part of that philosophy, because I would want that if I were a client.

What are the education level/product knowledge shall be given to the people who is new to MB&F in order for them to value and understand such young brand’s history?
Aha… That is a tough question. Clearly it is not easy to understand what we are trying to achieve if all you are looking for is status and recognition. There needs not only to be knowledge about real artisan high-end watchmaking but also an open mindset to watchmaking being an art, where real human beings invest talent, soul and craftsmanship to transform an idea into reality. Watchmaking should not be a way to show off, but a way to connect with creativity.

What are the personality and attitude a person who wear MB&F should have?
After many years of meeting our clients, I realize that one point brings them often together – whatever their culture and country – they are rebels. Strong minded human beings who do not care what others think of their choices. The same decision process which caters to the creation of my pieces (I don’t care what others think), actually infuses the buying process of the same pieces.

What is your brand positioning?
Rebel ultra-high end artisans

Why do you think the HK or Asia market is ready now for MB&F?
Asia is our largest market with 41% of our pieces being sold on this continent. Asia is a thriving forward-looking continent which is ready to embrace creativity and has always loved artisanship and culture. Hong Kong is on the other hand a very new market for us, and we can unfortunately only ship twelve pieces here this year.

What is planned for MB&F in 2015?
 2015 will be our 10th anniversary and will see our 10th and 11th new caliber. Again an amazing year ahead!

What do you and MB&F would like to achieve ultimately?
Be proud and happy.

The Reuge Factory where the Music Machines are made

*Special thanks to Elegant Watch for the interview arrangement.

Discover ANYA HINDMARCH Bespoke Service

For a very limited time, ANYA HINDMARCH brought its craftsman from London for the very special Bespoke service in Ocean Center Store, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. This rare opportunity allows you to meet the craftsman in person to emboss your personalized messages and drawings on the leather goods from the AW2014 collection.

The Anya Hindmarch Bespoke Collection launched in 2009. Connecting the customer to the craftsman, it embodies everything that Anya loves great craftsmanship, the finest materials, individual pieces that are made personally for the customer with their name on rather than the designers, old fashioned service, personalisation so that you can be creative, packaging that is as special as the contents and pieces that will solve those endless present dilemmas.

The collection incorporates pieces for both women and men that are destined to become family heirlooms. Each piece has been handcrafted in the finest skins, from the best tanneries in the world, most of which have been developed exclusively for the collection. Names, handwritten messages, and drawings can be embossed into the leather by the craftsman based in the store to make each piece even more individual and to seal a memory or a moment in time.

Anya has always been passionate about personalisation as it gives any piece a whole new dimension beyond anything you can buy off the shelf and makes the piece very hard to part with. One of the first pieces she ever created was a wallet as a gift for her husband containing an embossed handwritten quote “happy birthday hairy.”

Old fashioned touches are included with every bespoke item. Inspired by vintage finds Anya has collected over the years, evening bags include a dance card, wallets and bags a lucky penny and St. Christopher cards are included with all travel pieces.

Every piece arrives in its own box, many hand tooled with the recipient’s name and wrapped ready to make the perfect present. The packaging is as detailed as the product inside. Promotion ends 5th October 2014.

OMEGA @ Master Co-Axial Cutting-Edge Anti-Magnetic Movement

 OMEGA revolutionises art of watchmaking with cutting-edge anti-magnetic movement at Master Co-Axial watch. There was plenty of magnetic allure as OMEGA is solving the longstanding challenge of ensuring that the proper functioning of its mechanical watches is not affected by magnetism. The first step in OMEGA’s Co-Axial revolution began in 1999 with the unveiling of the Co-Axial escapement; in 2007, the brand developed the calibres 8500/8501, the first in-house Co-Axial movements; and just one year ago, OMEGA announced the creation of the first truly anti-magnetic watch movement. All of these milestones in OMEGA’s history of product innovation have paved the way to the launch of most advanced mechanical movements the watch world as ever seen the OMEGA Master Co-Axial calibres. The family of exclusive movements includes Master Co-Axial calibres 8400G/8401G, 8500G, 8511G and 8520G - all of which are distinguished from their Co-Axial predecessors by their ability to resist magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss.

In 2013, OMEGA introduced the first truly anti-magnetic watch movement, the OMEGA Co-Axial calibre 8508. Over the course of one year, OMEGA has industrialised its anti-magnetic technology and reintroduced it in a vibrant range of timepieces with various sizes and styles. Unlike other efforts to combat the effects of magnetism, these movements do not rely on a protective container inside the watchcase but on the use of selected non-ferromagnetic materials in the movement itself. The first important step toward creating an anti-magnetic movement began in 2008 with the launch of the Si14 silicon balance spring. 

The staffs and pivots of this upgraded calibre are made of Nivagauss™; the steel plates found in the Co-Axial escapement have been replaced with non-magnetic plates; and the spring of the shock absorber has been crafted from an amorphous material. In time, this exclusive world premiere technology will equip the wristwatches in all of OMEGA’s storied watch families. In addition to their impressive magnetic resistance, the OMEGA Master Co-Axial calibres feature OMEGA’s free-sprung balance system, three-level Co-Axial escapement and special luxury design elements including a rhodium-plated rotor and bridge decorated with Geneva waves in arabesque. The reliability and timekeeping performance of the OMEGA Master Co-Axial calibres over time is such that each watch equipped with one of these extraordinary mechanical movements is offered with a full four-year warranty.

 “OMEGA’s revolutionary anti-magnetic movement is another technological milestone in our longstanding tradition of precision watchmaking. Meeting the challenge of the effect of magnetic fields on watches effectively solved a problem that has perplexed clock- and watchmakers for centuries."  Said Jean-Claude Monachon, OMEGA Vice President and Head of Product Development.

Cherie Chung X agnès b. @ La Maison Sur L'Eau - To Hong Kong With Love Photo Exhibition

Cherie Chung X agnès b. La Maison Sur L'Eau joined hand by holding a <To Hong Kong With Love> Photo Exhibition at agnès b. RUE DE MARSEILLE @ K11 Art Mall, Tsim Sha Tsui by sharing the same affection of caring the society with the idea of “Give Love”. agnès b. also sees Hong Kong as a city full of love and passion, where people live with pride and happiness. The images Chung took transmit her devotion for the city and lead people to pay more attention to their homeland. The photos exhibition is under 2 core aspects – nature and city. Nature prelims the hidden beauty, serenity and tranquility of Hong Kong’s natural scenes; city exposes the carefree thus multifaceted city of Hong Kong.

This exhibition will display 51 photos (size 500x333mm to 2400x2400mm). Photos are taken in nature surroundings, alleys, markets, residential areas where Chung built feelings towards. 

"I am fortunate to have been born in Hong Kong and raised in a society under British colonial rule yet imbued with Chinese traditions and values. This unique background, as reflected in our politics and legal system and our respect for human rights, freedom of movement and gender equality, makes me an individual different from women in other Asian countries. When I was little, my mother took me to a place that I found mysterious.

It was a cross between an office and a corner store. There was no sign outside and the door was always firmly closed. In the 'office store', I often overheard the grown-ups talking about how hard life was for relatives living in Mainland China during the civil war. My mother lived frugally so she could stock up on cooking oil, rice, duvets, coats and clothes to send to her family back home through this channel. My vivid memory of Hong Kong in the 1960s and 70s makes me understand the meaning of Chinese character  for filial piety." Said Chung.

"To me, the English word ‘Love’ direct and spontaneous is even more appropriate. Friendship, romance, family affinity and the emotions we have for all things universal stem from love. Growing up in Hong Kong afforded me many opportunities to travel abroad. Whenever I fall in love with a place, I can always find a reason to linger, be it the exotic culture and landscape or simply the freedom I feel away from home.

 But in the end, I always come back to Hong Kong, to my work, to the people and things I care about. Only the word ‘Love’ can express the deep connection between me and the place where I was born. I hope to have captured the Hong Kong of this moment, here and now, through the images in this book. They may not be impressions people usually associate Hong Kong with but for me, they epitomize the place I love, the place I call home." Chung continued.

  Exhibition ends 16th October 2014

JIMMY CHOO Reopens New Bond Street Store

JIMMY CHOO has opened their expanded and renovated New Bond Street store recently. Accommodating three floors, the new store heralds the first Jimmy Choo Townhouse in the brand’s London home and continues the global unveiling of the new store concept designed in partnership with the David Collins Studio. The new 200 sqm store encompasses the whole world of the Jimmy Choo woman including eyewear, sunglasses, small leather goods, soft accessories and fragrance. The renovation has also revealed the original terracotta façade which has been restored to its former glory. Acting as the architectural stiletto of the store is a stunning marble staircase that winds up through the space connecting the three floors.

The new global store design concept achieves modern glamour through the elegance of materials and sophistication of design rather than ornament. Soft-hues and subtle textures layered with shimmering surfaces create depth of detail, reflecting the dynamism and creativity of the Jimmy Choo product. Signature palettes of satin gold, rosa egeo pink marble and mink velvets tone with the oyster stone and mother of pearl chevron floor. Woven mesh in metallic finishes and spherical glass chandelier pendants grant the space an inviting allure, while product is presented in luxurious display concepts.

There is a dedicated area for the recently launched Made to Order service offering clients a customised service across Jimmy Choo’s signature silhouettes, such as the ANOUK pointy toe pump and the strappy sandal LANCE in various heel heights and a myriad of colours and fabrics. The VIP room on the first floor focuses on evening, bridal and red carpet styles. This area stands out from the rest of the store with its own palette of materials comprising  gold, mother of pearl and brass detailing throughout, a dégradé carpet and a large roof light will be centred above the space. The room features a Champagne bar catering for private events, VIP appointments and personal shopping experiences.

 On the first floor, there is a dedicated room for the newly launched CHOO.08o collection. Decorated in slightly darker palette with a more edgy feel it reflects the urban mood of the collection. There is a black lit alabaster ceiling, custom furniture and a large window overlooking New Bond Street.

“I wanted our new space to be a luxurious environment that would combine the refined detail of an haute couture salon with the intimacy of a fantasy closet. David Collins Studio has the ability to create incredible spaces that are glamorous, sophisticated and yet extremely comfortable, and I knew that they would be able to translate my vision to our new retail design.” Sandra Choi, Creative Director, Jimmy Choo.

To celebrate the new store, Creative Director Sandra Choi has designed a limited edition Candy bag. The signature party-ready acrylic clutch is printed with an image of the whimsical and quintessentially British red phone box on the front of the bag reinforcing the brand’s London roots.