The biennial Only Watch auction, widely recognised as the world’s most high-profile charity watch event, returns in 2017. For the fourth time, MB&F is contributing a unique edition of one of their Machines to Only Watch, to be sold in aid of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder characterised by progressive muscle degeneration primarily affecting young boys.


The base of this pièce unique is Horological Machine N°8, an automotive-inspired creation that takes design cues from the legendary high-octane Can-Am race. Engraved and metallised on the sapphire crystal pane that surmounts the HM8 engine is a whimsical drawing created by 15-year-old Cassandra Legendre. A student currently living in Madrid, Legendre’s primary method of artistic expression is ballet, but she also produces remarkable drawings in her spare time. As an exception for MB&F’s contribution to Only Watch, Legendre and her family agreed to this one-off participation to strengthen the message of HM8 Only Watch — a child creating something to help children who have been denied many of the dreams and opportunities of childhood.



Both intricate and simple, an approach that perfectly matches MB&F’s sophisticated yet direct approach to watchmaking, the illustration captures childhood objects of joy in a continuously drawn frame. Despite being in her mid-teens, Legendre possesses the rare touch of communicating the perspectives of someone much younger, perspectives that still retain much of the innocence and whimsy that we lose as we grow up. Look closely at the drawing and you can spot a robot, a jet plane, a toy car and a jellyfish, visual touchstones that originate in the life and creations of MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser, and resonate with children everywhere. There are also elements of pure childlike delight, such as the ice-cream cone, football, sunglasses and video game controller.


These are items that evoke histories both personal and universal, which every MB&F creation taps into with its design and message. The motif of unity and connectedness is further brought out in the journey of Cassandra Legendre’s art from initial sketch to its final form on HM8 Only Watch. According to Legendre, the drawing started out as something to keep her occupied during a dull mathematics lesson — a familiar youthful experience for many of us! — and was later discovered through social media by Maximilian Büsser after her parents encouraged her to upload her art to Facebook.


One of the elements in Legendre’s drawing is given particular prominence in the HM8 Only Watch. The elephant, situated under the racing-inspired roll bar closest to the minutes disc, is reproduced in three dimensions between the optical prisms. Positioned on a tiny white-gold plinth, the micro-sculpture hand-crafted by Oliver Kuhn is a striking allusion to the majestic beast that occupies large swathes of children’s literature from Kipling to Disney. For those suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, or indeed any serious health condition, the elephant’s status as an endangered animal under siege and facing an uncertain future holds particular significance and relevance. The elephant is made of white gold and took 120 hours to complete, with its trunk tucked in and ears pulled back in a peaceful pose. Particular care and attention was paid to details such as the tusks, which measure 0.2mm in diameter at their finest point, and the eyes, measuring 0.18mm in diameter.


Where previously there was a double-screwed plate engraved with the MB&F logo, the HM8 Only Watch has a white-gold disc depicting a happy face, or smiley, with the two screws now forming its eyes. It is the ultimate symbol of the childlike perspective that Legendre brings to Horological Machine N°8 Only Watch, which is also found in all those who feel aligned with the creative drive of MB&F.




Cassandra Legendre is a 15-year-old student in Madrid, Spain with mixed French and Swiss parentage. Since the age of five, she has been trained in classical ballet and is currently enrolled in Victor Ullate Escuela, founded by the dancer that Maurice Béjart called one of the most complete ballet dancers of the 20th century.



Although Legendre’s ultimate aim is to become a professional ballet dancer, her art is also a strong part of her life. Her drawings form the main part of her work, and are done completely freehand in black felt pen.


Apart from drawing and ballet, Legendre is also passionate about a wide range of film genres and is particularly interested in the dialogue aspects of screenwriting.




First launched in 2016 as the adrenaline-laced “Can-Am”, Horological Machine N°8 is the latest evolution of the heads-up time display that MB&F debuted five years ago with the HM5 “On the Road Again” and subsequently refined in the 2015 HMX.


The HM8 engine is a compact, in-house developed movement built on a Girard-Perregaux base, with a jumping hour disc and a running minutes disc. Optical prisms fixed over the discs at specific points capture the time, refracting and magnifying the numerals so they can be read on a vertical plane. Horological Machine N°8 is completely pared down in terms of exterior cladding, not just to emulate the bare-all aesthetic of Can-Am race cars, but also to allow as much light as possible to flood the prisms and maximise the clarity of display.


Additional references to the source material include the slender titanium roll bars flanking the crown, sweeping forwards to anchor the time display cylinder. Motoring enthusiasts will immediately recognise the “oil sumps” visible through the sapphire crystal panes on the underside of HM8.




Established in 2005 and organised by the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Only Watch is a biennial auction specialising in one-of-a-kind timepieces. The funds raised go towards research in treating and curing neuromuscular diseases, in particular Duchenne muscular dystrophy. To date, the auction has raised over EUR 25 million, over six editions.



The 2017 edition of Only Watch will be held in Geneva, the second year that the city is hosting the auction. The collection of watches up for auction will embark on a world tour, beginning with a showcase at the Monaco Yacht Show (27–30 September 2017) before travelling through Asia, the Middle East, the United States and finally back to Europe.


Thematically, the watches to be featured in Only Watch 2017 will have a pronounced emphasis on brand collaborations with external personalities, such as sports ambassadors or artists. This highlights the importance of valuable interdisciplinary exchange and partnership in the advancement of medical research.


Only Watch 2017 will take place on Saturday 11 November and welcomes for the first time the experience and expertise of auction house Christie’s in presenting the world’s premier watchmaking charity event.

Horological Machine No8 in detail



When he was young, MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser dreamt of becoming a car designer, but that wasn’t an option and he ended up designing watches instead. Or did he? It wouldn’t take much to scale HM8 up to car size, drop a 1,000+ horsepower motor under the hood and put a set of slick racing tyres under the chassis. While visually it is those polished roll bars linking HM8 to the Can-Am supercars, it’s the rebellious spirit of working outside restrictive rules that really provided the inspiration for HM8.


Case, roll bars, and crystals

The complete top of the HM8 case is one piece of sapphire crystal with sections of the crystal metallised to create a bluish border. The roll bars are in grade 5 titanium, which has the desired qualities of being light in weight and high in strength. Titanium cannot be bent easily into the desired long curve, which means that each roll bar has to be milled from a solid block of titanium Ti-6Al-4V; significantly stronger than commercially pure titanium and boasting a unique combination of lightness, strength and resistance to corrosion.


Engine, indications and reflective prisms

HM8 is powered by an in-house developed bi-directional jumping hour and trailing minute indication module, on a Girard-Perregaux base movement. The movement is inverted to put the winding rotor on top and modified to drive the prism indicator module. The power reserve is 42 hours.


The bi-directional jumping hour and trailing minute displays on HM8 are materialised by overlapping discs rotating horizontally on top of the movement; yet the time indications are displayed vertically in a ‘dashboard’ at the front of the case. To achieve this, MB&F worked with a high-precision optical glass supplier to develop reflective sapphire crystal prisms that reflect light from the discs 90°, and also magnify the indications by 20%.


Sapphire crystal is much more difficult to work to optical precision than glass, and it took considerable development and meticulous care in production to create crystals that reflect and magnify light without the slightest distortion. The vertical, forward-facing display makes HM8 Can-Am an excellent driver’s watch, as there is no need to lift your wrist from the steering wheel to read the display.


The Can-Am

In the 1960s, Formula One car racing was mainly European and very regimented, with tight rules designed to slow cars down. A few North American racers balked at the restrictions and decided to create their own racing series, the Canadian-American Challenge Cup (known as the Can-Am). The series launched many of the greatest names in car racing, including Lola and McLaren. The Can-Am basically had no rules except to go fast!


The Canadian-American Challenge Cup was a Group 7 SCCA/CASC sports car racing series running from 1966 to 1987, with two races in Canada and four in the USA each season. Because the class permitted virtually “anything goes” in terms of engine size, power and aerodynamics, the Can-Am was a hotbed of technical innovation. At its peak, Can-Am cars had the most advanced racing technology in the world, and with 1,000 horsepower, Can-Am cars lapped some tracks faster than F1 cars. Chrome roll bars ensured the driver’s safety if all of that power were to suddenly turn upside down.





Distinctive feature:

This pièce unique HM8 in white gold and titanium features a sapphire crystal engraved with a drawing created by 15-year old Cassandra Legendre, along with a miniature white gold elephant sculpture standing between the hours and minutes.



Three-dimensional engine conceived and developed by MB&F from a Girard-Perregaux base calibre

Automatic battle-axe winding rotor in 22k gold with purple PVD

Power reserve: 42 hours

Balance frequency: 28,800bph / 4Hz

Number of components: 251

Number of jewels: 30



Bi-directional jumping hours and trailing minutes displayed by two optical prisms that both reflect and magnify



Material: 18K white gold and grade 5 titanium

Dimensions: 49 mm x 51.5 mm x 19 mm

Number of components: 60 components

Water resistance: 30 m / 90′ / 3 atm


Sapphire crystals

All sapphire crystals – front, back, top, bottom – treated with anti-reflective coating on both faces. Top plate metallised and laser engraved with a drawing.


Strap & buckle

Black hand-stitched alligator strap with white gold folding buckle.




Concept: Maximilian Büsser / MB&F

Horological Machine design: Eric Giroud / Through the Looking Glass

Original drawing: Cassandra Legendre

Technical and production management: Serge Kriknoff / MB&F

R&D: Guillaume Thévenin and Ruben Martinez / MB&F

Movement development: Guillaume Thévenin / MB&F


Base movement: Stefano Macaluso / Girard Perregaux

Case: Fabien Chapatte and Riccardo Pescante / Les Artisans Boitiers

Elephant sculpture: Olivier Kuhn / Atelier-Création Kuhn

Precision turning of wheels, pinions and axes: Dominique Guye / DMP horlogerie, Yves Bandi / Bandi and Jean-François Mojon / Chronode

Mainspring: Alain Pellet / Elefil

Plates and bridges: Rodrigue Baume / DAMATEC and Benjamin Signoud / AMECAP

Mystery winding rotor: Cendres et Métaux and Pierre-Albert Steinmann / Positive Coating

Hand-finishing of movement components: Jacques-Adrien Rochat and Denis Garcia / C.-L. Rochat

Movement assembly: Didier Dumas, Georges Veisy, Anne Guiter, Emmanuel Maitre and Henri Porteboeuf/ MB&F

In-house machining: Alain Lemarchand and Jean-Baptiste Prétot / MB&F

Quality control: Cyril Fallet / MB&F

After-sales service: Thomas Imberti / MB&F

Sapphire crystals: Sebal

Metallisation of sapphire crystals: Roland Rhyner / Econorm

Laser engraving: Wlaser

Discs for hours – minutes and optical prisms: Jean-Michel Pellaton / Bloesch

Crown: Jean-Pierre Cassard / Cheval Frères

Buckle: Dominique Mainier / G&F Châtelain

Bracelet: Olivier Purnot / Camille Fournet

Case: Olivier Berthon / ATS Atelier Luxe

Logistics and production: David Lamy and Isabel Ortega / MB&F


Marketing & Communication: Charris Yadigaroglou, Virginie Toral and Juliette Duru / MB&F

M.A.D.Gallery: Hervé Estienne / MB&F

Sales: Sunita Dharamsey, Rizza Naluz and Philip Ogle / MB&F

Graphic design: Samuel Pasquier / MB&F, Adrien Schulz and Gilles Bondallaz / Z+Z

Horological Art photography: Maarten van der Ende

Portrait photography: Régis Golay / Federal

Webmasters: Stéphane Balet / NORD Magnétique, Victor Rodriguez and Mathias Muntz / NIMEO

Texts: Suzanne Wong





In 2015, MB&F celebrated its 10th anniversary – and what a decade it was for the world’s first ever horological concept laboratory: 10 years of hyper-creativity; 11 remarkable calibres forming the base of the critically acclaimed Horological Machines and Legacy Machines for which MB&F has become renowned.


After 15 years managing prestigious watch brands, Maximilian Büsser resigned from his Managing Director position at Harry Winston in 2005 to create MB&F – Maximilian Büsser & Friends. MB&F is an artistic and micro-engineering laboratory dedicated to designing and crafting small series of radical concept watches by bringing together talented horological professionals that Büsser both respects and enjoys working with.


In 2007, MB&F unveiled its first Horological Machine, HM1. HM1’s sculptured, three-dimensional case and beautifully finished engine (movement) set the standard for the idiosyncratic Horological Machines that have followed: HM2, HM3, HM4, HM5, HM6, HM7, HM8 and HMX – all Machines that tell the time, rather than Machines to tell the time.



In 2011, MB&F launched its round-cased Legacy Machine collection. These more classical pieces – classical for MB&F, that is – pay tribute to nineteenth-century watchmaking excellence by reinterpreting complications from the great horological innovators of yesteryear to create contemporary objets d’art. LM1 and LM2 were followed by LM101, the first MB&F Machine to feature a movement developed entirely in-house. The year 2015 saw the launch of Legacy Machine Perpetual featuring a fully integrated perpetual calendar. MB&F generally alternates between launching contemporary, resolutely unconventional Horological Machines and historically inspired Legacy Machines.


As well as Horological and Legacy Machines, MB&F has created space-age MusicMachines (1, 2 and 3) in collaboration with music box specialist Reuge; and with L’Epée 1839, unusual clocks in the form of a space station (Starfleet Machine), a spider (Arachnophobia), a rocket (Destination Moon) and three robot clocks (Melchior, Sherman, and Balthazar). In 2016, MB&F and Caran d’Ache created a mechanical rocket-pen called Astrograph.


And there have been distinguished accolades reminding us of the innovative nature of MB&F’s journey so far. To name a few, there have been no less than 4 Grand Prix awards from the famous Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève: in 2016, LM Perpetual won the Grand Prix for Best Calendar Watch; in 2012, Legacy Machine No.1 was awarded the Public Prize (voted for by horology fans) and the Best Men’s Watch Prize (voted for by the professional jury); and in 2010, MB&F won Best Concept and Design Watch for the HM4 Thunderbolt. In 2015 MB&F received a Red Dot: Best of the Best award – the top prize at the international Red Dot Awards – for the HM6 Space Pirate.