Video: Maximilian Büsser on the stunning LMX and the future of MB&F
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Video: Maximilian Büsser on the stunning LMX and the future of MB&F

Video: Maximilian Büsser on the stunning LMX and the future of MB&F

The LMX – the tenth-anniversary edition of the Legacy Machine – was launched earlier this year

Maximilian Büsser MB&F

Swiss watchmaker MB&F has somehow managed to buck the trend and grow, rather than contract, during the ongoing pandemic.

Its founder, Dubai-based Maximilian Büsser, recently told Gulf Business that his company which makes around 200-220 pieces a year, expects revenue this year to be around Dhs80m. “We have never made a loss. We have no debt. We have no shareholders,” he added.

The average price of a MB&F piece is Dhs300,000, with its workshop in Geneva currently operating at an order-to-delivery ratio of 4:1 – retailers are ordering four times more than what can be manufactured.

There are four main families of products within the MB&F brand: Horological Machines, Legacy Machines, Performance Art, and Co-creations by MB&F.

As Büsser explains, Horological Machines are like 3D kinetic art pieces where he attempts to deconstruct traditional watchmaking; Legacy Machines are his way of paying tributes to the great master watchmakers of the 18th- and 19th-century; Performance Art are pieces whereby he gives one of his creations to another designer and lets them have a go at it; Co-creations by MB&F wherein Büsser acts as a creative consultant to brands.

Earlier this year, he unveiled the LMX – the tenth-anniversary edition of the Legacy Machine, a collection which is now easily recognisable due to the balance wheel flying over the dial. The first LM back in 2011, was the beginning of his obsession with balance wheels. “I am crazy about balance wheels and escapements, and 99 per cent of the time in watches they’re hidden in the movement on the back where you can’t see it.”

Maximilian Büsser MB&F
The LMX features a 13.4mm balance wheel – nearly three times as large as those on typical mechanical watches

With his friend Eric Giroud, he set about sketching a watch that has a cylinder incorporating the balance wheel, another cylinder with hour minute and still another cylinder with the power reserve. After months of agonizing over the outcome, the duo finally settled on the idea of putting two pocket watch dials, and a flying balance wheel on top of the dials. That’s how LM 1, with the world’s first vertical power reserve indicator, was born in 2011.

The radical design of the LM meant that along with Kari Voutilainen, Büsser has had to develop new calibres almost every time a new edition of the Legacy Machine came out. It has resulted in the creation of several horological first including the first gyrating power reserve indicator, the first split escapement, and the fastest and largest TriAx gyrating escapement. There have been seven calibres in the last 10 years, with the eighth new calibre debuting in the LMX released earlier this year.

The LMX features a 13.4mm balance wheel – nearly three times as large as those you’d find on typical mechanical watches – floating above the dial. It has independent dual time zones, with the two time zones displayed off dials that are tilted requiring energy to transfer from the horizontal to the vertical planes, made possible due to MB&F’s mastery over conical gear systems. It also boasts of a seven-day power reserve. “We hope to be able to craft 25 units of this watch a year. The initial launch edition is 18 in red gold, and 33 in titanium which is a total of 51 pieces. That means it will take two years to deliver these watches.”

Watch the above video to hear Büsser explain just how built this brand ground-up, and also what he plans to do next.

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