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How a ballerina’s doodle ended up on the MB&F HM8

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December 2017


How a ballerina's doodle ended up on the MB&F HM8

The latest Horological Machine N°8 by Maximilian Büsser & Friends sports a joyful work of art on the dial side, adding some whimsy to an otherwise masculine timepiece.

How a ballerina's doodle ended up on the MB&F HM8

One of my favourite watches of the year is the latest Horological Machine N°8 to come out of the workshops of MB&F.

Now, fans of company founder Maximilian Büsser and his Friends will already be familiar with what the MH8 brings to the table from a technical perspective.

First launched in 2016, the line is based on the high adrenaline “Can-Am” racecars. Hence the case of the watch replicates a roll cage of the cars, struck in titanium and sweeping forward to frame the time display cylinder.

How a ballerina's doodle ended up on the MB&F HM8

The engine on the inside is a compact machine, developed in-house and but built on a Girard-Perregaux base. It features a jumping hour disc and a running minutes disc to display the time.

Recently, the HM8 received a makeover and it was the type that I wouldn’t necessarily expect for this timepiece. I see the MH8 largely as a bold and strong man’s watch, and its racing-inspired roots already hint at its target demographic.

How a ballerina's doodle ended up on the MB&F HM8

But the latest version of the watch has a more artistic expression about it. It features an engraved sapphire crystal pane that surmounts the HM8’s engine, based on a whimsical drawing created by 15-year-old Cassandra Legendre.

An aspiring ballerina by training, she also produces remarkable drawings in her spare time. And this one was apparently completed while Cassandra was bored during a mathematics lesson – we’ve all been there before!

How a ballerina's doodle ended up on the MB&F HM8

The drawing looks simple and abstract at first glance, but if you take a closer look you will be able to spot a robot, a jet plane, a toy car, an ice-cream cone, an elephant, a football, sunglasses and a video game controller.

To make the watch even more special, the elephant has been reproduced as a micro-sculpture between the optical prisms. Hand-crafted in white-gold by Oliver Kuhn, it took no less than 120 hours to complete.

How a ballerina's doodle ended up on the MB&F HM8

The final touch of joy on this watch is the smiley face, which replaces the double-screwed plate which normally carries the MB&F logo. The white-gold disc now depicts a happy face, with the two screws forming its eyes.

These visual touchstones capture the joy of childhood, and provide a perfect counterweight to the otherwise masculine MH8. They are also what MB&F’s creations are all about: excellent mechanical timepieces that are the expression of a child-like wonder.

How a ballerina's doodle ended up on the MB&F HM8

Only one example of this watch was produced, and it was for a good cause, too. It was auctioned off during the biennial Only Watch auction, in support of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder typically affecting children. The charity auction brought home over 10 million Swiss francs in total.