Watches

MAX B USSER & F R I E NDS

Esquire (Singapore) - - Front Page -

Be­fore he started Max Busser & Friends, Max­imil­lian Busser had al­ready had one leg in the in­de­pen­dent watch­mak­ing scene. As a mat­ter of fact, if it weren’t for Busser, the in­dus­try at large might not have come to ap­pre­ci­ate in­de­pen­dent watch­mak­ing at all. In the early 2000s, he was the mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for Harry Win­ston’s time­pieces di­vi­sion. Apart from tak­ing care of the core busi­ness—be­jew­elled women’s quartz watches—Busser spear­headed the Opus project.

The Opus project was an an­nual se­ries of ul­tra-lim­ited high­con­cept me­chan­i­cal men’s watches funded by Harry Win­ston and pro­duced by an in­de­pen­dent watch­maker. Here, Busser had worked with es­tab­lished as well as emerg­ing indies such as Fran­cois Paul Journe, An­toine Prez­iuso, Vian­ney Hal­ter, Christophe Claret, Felix Baum­gart­ner and Martin Frei of Urwerk, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey of Greubel Forsey, and more.

With the Opus project, he suc­cess­fully turned around Harry Win­ston’s flail­ing watch busi­ness, but in 2005, left the Amer­i­can jeweller to pur­sue his own am­bi­tions. Af­ter decades con­form­ing to the rules of cor­po­rate watch­mak­ing, Busser fi­nally made the move to start some­thing he could truly call his own.

But Busser wasn’t about to take all the credit, which was why he named the com­pany Max Busser & Friends, or MB&F. Truth be told, he couldn’t even if he wanted to be­cause he wasn’t a watch­maker. He knows the ins and outs of the watch in­dus­try, he knows how to sell and market a brand, but he couldn’t cre­ate a time­piece—at least not at the level he en­vi­sions. This was how the ‘friends’ part of the com­pany was so cen­tral to its iden­tity. From the out­set, Busser in­sisted that ev­ery in­di­vid­ual who had a part to play in the mak­ing of an MB&F watch was prop­erly cred­ited be­cause his watches are a col­lab­o­ra­tion among the best in the busi­ness.

He re­leased Horo­log­i­cal Ma­chine No. 1 in 2007. An awein­spir­ing rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of what a wrist­watch can and should look like, the HM1 was as in­no­va­tive as it was com­pletely orig­i­nal. Ev­ery other year, Busser re­leases the next new cre­ation and till date, he has made a to­tal of nine Horo­log­i­cal Ma­chines along with three Legacy Ma­chines. The Legacy Ma­chine is Busser’s unique take on ‘clas­si­cal watch­mak­ing’.

What’s most fas­ci­nat­ing about the MB&F Horo­log­i­cal Ma­chines 1 through 9 is that even though each one looks com­pletely dif­fer­ent from the oth­ers, there is a con­tin­u­ous red thread that keeps them closely con­nected. That red thread is Busser’s DNA. What’s even cu­ri­ouser though is that no mat­ter how you scru­ti­nise the ex­ist­ing Horo­log­i­cal Ma­chines, you will never be able to an­tic­i­pate what the next one will be. Ac­tu­ally, not even Busser him­self can tell you that be­cause who knows when and from whence the idea will strike?

Vacheron Con­stantin throws an epic gala event in the leg­endaryAbbey Road Stu­dios.

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