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20th Anniversary
MB&F - Maximilian Büsser

MB&F Maximilian Büsser

Founder*

If you hear the name Maximilian Büsser, the first thing that comes to mind is the brand that he founded in 2005, MB&F. The first two initials are his name, and the second half of the brand name comes from a concept that was considered radical at the time and is still overwhelmingly rare today – the “&F” part of MB&F represents “And Friends” – the idea that a watch company could be open and transparent about the people they work with.

Openness and transparency are not native to the Swiss national character; master watchmaker and living legend Philippe Dufour once observed that Swiss watchmakers believed so devoutly in keeping their trade secrets that the cemetery in the Vallée de Joux (rather than a library or a school) was the world’s greatest receptacle of watchmaking knowledge.

Maximilian Büsser

Maximilan Büsser © MB&F

Despite receiving his professional start in one of the most revered houses of fine watchmaking in the Vallée de Joux, Büsser’s own entrepreneurial instincts have always led him to eschew the hallowed Swiss values of extreme discretion and correctness. At the turn of the millennium, he was CEO of Harry Winston Rare Time- pieces, charged with developing the brand’s watch division into an industry-recognised presence. This, he accomplished in 2001 when he launched the Opus project, turning Harry Winston into a platform for some of the most exciting young watchmakers of the day and exposing an international luxury audience to names such as François-Paul Journe, Vianney Halter and Antoine Preziuso.

In 2005, he carried this idea of dynamic – and most importantly, public – collaboration to its logical conclu- sion when he founded MB&F. Not only did Büsser set himself apart by communicating extensively about the designers and watchmakers who contributed to his creations, but the creations themselves were aesthetically and mechanically audacious. MB&F was one of the pioneers of the horological kinetic art movement that inspired an entire genre of watch design in the subsequent decade. Unlike many who tried to emulate him, however, Büsser is a true original, an iconoclast who sparked passion in a new generation of watch enthusiasts and a visionary whose ideas drew the world’s most forward-thinking retailers to him.

Without Maximilian Büsser and his Machines, fine watchmaking in the 21st century would be unrecognisably altered.

*On the occasion of GMT Magazine and WorldTempus' 20th anniversary, we have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years in watchmaking in The Millennium Watch Book, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English, with a 10% discount if you use the following code: WT2021.

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