Fans of independent watchmakers will already be familiar with MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser’s style of collaborative watchmaking — the brand is technically the acronym for Max Büsser & Friends, after all. Part of that collaborative DNA includes a propensity for creating “Performance Art” watches; pieces that MB&F creates in partnership with other brands in the watch and jewellery industry. Previous such timepieces have included the Moonmachine and JwlryMachine, created in partnership with Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva and French jeweler Boucheron respectively.
These Performance Art collaborations were intended to allow MB&F to show off a different side of its watchmaking, whether it be to focus on the beauty of a specific complication, or to turn one of MB&F’s watches into a bling-ed out high jewellery piece. In all iterations up to this point, it was always the other party putting a creative spin on MB&F’s watches.
This time, however, the collaboration is flowing both ways. MB&F has collaborated with fellow independent watchmaker H. Moser & Cie. in an equal partnership, with both brands signing off on watches that blend both brands’ signature styles.
“When I called Edouard to tell him that I wanted to collaborate on a creation,” recalls Büsser, “I mentioned that I really liked the double balance spring, the Moser fumé dials and the Concept watch series. Edouard immediately told me that he would let me borrow these features, but on condition that he could also reinterpret one of my machines. After an initial moment of surprise, I gave it some thought. Being 50% Indian and 50% Swiss, I am firmly convinced that mixing DNA creates interesting results, so why not try the experiment in watchmaking? I therefore agreed and suggested the FlyingT model, which is particularly dear to my heart.“
Thus, the Legacy Machine 101 MB&F X H. Moser and the Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser x MB&F were born. Both pieces are available in a variety of hues, with a limited edition of 15 pieces in each colour — a nod to MB&F’s 15th birthday and the 15th anniversary of H. Moser’s relaunch this year.
LM 101 MB&F x H. Moser
When it was first launched in 2014, the Legacy Machine 101 already represented MB&F’s return to a more understated form of watchmaking, at least in comparison to its Horological Machines. The LM101 MB&F X H. Moser, however, saw MB&F go even more minimalist — as minimalist as MB&F has ever been, that is. The domed floating subdials on the original LM101 have been eliminated in favour of H. Moser-style hands placed directly on the dial at two and six o’clock.
The elevated balance wheel with its characteristic arched bridge, however, still remains front and centre on the dial — partially because it is the single most distinguishing element of the LM101, and partially because H. Moser’s sister company, Precision Engineering AG, has been supplying MB&F’s balance springs for over 10 years. The key difference here, however, is that the LM101 MB&F x H. Moser is equipped with a double balance spring instead of the usual single balance spring — allowing for greater precision and optimised isochronism.
Plus, while the movement of the watch remains the same, its finishing has been altered to more closely resemble H. Moser’s contemporary style of decoration — complete with a dark NAC treatment — as opposed to the more traditional finishing favoured by original movement creator Kari Voutilainen.
The watch is available in stainless steel with four different dial colours, including funky blue, cosmic green, red, and a special edition aqua blue made exclusively for the retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. And of course, all dials are of the fumé variety.
Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser x MB&F
While MB&F’s adoption of H. Moser’s sensibilities were relatively straightforward, H. Moser’s MB&F-inspired revamp of its Endeavour watch was technically much more complicated. This is chiefly because the element that H. Moser chose to adopt from MB&F was that of three-dimensional movements, which the brand has never constructed before — even throughout its cheese and grass watch experiments.
Aesthetically, the Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon very much resembles the MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT, which was launched early last year, in that it has an elevated tourbillon and tilted dial, but with H. Moser’s own distinct spin. Its flying tourbillon, positioned at 12 o’clock, is equipped with cylindrical balance spring (thus explaining the name of the watch), which has a corkscrew-like structure that is far more three-dimensional than the traditional flat balance spring. It also has the benefit of bring much more accurate and reliable — although it is also apparently much more difficult and takes about 10 times longer to produce.
Although H. Moser does not mention it explicitly, we should also note that the HMC 810 movement of the Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon is likely based off an existing calibre that was intended to have the tourbillon positioned at six o’clock — thus explaining why the crown sits at nine instead of three o’clock.
The tourbillon was clearly repositioned to make room for the tilted hour and minute subdial at six o’clock. The subdial, which is made out of transparent sapphire glass, is inclined at 40 degrees so that only the owner can tell the time. The dial is mounted on a conical gear train to allow for optimal transfer of energy to the hands.
The Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon is available in steel in four different colours — funky blue, cosmic green, burgundy, and off white. And yes, the dials are also all given the fumé treatment.