There is something special about books. In today’s online world, books are a tangible piece of magic. For me, nothing beats the sight and the smell of a book that comes fresh from the printers. I grew up in the age of print media, so books will always have a special place in my heart. Watch books are often visually stunning, but they turn into static decorative objects on the coffee table. I love it when a book is more than that. The best books are the ones that look great but also serve as the perfect reference material. That’s exactly what MB&F has done with the creation of its new book MB&F: The First Fifteen Years. It is a great testament to the first fifteen years of the special brand Max Büsser has created.

What I have always loved and appreciated most about Maximilian Büsser & Friends, or MB&F, is the collaborative way in which the brand works. In the ultra-competitive world of watches, MB&F perfectly shows that the combined creativity of different independent creatives leads to spectacular results. The timepieces are amongst the most spectacular and appreciated in the world of watches.

As with any brand, you can’t be a fan of every watch that’s released, but reading the story behind every MB&F creation is a great pleasure. Whether or not each watch is one that you love, it’s always highly interesting to read how the collaborative efforts led to the result. This form of storytelling has become synonymous with the MB&F brand.

MB&F’s “Catalogue Raisonné”

What better way to tell that entire story than through an incredible book? Today, MB&F presents its first print publication with the book MB&F: The First Fifteen Years. The brand describes it as a Catalogue Raisonné written in English by renowned industry figures Suzanne Wong and William Massena, published by Editions de La Martinière, and distributed by Abram.

A “Catalogue Raisonné” is a well-known term in the art world. It is a printed collection of the works of an artist, either created by that artist or producers themselves. It is a document that contains detailed info to assist art collectors in identifying the particular artist’s works. For MB&F, this is translated into a 312-page book that documents every reference the brand created from 2005 to 2020. This includes prototypes and timepieces that were never officially announced before.

Max Büsser’s inspiration for the book

Max Büsser explains that the inspiration for the book came from a combination of factors. The first was a customer asking how many pieces of the LM2 in red gold the brand had actually produced. It was technically not a limited edition, but MB&F has always produced timepieces in limited numbers. Büsser explained that only 31 pieces were produced, completely surprising the customer. It was then that Büsser understood a detailed book might be a great opportunity to provide valuable information to collectors and owners of MB&F timepieces.

Büsser says about the book, “Over our first 15 years, we crafted only about 3,000 pieces, spread across 18 calibers and countless variations. If you do the maths, you quickly realize how few pieces of each model there are out there. By sheer coincidence, at about the same time, our friend William Massena suggested the idea of a Catalogue Raisonné to me. So the idea was born from this interaction to share our whole body of work in full transparency.”

Documenting the creative process of MB&F

The book opens with a 30-page intro telling the detailed story of the brand over the last fifteen years. It’s a great introduction before diving into the details of the different timepieces. It will be great to see the different prototypes that came before the final creations. It will unveil part of the magic of the creative process that I can’t wait to see. The book will include all the reference numbers, technical specs, years of production, and the exact quantity produced of each individual reference.

With a total of 160 references created over the course of 15 years, it is quite the collection of timepieces. It will be interesting to see how many pieces the brand produced of each creation. I’m sure the info about the number of prototypes and one-offs will be especially popular with fans and collectors alike. This extensive information is accompanied by 400 full-color photographs showing all 160 product variations in great detail. On top of that, the book also sheds light on the 18 different calibers that MB&F produced over the years for the Horological, Legacy Machines, and of course, the Co-Creations.

Price and availability

MB&F will release a total of 2,000 copies of the book. While the brand had planned on releasing the book earlier, unfortunately, its release has been slowed due to shortages in raw materials and worldwide shipping delays. The first 1,500 copies are reserved for MB&F and its partners. This version of the book comes in a special protective box made of the same high-density foam used to package MB&F timepieces. It will have a retail price of CHF 198 or approximately €190/$220. This first batch is scheduled for release in the summer of 2022.

The second batch of 500 copies does not come with the special packaging like the first batch. It will be sold through the publishing house’s network of stores starting in October 2022. These copies will be available for a retail price of €150/$170. I can’t wait and try to get my hands on a copy of the book. MB&F created some of my favorite timepieces of the last fifteen years that I consider great art pieces. My favorite is the HM3, and I can’t wait to see all of the different versions that are out there. Although we have to wait for a little bit, the pre-orders open today through the MB&F’s M.A.D.Gallery eShop.

If you want to know more about MB&F, visit the brand’s official website.