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Watchuseek Journalist
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Watchuseek team visit MB&F M.A.D. gallery during SIHH and walking into the gallery or Max's atelier is like walking into a steampunk and futuristic collection of art objects, animatrons, magic, and space themed watches. This work is a collaboration of Max and his talented friends from around the world.

Furniture Table Marble Rock Rectangle

Lighting Light Amber Light fixture Lamp

I asked Max brief questions on various topics, and I personally think, Max's responses were the most passionate of all the interviews I have done. Max really wears his heart on his sleeve when he says "MB&F is a personal creative quest which is as close to my autobiography as to my psychotherapy."

Watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Fashion Jewellery

Fashion accessory Watch Watch accessory Metal Strap

There is a big debate on the use of term "made in-house" among the watch enthusiasts. Why is it so important to build everything independently in this globalized, shrinking world? Follow up: Is innovation or independence more important?

Max: I think we are talking of two different themes : "In-house" manufacturing and "In-house" movements. The first means that the company actually manufactures the various parts of the movement, and the second that the movement is specific to that brand. Honestly I don't really care if a movement is manufactured in-house (I have lived both scenarios in my 24 years of watchmaking). But it is important in very high-end watchmaking that the movement - or at least the complication part - is specific to a watch and thus demonstrates the brand's creativity and mastery of its vision.
Innovation or Independence in movement creation ? It does not make much sense to have a proprietary movement which is similar to all the others on the market - which happens more often than we think - that will just generate future after-sales service issues for the sake of saying that it is in-house. At the end of the day innovation is most important, whilst retaining integrity, quality and reliability.

Lighting Light fixture Fashion accessory Still life photography Jewellery

Analog watch Watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Strap

What are your thoughts on the use of silicon parts in watchmaking?

Max: The use of silicon is a tricky debate that I am probably not able to discuss as we do not use any parts made out of this material. At MB&F we consider mechanical watchmaking as art. We deconstruct the stunning watchmaking of our forefathers to reconstruct it into pieces of kinetic art. We prefer therefore to work only with brass, steel and gold - or any other machinable material - so that whatever happens, it will be repairable and refurbishable in a hundred years…

Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Jewellery

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In the unpredictable wave of global commerce and finances, watch companies tend to navigate by covering both the high-end complications as well as entry level timepieces. What is your navigation strategy?

Max: Our navigation strategy is easy: we just create what we believe in. MB&F is a personal creative quest which is as close to my autobiography as to my psychotherapy. And in 2013, when we hit 24 pieces crafted and sold a month, we decided that the company would not grow any bigger. Every cent is reinvested into the company and we have a fantastic team of twenty passionate people. With six new calibers in the pipeline and a lot of performance art creations alongside I think MB&F's visibility will continue to grow, but as the production will not, it will allow us to continue doing what MB&F was imagined for: to create totally independently from the market's needs and wants.

Hand Finger Monochrome Black-and-white Photography

Black Still life photography Black-and-white Monochrome Photography

What one advice would you give to a novice watch collector just starting to explore horology?

Max: To try to understand why he or she has started collecting. If it is to show off, there are hundreds of possibilities in the market. But if it is because they really love watchmaking and artisanship, they should really do their homework to find creations which are not only well made but crafted with soul… Not that easy today…

Editor: Bhanu Chopra
Photo: Scott Sitkeiwitz
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