As I enter the boutique I see a sleek sit-on toy car with a huge key sticking out of the boot, probably to wind up the mechanism. On the left is a cool-looking motorbike, which is actually much too clean and shiny to be a motorbike. The name on the tank reads Chicara Nagata. I look around and all I see are fantastical mechanics: a walking lamp, resembling some kind of science-fiction creature; not far from it is something that looks like the C-3PO robot from Star Wars, as if I had been transported into the future, but then a strange future imagined by George Lucas.
All of a sudden I see it. “There it is!” I think to myself. “The MoonMachine.” I walk towards a table displaying an awesome-looking watch. I have been in contact with Charris Yadigaroglou who is Communication Director for MB&F, a high-end Swiss watch manufacturer. And when I say high end, I mean HIGH end. They call their watches ‘horological machines’ because a watch is usually developed to tell the time, while MB&F’s creations are primarily micro-mechanical sculptures; timekeeping is secondary.
“Anouk?” I hear a voice behind me. I turn around and see Charris standing next to C-3PO. “Welcome to the M.A.D. Gallery, a magical universe of horological machines and ‘Mechanical Art Devices’. Isn’t she cool?” he asks, pointing to the MoonMachine.
“Awesome,” I say. “So this is the work of Maximilian Büsser?”
“And friends,” Charris says. “The company is called Maximilian Büsser AND Friends. That’s very important because it’s exactly what makes us different. All luxury watchmakers work with the same top artisans, but don’t talk about them. A top luxury watch brand wants the watch to be produced by the brand. We want our watch to be a collaborative piece of art. We want to give our subcontractors recognition and mention them in our communication. We call them friends.”
“I understand,” I say, “that way the subcontractors feel more involved because they get recognition for their work.”
“And they will take that extra step if necessary,” Charris says. “We create very complex pieces of art which demand a lot of extra steps. But everybody feels challenged and the starting point is always not if, but how to get the job done.”
Charris looks at the MoonMachine again as if it could disappear into another dimension at any moment. After a few seconds he turns back to me and continues: “But that’s not the only reason. We all have corporate backgrounds. Before we joined MB&F we worked for large, hierarchical companies. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could work only with friends? With people who share the same human values?”
Charris pauses for a moment and I wonder if he is expecting an answer. “That’s the philosophy behind the ‘and friends’ idea: to bring together talented horological artisans, artists and professionals – all friends – to design and craft each year a radical and original horological masterpiece.”
Charris pauses again to give me time to react. I’m impressed by the apparent simplicity of the idea and don’t know exactly what to say. I look at C-3PO, hoping for inspiration. “It’s uh… it’s awesome,” I say finally.
“Isn’t it?” Charris says. “By working together with a team of talented individuals, using their passion and creativity and acknowledging each individual’s contribution, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
“MB&F is above all a human adventure… a human adventure with just one goal: to create incredible horological machines.”
© 2012 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands
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