Pascal de Rauglaudre
Entretien | 5 février
4 mn

High-end Horology Wizard
Rencontre de science-fiction avec l'horloger Maximilian Büsser, à l'occasion de Baselworld, fin mars 2014.

Maximilian Büsser is much more than a watchmaker: he creates supernatural timepieces, or “kinetic sculptures“ as he prefers to call them, pushing the limits of watchmaking further away in a completely different dimension. His career in horology is paved with success, starting at famous Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre. Then he helped to transform Harry Winston Rare Timepieces, where he was appointed managing director at the age of 31, into a world famous haute horlogerie brand, best known for its innovative and revolutionary Opus series. In 2005 he decided to go his own way and launched MB&F to allow his work full creative freedom.

Pluris – Is watchmaking some sort of wizardry?

Maximilian Büsser – Sure! When time can be told out of hundreds of components, gears, springs, pendulums, spirals, made of brass and steel, that is definitely wizardry! What is even more magical are all those amazing complications: tourbillon, perpetual calendar, chronograph, minute repeater, grande sonnerie… Today components are manufactured by computers with micron-scale precision, and those processes are still very complex and time-consuming. But before the help of the machines, they were crafted by hand by watchmakers who didn’t even have electricity. That’s pure magic!

What would be the ultimate complication in watchmaking?

Fascinating as they may be, current complications have all been invented before 1870. So watchmakers nowadays go on imitating the great craftsmen of the past. I want to create something else. The ultimate complication for me would be a watch looking like a work of art by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely at my wrist. He made astounding machines, out of cans, gears, wheels and steel strips. My vision of horology is inspired by his work: our watches are not designed just to display time, they are pure works of art to carry at your wrist.

Which of your creations do you consider the most enchanting?

Thunderbolt, which is MB&F’s horological machine no. 4, is definitely my favorite. It was the culmination of four years of intense development, with more than 300 components. The result looks incredibly aerial: its sleek aerodynamic form is rooted in my childhood passion for assembling model plane kits. When I saw the prototype for the first time in 2010, I feared nobody would buy it. But we produced 100 movements over 4 years and sold every single one, there are only a few pieces still available at our retail partners. People ask what it is supposed to look like, and I advise them to let their imagination run free: a spaceship, jet engines, Studebaker headlights in the 50s, a pair of binoculars, Star Wars podracers…

More horological wonders here:

Crédits photo : MB&F
Article paru dans le numéro #11 DÉMESURE
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