June 12, 2020
MB&F x H. Moser & Cie
The collaboration we didn't know we needed.
The world of independent watchmaking gets more and more crowded as time goes on, and new entrants make their way into the market. With such a plethora of brands, it's a difficult market to make your name known and stand out from the ever-enlarging crowd. There have been two brands to successfully come out on the top of the pile, however. They are H. Moser & Cie. and MB&F. Blending their out of the box thinking with incredible craftsmanship and unique designs, both of these brands have successfully forged their own identities as watchmakers that continuously push beyond what was once the norm and challenge the conventional. That is why, when the MB&F x Moser collaboration was announced, the watch community knew something special was on the horizon.
MB&F History and Mission
Former CEO of Harry Winston, Max Büsser, began MB&F in 2005 as the world's first horological concept laboratory. Dedicated to creating limited production runs of radical concept pieces, Max wanted to collaborate with other horological professionals on all of his projects, which explains MB&F's name – Max Büsser and Friends. MB&F has since become one of the biggest names in the world of Haute Horology thanks to this constant endeavour to create timepieces that bear almost no resemblances to other watches in the market today. This has resulted in MB&F's design aesthetic to look somewhat futuristic while staying true to traditional techniques and thus push the limits of horology into a new dimension.
H. Moser & Cie History
Founded in 1828 in Petersburg, Russia, by Henrich Moser, Moser is an independent brand with all the history of any other prominent big-name watchmaker that you can think of. While the brand was absorbed by the Dixi Mechanique Group during the Quartz Crisis and rebranded, it came back to life in 2005 when it was relaunched. Since 2012 the brand has been owned by the highly-esteemed Meylan family and operated by Edouard Meylan, its current CEO. Moser has since gone on to make their watches highly sought-after due to their incredible dials, consistent design aesthetic, and incredible craftsmanship.
As the old saying goes, two minds are better than one, and in the case of this collaboration, it certainly rings true. Like most of MB&F's projects, it began with Max Büsser approaching his friend and Moser's CEO, Edouard Meylan, to blend the best of both brands into one watch and create something extraordinary. Meylan agreed on the condition that they created two watches instead of one - one for each brand. The basis was that each brand would take aspects of the other brand's genetic code and create a watch for themselves. From this blueprint, we got the 'Moserised' Legacy Machine 101 from MB&F and the Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon from Moser, inspired by the MB&F universe.
MB&F's Legacy Machine 101
From the outset, Büsser knew what components of Moser's brand DNA that he wanted to incorporate into his watch. In the initial discussion about the project, he mentioned such things as Moser's minimalist fumé dials and their double balance springs to Meylan, so it is no surprise that they show up in MB&F's final watch. The MB&F Legacy Machine 101 was the watch that Büsser decided to use as the canvas that he apply Moser's 'paint' if you will. The Legacy Machine, itself, is already an iconic MB&F design, so it provided the perfect watch to revisit and renew. Büsser reworked the Legacy Machine by removing its branding, and subdials and placing the hands directly on the dial – a signature Moser look. This paired with the flying double balance spring and the shaded fumé dial that is so quintessentially Moser creates a stunning watch that genuinely looks like nothing we have ever seen before.
H. Moser's Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon
At the request of Büsser, Meylan was to rework MB&F's FlyingT model, a watch dear to his heart. The defining feature of the FlyingT is the column-like tourbillion that protrudes from the dial, and as such, it was the focal point of Meylan's attention. Meylan gave the FlyingT Moser's first cylindrical hairspring in a tourbillion, which provides the tourbillion with a rather mesmerising pattern of movement, as it swings back and forth. This cylindrical hairspring was initially developed by a division of Moser called Precision Engineering for another MB&F watch, the Thunderdome. The next change Meylan made was to take the FlyingT's 40-degree dial, make it transparent, and apply Moser's branding to it. This provides a full view of the mechanism regulating the dial's hands and the cylindrical tourbillion behind it that gives its name to the watch.Image source: SJX Watches
As with most industries, anniversaries are important in watchmaking, and as it so happens, 2020 is the 15th anniversary for both MB&F and Moser. While its 15 years ago that Büsser founded MB&F, it is also 15 years ago that Moser was relaunched. As with both brands, these two watches are available in very limited numbers. Moser's Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon is available in 5 colours; Funky Blue, Cosmic Green, Burgundy, Off-White, and Ice Blue – each limited to 15 pieces with the last colour being exclusive to Moser's e-Shop. MB&F's Legacy Machine 101 is available in 4 colours: Funky Blue, Cosmic Green, Red, and Aqua Blue. In the spirit of both brand's identities, quality certainly trumps quantity.