JCK Asks…Maximilian Büsser

He’s getting by with a little help from his friends

MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser is blessed with many friends. He may have stamped his initials on his company, but he doesn’t turn out a single timepiece without at least 20 to 30 technicians and artists—Friends, as in MB&Friends—who do everything from build watch movements to stitch alligator straps to photograph the brand’s outrageous high-end Horological Machines. Büsser took a few minutes to complete JCK’s questionnaire—by himself. (We think.)

Age: 43

Hometown: Geneva

Number of years in the biz: 20

Number of employees you oversee: 8

Family/pets: None

Describe your personal style: Driven

First watch you ever designed: The first watch I worked on was 19 years ago at Jaeger-LeCoultre: a pink gold dial variation of the classic white gold Reverso. The first I created under my brand: ­Horological Machine Nº?1 in 2007.

The timepiece that changed the way you think about watches: Vianney Halter Antiqua in 1998

Best piece of advice you ever received: When the legendary Günther Bluemlein looked at me one day in a product meeting 16 years ago and stopped me in my debating tracks by this single phrase: “Mr. Büsser, creativity is not a democratic process!”

First job ever: Product manager at Jaeger-LeCoultre

If you weren’t making watches, what would you be doing? Something involving creativity and engineering

Favorite watch complications: Early 19th century minute repeater-chronograph pocket watches

Your watches are produced by a team of “friends” who bring various strengths to each project. What do you bring? If we were in filmmaking, I would be the scriptwriter and director. But what good is it if you have no crew and no actors to make this film come to life?

MB&F’s HM3 Starcruiser

Timepiece you’re wearing right now: MB&F ­Horological Machine Nº?3 Starcruiser in white gold and titanium. (Remind me to shorten the names of our creations!)


Five items on your desk right now: Over 20 pencils, an Art Deco letter opener, two Gao Xiaowu ­sculptures, the remote control of my iPod docking station, the latest Design Miami catalogue

Five songs on your playlist: “Take Me Like I Am,” Bettye LaVette; “Má Vlast,” Smetana; “Hell’s Bells,” AC/DC; “The Road to Hell,” Chris Rea; “My Funny Valentine,” Chet Baker

What’s your favorite thing to do in Geneva? Take time with my loved ones

Courtesy of Emi Music What about you is undeniably Swiss? A half of me: the perfectionist, organizer, engineer, rational thinker. The Indian half is more of a dreamer, emotional creator, passionate out-of-the-box thinker. Little chance MB&F would have been born if I had been 100 percent Swiss!

Exercise regimen: Part of what I had to sacrifice when starting MB&F

What did you have for breakfast? Two kiwis and a glass of apple juice

Guilty pleasure: Chocolate

Drink (daytime/evening): Water. Am a teetotaler.

First website you check every day (not your own!): First my configured Google page, then PuristSPro

Scent: Fantastic Man by Byredo (I know…that really lacks humility!)

How do you unwind? A few days on a beach with a good book

Everett Collection

Superstitious? Not at all

Book you’re reading: Ulysse From Bagdad by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Preferred news source: The Internet; specifically, BBC and Google News. And a Swiss newspaper, Le Temps.

Main means of transportation: My Audi

Favorite movie: Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects

Personal motto: “Time and I against any two”

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