If you’re a watch fan who admires the work of Max Büsser and his team at MB&F, but never seem to have the requisite cash on hand to purchase the latest Legacy or Horological Machine (I think that covers at least 99% of us), a new offering from the M.A.D. Gallery will almost certainly be of interest. MB&F: The First Fifteen Years is a new hard bound 312 page “catalog raissonè” chronicling every watch and every movement the brand has produced up to 2020. If you’re restricted to admiring MB&F from afar, this book might get you just a little bit closer.
A catalog raissonè (a “critical catalog”) is a term used in the art world for a volume that collects all of the work by a single artist in one place, with annotations thorough enough to stand up to academic rigor (these books are used by art historians, dealers, and collectors to determine the authenticity of a piece and deepen their study of an artist). Accordingly, The First Fifteen Years documents not just every watch released by the brand between 2005 and 2020, but gets into granular detail on prototypes and pieces that have previously not been announced publicly. In addition to the high quality photography you’d expect, the book is loaded with details like exact numbers produced for each reference, years of production, and all relevant variants to case metal and dial configurations. It should be a valuable resource for serious MB&F collectors, as well as a compelling thing to simply flip through if these watches have ever been a curiosity on any level.
Given the nature of the products covered, you’d expect this book to be made to a certain standard, and it appears that the folks at Editions de La Martinière (the publishing house responsible for this edition) have risen to the occasion. The book comes in a protective box made from the same foam material used in MB&F packaging, and features an introduction written by Suzanne Wong, Editor-in-Chief of WorldTempus, as well as contributions throughout by William Massena, who worked closely with MB&F on this project to properly research and contextualize each reference.
The announcement of this book is a good reminder that the larger world of MB&F extends beyond watches. The First Fifteen Years is being sold through the M.A.D. Gallery, an offshoot of the watch brand that focuses on mechanical art devices (get it?). The M.A.D. Gallery has physical locations in Geneva, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Dubai, as well as a web presence where customers can order all kinds of interesting things in addition to MB&F watches. Many of those items are surprisingly accessible (but you have to get up pretty early in the morning to snag a Robotoy before they sell out), so it’s always worth a look if you’re interested in art or decor that shares an aesthetic with MB&F’s watches.
MB&F: The First Fifteen Years is available for pre-order now through the M.A.D. Gallery website. It’s a limited edition of 1,500 copies, and carries a retail price of 198 CHF. Delivery is expected later this summer. M.A.D. Gallery