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MB&F - Doing the rounds with MB&F

MB&F Doing the rounds with MB&F

Watchmaking’s most-wanted creative studio presents Orb, its latest collaboration with L’Épée. And also one of its last?

“We’re going to slow things down a little.” MB&F’s confession that it will be slowing the pace of its collaborations with L’Épée may come as a surprise. Firstly because the table clocks they co-create sell well. Very well, even. Secondly because L’Épée “lives” to a large extent thanks to MB&F, piggybacking its way into the public eye as a maker of cool, fun, highly desirable objects. Thirdly because MB&F, like most independents, has had an excellent year, despite the Covid crisis.

Doing the rounds with MB&F

Orb © MB&F

A winning team

It’s certainly been a good run, with 14 collaborations in seven years. Does this mean MB&F x L’Épée has nothing more to say? No; simply that there will be just one joint creation in 2021, with time to think about what new ideas they can bring to the table. This could mean more clocks or something entirely different. It’s common knowledge that Max Büsser has a drawer filled with sketches of speakers and coffee machines. For the moment, though, all eyes are on Orb.

Doing the rounds with MB&F

Orb © MB&F

Orb as in orbita, a circular form in Latin and possibly MB&F’s smoothest ever design. Not to mention its most mysterious. A perfect sphere when closed, Orb reveals nothing of its true identity. Don’t go thinking the most impressive part is on the inside. Those four aluminium blades were a nightmare to machine. Imagine a solid ball that has to be hollowed from within (several drills gave up the ghost in the process). Not something watchmakers do every day.

A first for MB&F

Inside sits a new movement by L’Épée. New in that this is the clockmaker’s first striking movement for MB&F. Orb’s “passing strike”, which chimes each hour, can be repeated on demand or paused.

Doing the rounds with MB&F

Orb © MB&F

The original concept for Orb came from Maximilian Maertens, who did a ten-month internship at MB&F and now runs his own design studio in Berlin. Orb is a soft, dreamlike creation, suggesting as much flower petals as insect wings. Compared with some other MB&F clocks — the likes of T-Rex, Sherman and Balthazar — it is a gloriously understated piece. Orb is whatever you imagine it to be, in subtle black or white, both versions priced at CHF 28,500 excluding sales tax and ready for delivery in October.


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