MB&F And Eddy Jaquet Collaborate On Eight Unique Jules Verne Watches
Today MB&F in collaboration with master engraver Eddy Jaquet releases a series of eight unique timepieces that tell the amazing stories of French writer Jules Verne. The canvas for these incredibly detailed depictions of the eight stories is the MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement. During the Geneva Watch Days, we had a chance to experience two of these extraordinary timepieces up close. We were amazed by the detailed brilliance of the MB&F LM Split Escapement “Eddy Jaquet” Limited Editions. They truly are an escape into the wonderful adventures of Jules Verne.
During the Geneva Watch Days, we had a chance to check out a number of MB&F’s recent creations. As Rob explained in his article about the MB&F Geneva Watch Days novelties, the brand is not limited by the classical boundaries within the world of watch and clock making. That approach has resulted in timepieces that are often stunningly ingenious and provocative in their execution. As a result, MB&F has gathered a great group of admirers. And we at Fratello are certainly amongst the admirers of MB&F.
MB&F × Eddy Jaquet
What I personally love about MB&F is the open character of the brand as a platform for creativity. By working together with a great variety of renowned artists, watchmakers, and clockmakers, Max Büsser has been able to surprise us with a string of amazing creations. The collaborations create often unique ideas and have a completely original approach to timekeeping.
…understanding the power of joint creation.
And coming from a background in the design industry personally, it’s a way of working for which I have great respect. Quite often the creative industry is overly focused on individual success rather than understanding the power of joint creation. The release of the MB&F LM Split Escapement “Eddy Jaquet” Limited Editions shows us once again how great that power is.
The world of Jules Verne
The central idea behind the eight unique timepieces started with one central theme: Jules Verne. Büsser is known to be a longtime fan of science fiction and Jules Verne. Verne is often described as the father of the genre. As such, it only made sense that Verne’s stories were to be the central theme of the collaboration with master engraver Eddy Jaquet.
Jaquet is no stranger to MB&F as they have worked together in the past. The flowing script you see on the Legacy Machine engines is made in Eddy Jaquet’s hand. Although brilliantly executed, it is only a hint of what the Neuchatel-based engraver is capable of.
Jaquet read 60 of Verne’s novels and short stories.
For the final idea, MB&F and Jaquet decided to use the dial plate of the MB&F LM Split Escapement as the canvas for Jaquet to tell eight of Verne’s stories. In order to do so, Jaquet read 60(!) of Verne’s novels and short stories. He made a selection of eight stories and starting working on visualizing those stories. The eight stories chosen are Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, From The Earth To The Moon, Around The World In Eighty Days, Five Weeks In A Balloon, The Adventures Of Captain Hatteras, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, Michael Strogoff, and Robur The Conqueror.
Visualizing the eight stories
After picking these eight stories Jaquet started working on visualizing them by drawing them by hand. In the process, MB&F and Jaquet also looked into maximizing the space that Jaquet could use for his engravings. The MB&F team decided to make some adjustments to the original LM Split Escapement.
The bigger crystal has a less pronounced curve to the dome.
The brand settled on open-work date and power-reserve sub-dials as well as wider dial plates. A slimmer bezel was created and the overall case dimensions altered in order to make the dial plate fit. As a result of the changes to the case size, MB&F also had to produce a different crystal for the pieces. The bigger crystal has a less pronounced curve to the dome.
The changes maximized space for Jaquet to use for his engravings. And from seeing two pieces up close in Geneva, we can only say that the results are breathtaking. The level of detail is remarkable. Jaquet is able to create central figures of the stories that seem to come alive on the dial. Especially human figures seem to have a genuine emotion on their faces. And the LM Split Escapement with an 18k rose gold case turns out to be the perfect vessel for these stories. Both its unique style and open character go together perfectly with Jaquet’s detailed work.
From The Moon To The Earth
The two pieces shown here, tell the stories of From The Earth To The Moon and Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. As you would expect the first story is especially interesting to us Fratelli. Although Verne’s story was published in 1865, so way a little over a century before that other moon story, it’s great to see how Jaquet visualized Verne’s journey from the earth to the moon.
…the difference in shades adds an extra dimension that makes it come to life even more.
First off, the level of detail Jaquet is able to achieve on a small space is mindblowing. The surface of the earth shows different continents and even islands. The details in the American flag might not stand out at first, but a second glance shows its brilliance. The flag and the earth also create a lighter left side of the dial. The right side depicts the dark skies on the journey to the moon and the color is actually darker.
To fully bring out each illustrated scene, Jaquet applied a dark rhodium alloy by hand, adjusting the shading of each detail according to the urgency of the scene. By doing so, Jaquet told a story through his engravings. The shading adds an extra dimension to the scenes that brings them to life even more vividly.
A perfect match
Another thing that stands out is how perfectly the stories and the LM Split Escapement go together. The risk of creating a timepiece with a lot of detailed elements is that not all the elements blend together. But the layering of the LM Split Escapement works perfectly. The balance wheel suspended above the dial never blocks the view of the dial and the open-work sub-dials do not interfere with Verne’s story. But the impressive backdrop also does not hinder reading the time or checking the date.
Journey To The Center Of The Earth
The second timepiece tells Verne’s Journey To The Center Of The Earth. And this second dial is even more impressive when it comes to the level of detail. Once again Jaquet no only used his engravings to tell the story. For the underground sea depicted on the dial, Jaquet incorporated gradient-shading techniques. It once again creates a beautiful dark and light dynamic on the dial
The combination of human figures and sea monsters create a vivid story that has your eyes going from one detail to the next. Our first reaction to this depiction of the Journey To The Center Of The Earth? A short but heartfelt, “wow!” In order to achieve these extraordinary results, the MB&F team and Jaquet spent a total of 300 hours on every timepiece. And the results show the incredible time, dedication, and craftsmanship that went into this collaboration.
No change in movement
Although MB&F changed the dimensions of the case and reworked some other elements, all eight watches are powered by the same movement that was developed for MB&F by Stephen McDonnell. The manual-winding movement beats at 2.5Hz and has a power reserve of 72 hours. The movement features a split escapement with the balance wheel suspended above the dial with the anchor and escape wheel under the movement.
A push-button on the left side of the case allows you to adjust the date.
The watch has a main sub-dial at 12 o’clock showing the time. The open-work sub-dial at 4 o’clock is the power reserve indicator and the open-work sub-dial at 8 o’clock shows the date. A push-button on the left side of the case next to the date subdial allows you to adjust the date.
MB&F and Eddy Jaquet created something truly special with this series of Jules Verne inspired timepieces. The combination of cutting edge watchmaking and traditional engraving delivers some stunning results. The stories of Jules Verne turn out to be the perfect conceptual idea for these stunning creations.
If you would like to own one of these eight spectacular timepieces, I am afraid I have to disappoint you. All eight MB&F × Eddy Jaquet timepieces have been sold for a price of CHF 148,000. It shows the popularity that Max Büsser has been able to create with his creative platform. But fear not for the future if you missed out on these because we all know Max Büsser has not run out of unique ideas just yet.
For more information, you can visit the official MB&F website here.