Earlier today, two top independent Swiss watch brands, MB&F and H. Moser & Cie., announced the fruits of their recent collaboration: two new watches with some shared DNA. I wrote about the watches today on my column on Forbes.com, and bring that story to you below. Additionally, I add the technical specs for each of the brands and my opinions.
To begin with, I have known Max Busser for decades and have always loved the way his mind works and the projects and timepieces that come out as a result of his creativity. These new three-dimensional pieces are no exception and — with the forward-thinking Edouard Meylan of H. Moser & Cie — these two men have each shared a special part of their brands’ best work with one another — under the message “United we stand”: H. Moser x MB&F.
My Impressions of the H. Moser x MB&F Watches
I have had the chance to go hands on with each of these H. Moser x MB&F watches. I like them both for different reasons. I love that MB&F was willing to rework its Legacy Machine 101 — removing the subsidiary time dials and opting for hands, instead — so that the brilliant fume’ dials for which H. Moser is known could reign supreme. I also like that they removed the logo/brand name on the dial — a nod to the past when watchmakers only signed their movements. I may be a bit more in love with the H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon, though, which turns to top mechanical innovations from MB&F that just work like magic in the watches, which naturally also boast fabulous fume’ dials. I think because i am used to seeing outrageous works of art from MB&F and more classic works from H. Moser & Cie, seeing this tourbillon rising above the dial, and the angled sapphire time disk from H. Moser was just a little more surprising.
“Maximilian Busser, founder of the somewhat legendary (albeit young) MB&F (Max Busser and Friends), and like-minded Edouard Meylan of H. Moser & Cie. opted to join forces — each contributing to the other’s high-watchmaking feats. In the case of H. Moser, which produces specialty pieces, MB&F contributes watchmaking technology in the form of its unique movements and mechanics. In the case of MB&F, which produces unparalleled Horological Machines and collaborations it refers to as Performance Art, H. Moser & Cie contributes its mastery of the arts of fume dials.
The resulting watches boast a blend of both brands’ style and signature DNA. They are co-signed by the two brands and represent more than just a partnership to create new watches. The new collections represent a synthesis that brings collaboration concepts to new heights.”
“Both H. Moser & Cie and MB&F have been working together for nearly a decade via Precision Engineering AG, a company that supplies MB&F’s balance springs and that is a sibling firm to H. Moser & Cie. The concept of strength in unity amongst independents is underscored in this partnership, wherein each brand borrows the other’s watchmaking expertise, always working together for a synergistic outcome.”
“According to Busser, “When I called, I mentioned that I really liked the double balance-spring, the Moser fumé dials and the Concept watch series. Edouard immediately told me that he would let me borrow these features, but on condition that he could also reinterpret one of my machines. After an initial moment of surprise, I gave it some thought. Being 50 percent Indian and 50 percent Swiss, I am firmly convinced that mixing DNA creates interesting results, so why not try the experiment in watchmaking? I therefore agreed and suggested the FlyingT model, which is particularly dear to my heart.”
The fruits of the efforts: one new timepiece from each of these brands, available in several versions and created in limited edition lots. Each watch will be a 15-piece edition in tribute to the 15th anniversary of MB&F and of the relaunch of H. Moser & Cie.”
H. Moser Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon MB&F x H. Moser
“As mentioned, when the collaboration began, MB&F suggested H. Moser use MB&F’s Flying T (flying tourbillon) innovation. As such, the H. Moser creation, H. Moser x MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon, masterfully combines a highly complex raised one-minute tourbillon with a raised and angled sapphire crystal hour/minute dial — all beneath a spherical half-glove sapphire crystal dome.”
“The raised tourbillon and the tilted dial are signatures of MB&F that H. Moser has adapted to enable the H. Moser fume (graduated) color dials to be the highlight background. “We have Moserized the MB&F universe by developing a sapphire subdial, which melts into the background so as to highlight the beauty of our fumé dials.” explains Meylan.
Five versions of the Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser x MB&F watch will be made — each in a steel case. The dials: H. Moser’s signature Funky Blue, Cosmic Green, Burgundy, Off-white and Ice Blue (which will be sold online at H. Moser & Cie only). Each Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon retails for $79,000.”
MB&F Legacy Machine 101 MB&F x H. Moser
“For the MB&F Legacy Machine 100 MB&F x H. Moser collaboration, MB&F turned to one of its most simplest — yet always complex — timepieces: the round Legacy Machine. As Busser said earlier, he was captivated by the expressive fume dials from H. Moser & Cie, and wanted to bring them to the forefront of the series. The Legacy Machine showcases the hours and minutes, the power reserve and the iconic suspended flying balance wheel — raised above the dial in all its glory. For this watch, the suspended balance wheel has been reworked to allow for more of the dial to be visible. The watch is fitted with a double balance spring — produced by Precision Engineering AG —that significantly improves isochronism.”
“In the original MB&F LM101, the brand displayed the hours and the minutes on two separate subsidiary dials above the main plate. On this new collaboration piece, the sub-dials have been removed, and hands to indicate the time are directly on the dial — giving the fume treatment full glory. There are four renditions with dramatic fume dials: red fume’, Cosmic Green, Aqua Blue and the beloved H. Moser Funky Blue Fume.”
Additionally, MB&F borrowed the H. Moser approach the brand uses for its Concept watch series, wherein the dial is devoid of the brand name. For the LM101, MB&F removes its logo from the dial—recalling the centuries-old tradition of signing movements not dials. For this rendition, MB&F turns to a steel case (only the third time the brand uses steel). Each version is created in a limited edition of 15 pieces, and each watch retails for $52,000.”
Technical Specifications on both H. Moser x MB&F watches can be found below.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS: ENDEAVOUR CYLINDRICAL TOURBILLON H. MOSER X MB&F
Reference 1810-1200, steel model, Funky Blue fumé dial, black alligator leather strap, limited edition of 15 pieces
Reference 1810-1201, steel model, Burgundy fumé dial, black alligator leather strap, limited edition of 15 pieces
Reference 1810-1202, steel model, Cosmic Green fumé dial, black alligator leather strap, limited edition of 15 pieces
Reference 1810-1203, steel model, Off-White fumé dial, blued hours and minutes hands, black alligator leather strap, limited edition of 15 pieces
Reference 1810-1205, steel model, Ice Blue dial, black alligator leather strap, limited edition of 15 pieces
Case: Steel topped by a high domed sapphire crystal Diameter: 42.0 mm, Height: 19.5 mm
Height without crystal sapphire: 9.4 mm Crown at 9 o’clock, engraved with a “M“ See-through sapphire crystal case back
Dial: Main dial: Funky Blue fumé, Burgundy fumé, Cosmic Green fumé, Off-White fumé or Ice Blue fumé with sunburst pattern; Hours and the minutes displayed on a 40° vertically tilted sapphire dial at 6 o’clock; Leaf-shaped hour and minute hands, blued on the reference 1810-1203
Movement: HMC 810 three- dimensional automatic Manufacture calibre Diameter: 32.0 mm or 14 1/4 lignes
Height: 5.5 mm, Frequency: 21,600 vibrations/hour, 29 jewels, 184 components, Automatic bi-directional pawl winding system, Oscillating weight in 18-carat gold with engraved H. Moser & Cie. logo Power reserve: minimum 72 hours
Cylindrical hairspring, One-minute flying tourbillon at 12 o’clock with skeletonised bridges
Functions: Hours and minutes
Strap: Hand-stitched black alligator leather, Steel folding clasp engraved with the Moser logo
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS – LM101 MB&F X H. MOSER
Reference LM101 MB&F x H. Moser, steel model, Funky Blue fumé, Cosmic Green fumé, Red fumé or Yas Marina Blue fumé dial, veal leather strap, limited edition of 15 pieces for each reference
Engine: Three-dimensional horological movement developed in-house by MB&F
Movement aesthetics and finishing specifications: Kari Voutilainen
Manual winding with single mainspring barrel
Power reserve: 45 hours
Balance wheel: Bespoke 14mm balance wheel with four traditional regulating screws floating above the movement
Balance spring: Straumann© double hairspring
Balance frequency: 18,000bph/2.5Hz
Chatons: gold chatons with polished countersinks
Fine finishing: superlative 19th century-style hand finishing throughout; internal bevel angles highlighting hand craft; polished bevels; Geneva waves; hand-made engravings, NAC black bridges
Functions: Hours, minutes and power reserve indicator Large balance wheel suspended above the dial
Case: Available in 4 limited editions of 15 pieces in stainless steel 316, including a special edition with “Yas Marina Blue fumé” dial made for the retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons.
Diameter: 40.0 mm
Height: 16.0 mm
High domed crystal sapphire on top and box sapphire crystal on back, both with anti-reflective coating on both sides
Dial: Funky Blue fumé, Cosmic Green fumé, Red fumé or Yas Marina Blue fumé with sunburst pattern
Strap: Hand-stitched calfskin strap
Steel 316L and titanium folding clasp