The majority of Swiss horology exports is bound to continental China nowadays. Max from MB&F spends a lot of time in Asia. In the East, there are not only customers, but also artists; Max met Huang Hankang, a chinese painter who created this piece of art which sits in Maximilian Büsser’s living room:
In order to transcend purely horologic concepts, MB&F draws its inspiration from several domains, obviously from mechanical machines but also from contemporary art.
In the Western world, contemporary art has left the craftsmanship for pure conceptual and «happening shows» long ago. Just consider the famous Koons’ Lobster, with the level of quality of a buoy sold on the seaside of the «Sables d’Olonnes».
It is impossible to neglect the quality of fabrication in China, the artist must be complete, perfect in execution and in inception. The quality of finishing guarantees longevity to the product, our museums are ridden with religious paintings of a burning beauty.
Thus, in the «Empire of the middle» the artist must display a real, serious and sound craftsmanship.
Which brings us back to watchmaking. Even if our two modest watchmakers say the contrary, they are the masters of a secular craft. They excite me far more than some canvassed monuments (Christo).
Logically, the great fashion designers consider themselves as true artists, they are far less modest but more lucid than our watchmakers…
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In his painting «The Mission of Peace», Huang Hankang represents the soaring of economic, sociologic, military and geopolitics of China with the metaphor of a Panda sitting on a rocket, including the ambiguity it carries.
An interesting methaphor of the elite that rides a blind economical beast running at full speed.
This painting is an excellent opening to the main theme of «China in 2011»: will the Panda be able to control the «rocket»?
Max chose the theme of flight or soaring for «Only Watch». The children who are bed ridden by muscular dystrophy, dreaming of taking off more than anybody else. The panda, the baby-bear is a metaphor of a bed-ridden child freed from the yoke of the disease.
This panda brings us back to the conception of the HM4. When Laurent Besse and the Artisans Horlogers were conceiving the HM4, Laurent confided in me that the design of the watch reminded him of the reactors of the Atlantis, Albator’s spaceship, which probably brought him back to his child’s dreams of taking off.
Where Laurent saw the Atlantis, Max Büsser saw reactors as well with an eye of a pre-teenager.
The reactors of the A10 «Thunderbolt»: and here, reminds us of the panda riding a rocket in Huang Hankang’s painting.
The panda is made of PVD coated white gold. It rides a HM4, whose removable reins are made of the same material.
The double «gurney» of the HM4 was modified in order to make room for the panda and the reins, and the back of the watch is signed by Huang.
When I say «standard» when speaking of the HM4, it is of course all relative.
The movement works at 21600v/h with a power reserve of 72h, provided by 2 barrels set with 50 rubies, and 311 components overall; They are installed in a 54X52mm case, and a thickness of 24mm. It is made of grade 5 Titanium and features five sapphire apertures, amongst which two are circular.
To better form an opinion, here is a wristshot, the dimensions tell little about the size. A HM4 without the panda:
From a collector’s point of view, this piece presents one further aspect: it shortens the waitlist for the HM4.
It will be immediately available after September’s auction, a great way to get one quickly!
Across the ages, the ideas, this piece signifies a rapid rise of the transconceptual products from MB&F, we will revisit this in-depth in a later article, a new Gallery will be opened in Geneva by MB&F this fall.
(article prepared by Malik aka Pifpaf of Watchonista.)