Some crossovers are great, like when Run DMC and Aerosmith brought rock and hip hop together for the first time with the stone cold classic, Walk This Way, while others simply boggle the mind like the idea of Lamborghini making a 4×4.
There are plenty of examples of such fruitful fusion in the watch world. The likes of George Bamford’s Bamford Watch Department bringing the noise to TAG Heuer, Zenith and Bulgari models and even his more recent barista-inspired work with Black Badger Design’s James Thompson. But this usually involves creative individuals adding their own flavour to the work of established brands in limited runs rather than brands working together.
But if one brand were to be more open to the idea of collaboration with others it would be (and is) MB&F, after all and “& F” of the brand name stands for “and Friends” pointing to the joint venture nature of the company ethos.
MB&F’s entire output, from its debut HM1 watch, to its most recent HM10 Bulldog has relied on the input of other watchmakers and has even included mash-ups with designer Alain Silberstein and a dalliance with competitor Urwerk (Nitro). Now Max Busser’s company is working with one of the most unpredictable and inventive brands working today, besides itself of course.
MB&F and H Moser and Cie have worked on two watches, both existing watches from each of the brands’ catalogues and each given a taste of the other brand’s aesthetic.
Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser x MB&F
First up is Moser’s Endeavour Tourbillon which gets turned on its head (literally) so the exposed flying one-minute tourbillon mechanism now sits at the 12 o’clock position rather than the six o’clock, this also turns the watch into a southpaw, with the crown now sitting on the left hand side of the case. The reason for this rather dramatic volte face is to free up space at the six o’clock for a now signature flourish from MB&F’s repertoire; a small, offset dial that sits up at a 40° angle like a picture frame, a style introduced only last year on MB&F’s first watch specifically designed for women, the FlyingT.
As we saw on that watch, this arrangement can only be accommodated through the use of the most extreme domed sapphire crystal watch glass the world has ever seen, the case itself is a fairly svelte 9.4mm in height but with the bombe sapphire included this more than doubles to 19.5mm. This Endeavour uses the same cylindrical balance spring that oscillates within the FlyingT, no coincidence as both were made by Moser’s sister company, Precision Engineering AG.
The watch is powered by Moser’s self-winding, 21,600 vph HMC 810 calibre and housed in a 42mm stainless steel case with a choice of Funky Blue, Cosmic Green, Burgundy, Off-White and Ice Blue fumé dial colours.
Price & Specs:
Case: 42mm diameter x 19.5mm height, stainless steel case, Funky Blue fumé dial, Cosmic Green fumé dial, Burgundy fumé dial, Off-White fumé dial and Ice Blue dial | Movement: Calibre HMC 810 three-dimensional, automatic, 21,600 vph (3 Hz), 29 jewels | Functions: Hours, minutes, one-minute flying tourbillon at 12 o’clock | Power reserve: 72h | Strap: Hand-stitched black alligator leather with steel folding buckle engraved with the Moser logo | Price & Availability: CHF 79,000, available in 5 limited editions of 15 pieces each in stainless steel: Funky Blue fumé dial, Cosmic Green fumé dial, Burgundy fumé dial, Off-White fumé dial and Ice Blue dial.
LM101 MB&F x H. Moser
Meanwhile MB&F’s much-loved Legacy Machine 101 undergoes Moser’s radical Concept treatment being stripped of MB&F logo and the domed floating subdials for hours and minutes and power reserve, something very much in keeping with the spirit of the already distilled LM101.
Truth be told, Moser’s concept look can be a little disorientating on first glance, hardly surprising when all of the reference points that we’ve come to rely on to add legibility in timekeeping suddenly vanish. But what this does in reality is pull focus on the essentials, which is what the LM101 has always been about. Here that is the giant central balance wheel, here redesigned with dual, matched balance springs, held aloft by two majestic beams that even Brunel himself would be proud of.
Four of Moser’s fumé dial colours are offered while the MB&F LM101 x H Moser & Cie is only the third time MB&F has presented a stainless steel watch.
Until Moser began stripping back its own dials of all indices, markers, text and even logos to show off just how well made their fumé dials had become, clear and present branding was considered sacrosanct. Now the company, on an absolute high following the launch of its universally acclaimed Streamliner steel sports watch earlier this year, has turned anti-branding into a signature of its own brand. It’s a testament to how strong the brand’s house style is and how good those dials are, that Moser certainly has the dominant genes in this pairing.
Price & Specs:
Case: 40mm diameter x 16mm height, stainless steel case, Funky Blue fumé, Cosmic Green fumé, Red fumé or Aqua Blue fumé with sunburst pattern dial | Movement: Three-dimensional horological movement developed in-house by MB&F, manual winding with single mainspring barrel, 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz) frequency, 23 jewels | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and power reserve indicator | Power reserve: 45h | Strap: Hand-stitched calfskin strap, steel 316L and titanium folding buckle | Price & Availability: CHF 53,000, available in 4 limited editions of 15 pieces in stainless steel: Funky Blue fumé dial, Cosmic Green fumé dial, Red fumé dial and a special edition with “Aqua Blue fumé” dial made for the retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons.