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MB&F - Ten Minutes With Maximilian Büsser: Discover the man behind MB&F

MB&F Ten Minutes With Maximilian Büsser: Discover the man behind MB&F

Founder and creative director of MB&F Maximilian Büsser gives us his exclusive take on what makes the brand tick.

What unique quality do you think you bring to your brand?
I have always aimed to be proud of what I do. For me, MB&F is not just a business — it is my life. In five, 10, 15 or 20 years, I want to look back and be proud of what I've done. This affects the brand significantly, because it means I tend to take decisions which do not make any sense at all, commercially speaking.

Ten Minutes With Maximilian Büsser: Discover the man behind MB&F

Maximilan Büsser © MB&F

Tell us about an experience that defines your leadership style.
My vision has changed a lot over the years. When I created the brand, I was all alone, working out of my apartment. And then, we were two, then three — and now we have a full company structure with five directors. We don't have any rigid management processes; we all work as directly as possible with each other within the company. It's one of the many reasons we don't want to grow any bigger.

In the early years of MB&F, I was the king of micro-management. I was doing everything — in fact I was obliged to, given how few of us there were. It was a difficult habit to break, and even as the company grew, I continued to stick my nose in everywhere. I needed to make a drastic change in order to recover some kind of equilibrium with my family life, which is why I decided to relocate to Dubai. The destination wasn't important, but I had to leave Geneva and not spend my entire life around the manufacture, the offices and the workshops. At the moment, I work four days a month in Geneva. Also, I'm no longer anything other than the creative director of the brand; I don't involve myself in the rest. I'm not good at everything, and in my opinion, a good leader understands his qualities and especially his defects. Based on this observation, he should surround himself with people who can compensate for these defects and trust their work. The ability to question myself is one of my biggest strengths.

Which watch do you wear most often, and why?
That would be the Legacy Machine Perpetual. I'm going to tell you something strange — I would rather create watches than wear them. Even if I adore every single one of the 18 calibres that we've created over the last 15 years — as a creator, I get an adrenaline rush from the creative process. 

Ten Minutes With Maximilian Büsser: Discover the man behind MB&F

Legacy Machine Perpetual © MB&F

What have you achieved as CEO that you are most proud of?
I'm most proud of the fact that I've never listened to the market, but to my own instincts. It's the only way for MB&F to create. You think anyone would have had the courage to release the Horological Machine N°10 Bulldog, while following the demands of the market? Even I myself procrastinated for a year and a half more than necessary. We ended up releasing HM10 right in the middle of COVID-19 and it gave such joy to people — some of them sent me messages telling me how much they enjoyed this piece.

Ten Minutes With Maximilian Büsser: Discover the man behind MB&F

Horological Machine N°10 Bulldog © MB&F

What is biggest misconception that people have about MB&F?
There are certainly a lot of them, but I don't know what they are because I don't pay too much attention to what people say. Meanwhile, I believe less than 5 per cent of high-end watch buyers know that we exist. We have to be humble and accept that very few people know who we are.

On the other hand, what is one thing about MB&F that is not well known, but super important, in your view?
That the watchmaking at MB&F is extraordinary. When it comes to the Horological Machines, many people stop at the exterior aesthetics, saying that it's crazy, or it's cool, it looks like a dog or a spaceship or a jellyfish. At the same time, they don't see that the watchmaking behind these creations is just incredible. I'm a rather humble person, but on this point I am intransigent. The watchmaking at MB&F is extraordinary, from the engineering level to the level of hand-finish, the love that has been poured into our creations — we're in the domain of artisanal horology.

Do you plan to release anything this year to celebrate 15 years of MB&F (not counting the collaboration with H. Moser & Cie)?
There are two releases that are a little more focused on our 15-year anniversary, seeing that we've produced them in limitations of 15 pieces. The collaboration with H. Moser & Cie, and there will be another series comprising three models (15 pieces each) that will be launched in October… I can say no more at the moment.

Ten Minutes With Maximilian Büsser: Discover the man behind MB&F

LM101 (MB&F x H. Moser & Cie.) © MB&F

Give us a one-word (or one-phrase) hint about your future plans for the brand.
Our projects will take the following form: we have seven calibres currently in our sights, some collaborations and plenty of other things. That's what we have planned for the next five years. After that, I have no idea what's coming.

 

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