Founder Maximilian Büsser discusses the difficulty in designing a watch with someone else in mind
by Tracey Llewellyn
In the watch world, Maximilian Büsser’s skills as an orator are legendary. Always speaking from the heart, where the man holds court, the crowds will follow. It is, therefore no surprise when he says that his horological powerhouse, MB&F, was established on emotion – not just his intense passion for watchmaking but also a rising anger. Anger that he was “working for the man”, that he had become a marketer within an industry intent on selling its soul for double digit growth. And so MBF was a rebellion, a chance for Büsser to create timepieces in a totally personal – and for him “selfish” – way.
Büsser says that it took the better part of 10 years for him to shake off his corporate demons, using his creations and the MB&F journey as a form of psychotherapy. Only once he felt appeased could he look at creating a timepiece for someone else and, as his whole life has been lived in a matriarchal environment, it seemed right that this first venture should be a watch for women – an homage to the people who inhabited and centred his personal universe: his wife and his daughters and, importantly, his mother who poignantly passed away just as the Legacy Machine FlyingT neared completion.
The journey was not an easy one. Büsser says of MB&F’s initial decade: “Not only had I completely lost any reflexes as to how to create for someone else, but I had to admit that I have no idea what a woman wants. So, there was no way I could create a piece by trying to ‘walk in a woman’s shoes’.” Instead, he took an alternative approach and decided to combine everything he loved about the women who have influenced his life. “Elegance and grace, but also energy and strength,” he explains. “And, importantly, it had to remain a 3D mechanical sculpture.”
One thing was for sure: an MB&F for women was always going to surprise and delight. Never one to take the path of least resistance, Büsser was not going to settle for simply taking one of his more masculine watches, shrinking it down, adding some pink tints and gems and calling it a ladies’ watch.
More than four years in the making, the Legacy Machine FlyingT, is housed in a 38.5mm diamond-encrusted, white-gold case with curved bezel and long, slender lugs. Two crowns sits either side of the case, the one on the left for winding and the one on the right for time-setting. A proud dome of sapphire crystal arcs 20mm-high over the hour and minute sub-dial beneath – a white lacquer disc at 7 o’clock with an incline of 50°, which allows only its wearer to read the time, a throwback to the days when it was deemed unseemly for a woman to care about the time. The dial itself is extremely legible, despite its diminutive size, taking the guise of a vintage pocket watch dial with Roman numerals and blued serpentine hands.
Bowing over the time display, and reaching almost to the top of the sapphire dome, is the central flying 60-second tourbillon that gives this latest Legacy Machine its name, a solitary diamond attached to its cage adding extra beauty to this feat of micro mechanics. The 280-component engine has a rate of 2.5Hz and a power reserve of 100 hours. The red-gold, platinum and titanium rotor, which can be viewed through the sapphire crystal caseback, takes on the form of a radiating 3D sun.
The Legacy Machine FlyingTs are available in three versions: with black lacquer dial plate and brilliant-cut diamond-set case, and with dial plate and case set with either brilliant-cut diamonds or with dial plate and case set with baguette-cut diamonds.