MB&F founder Max Büsser and H. Moser & Cie. CEO Edouard Meylan have worked together for more than 10 years, mostly behind the scenes: Moser’s sister firm Precision Engineering AG has been MB&F’s supplier of balance springs. This year, the two independent brands step into the spotlight together with a stunning horological duet: two co-signed timepieces each incorporating signature elements of the other’s brand.
Büsser — whose entire brand concept revolves around utilizing the horological savoir faire of a coterie of “friends” (the “F” in MB&F) — reached out to Meylan to propose a collaboration on an MB&F Performance Art timepiece, one preferably utilizing the double balance spring and fumé dial that have become signature Moser features. Meylan immediately agreed and made his own “counter-proposal” of also reinterpreting one of MB&F’s Horological Machines as a Moser special edition. Büsser jumped aboard for the idea and suggested one of his favorite inventions, the FlyingT, as the basis for an MB&F-flavored Moser watch. The results are a set of extraordinary 15-piece limited editions, marking both the 15th anniversary of the MB&F brand and the 15th year since the relaunch of H. Moser & Cie.
For the H. Moser x MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon, offered in a 42-mm steel case and a vibrant array of fumé dial options — Funky Blue, Cosmic Green, Burgundy, Ice Blue, and Off-White (the model we had a chance to photograph) — the Schaffhausen boutique brand borrowed the MB&F concept of three-dimensional movements. Specifically, the timepiece re-creates the one-minute flying tourbillon that gives the FlyingT model its name and incorporates the cylindrical balance spring that made its debut in last year’s MB&F LM Thunderdome model. Based on an 18th century invention, this corkscrew-shaped spring rises perpendicularly around the rod of the balance staff and has a Breguet overcoil at both attachment points, reducing friction and improving isochronism compared to a traditional flat balance spring. This type of spring, MB&F asserts, also takes 10 times longer to produce than the standard type.
The hour and minute subdial, tilted at a jaunty 40-degree angle and mounted on conical gear trains for optimal torque transmission, is the other element borrowed from MB&F. Under a domed sapphire crystal, this sapphire subdial is inscribed with the Moser logo as a watermark, through its surface you can see the main dial’s colorful surface with its gradating fumé pattern. The H. Moser x MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon is mounted on a hand-stitched black alligator strap; each of the five dial-color options is limited to 15 pieces and priced at $79,000.
The LM101 MB&F x H. Moser reinterprets “one of the purest” models in MB&F’s portfolio, the Legacy Machine 101, which eschews tourbillons and other high complications for a simple but visually arresting presentation of the time, the power reserve, and the balance wheel that gives the watch its life.
In the spirit of this minimalist approach, MB&F’s logo appears nowhere on the dial — which is available in four emblematic Moser fumé colorways: Red fumé, Green fumé, Aqua blue fumé, and the popular Funky Blue fumé. For only the third time in MB&F’s history, the 40-mm-diameter round case, topped by a domed sapphire crystal, is made of stainless steel. Showcased in the dial’s center, and suspended over it, is the titanic balance wheel, fitted with a double balance spring by Precision Engineering AG, which displaces each spring’s point of gravity, reduces friction, and improves timekeeping precision. Both the time and the 45-hour power reserve are depicted on the dial by small hands.
The movement, visible through the sapphire caseback, differs visually from that of the original MB&F Legacy Machine, whose decorative finishes were courtesy of Kari Voutilainen, a revered independent watchmaker and one of Büsser’s go-to contributing “friends.” In this version, the movement’s more contemporary NAC treatment offers a different kind of beauty and one more in-line with mechanisms produced by Moser. The watch, here again limited to 15 pieces in each of its four colorways, will retail for $52,000.
For a Q&A with MB&F founder Max Büsser, click here. For background on Edouard Meylan’s vision for H. Moser & Cie., click here.