A few months ago I spoke in-depth with a journalist called Melanie Abrams about my ‘Independent Watchmakers’ book. She was writing an article for The New York Times and was interested to know what inspired the project. I have always been fascinated by the world of horology and the exceptional craftsmanship involved. Literally in the last decade brands have become more adventurous in their choice of materials and overall designs. A perfect example is Avant-Garde Swiss luxury watchmaker MB & F.
To survive in the watch industry you need to have a good product and exceptional marketing skills. Within this category are Richard Mille, Jean-Claude Biver, Dan Niederer (SevenFriday) Nick and Giles English (Bremont). Another, marketing guru is Maximilian Büsser who is the founder of MB & F and the MAD Gallery. His extraordinary business acumen has enabled him to leave Harry Winston and establish an exclusive luxury brand. Certainly, partnering with Singapore based retailer The Hour Glass has been a game-changer for the company.
Recently MB & F released another version of the Legacy Machine called the Thunderdome. Within the series, this is probably my favourite and certainly the most expensive ($280,000). For this watch, Maximilian Büsser has employed the talents of Eric Coudray and Finnish independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen to create an extraordinary movement. Together, they have a devised a highly complicated triple tri-axial rotating spherical mechanism that is positioned on an exquisite blue guilloche pattern dial. This 63-jewel manual winding calibre comprises 413 components and oscillates at 21,600 vibrations.
Aesthetically the Thunderdome is pretty similar to all the other legacy machines. However, what really sets this watch apart from the other models is the exceptional mechanical movement. To maximize the visual effect of this extraordinary engineering the dome sapphire has been massively exaggerated. Traditionalists may not appreciate this distortion but I really love this feature. The only conventional details on this watch are the enamel dial and understated 44mm x 22.2mm 950 platinum case. There is also another special Tantalum edition made especially for The Hour Glass.