He’s kinda cute…and gaudy, too…

An owl?  Yes, an owl.  How clever.  My second reaction (you just read my first) to the new MB&F JWLRYMACHINE was — and still is — that it is “too much”.  Actually, let’s not beat around the bush here — the JWLRYMACHINE is no ‘horological machine’, it is a ‘hoity-toity thing’.  I wish MB&F would not have gone there, but they did.  Obviously following the lead of Boucheron, for whom gaudiness is all-too familiar territory.  More succinctly, I’m not a fan.

In an up-front acknowledgment of the controversial nature of JWLRYMACHINE, MB&F Chief Maximillian Büsser said that “You may love it or hate it, but the level of craftsmanship is just mind-boggling.”  OK, Maximillian, I’ll give you the ‘craftsmanship’ bit.  But as for the rest, I wonder if you can help me understand the WHY (which I know you take as much pride in as the HOW).  And, recognizing that when you set out to create MB&F your goal was very simple (to please yourself without caring about any commercial or marketing considerations), I am quite curious as to just how does the JWLRYMACHINE please you?  And what do you think it says about MB&F?  I wait patiently and hope humbly for your reply.

The new MB&F JWLRYMACHINE (made-to-order, ~$200,000)

  • http://www.ticktocking.com Steve Hallock

    Kyle, I must have read your mind when I made my blog post today!


    • http://www.perpetuelle.com Perpetuelle

      Hey Steve…yup, wow — it seems so! You sound more anxious than Maximillian! I’m curious….why the trepidation? And since you now have someone who has panned the watch, it’s time to ‘plead your case’ — you obviously had some thoughts on your mind…do tell…

      • http://www.ticktocking.com Steve Hallock

        Well, we are always anticipating the response we might get. I know the hardcore mechanical watch collectors world well enough to know that they are not always kind to jeweled pieces. I think this is very clearly an entirely different animal (pun intended 😉 ) than a watch with some diamonds set in it. As I said in my blog post, I am glad that watch collectors looked beyond the jewels and their gut reactions to see that the piece really is an exquisite work of art.

        Admittedly, this piece makes much less sense in the US where Boucheron is not as well known. In the rest of the world, they are one of the most well respected jewelry houses and particularly famous for creating three dimensional sculptures with jewelry (haute joaillerie). We are well known for making three dimensional sculptures with watches. I think the collaboration makes perfect sense and what you have is an amazing, special object showcasing the best of both houses.

        I can totally understand not liking it, but I hope the WHY is clear. Between my blog and this post, Is it still not?


        • http://www.perpetuelle.com Perpetuelle

          I appreciate the dialogue, Steve. I do on some level understand the WHY. The more I reflect on the piece the more it really comes down to my overarching distaste for jewelled watches of any form (as you (perhaps) pegged me in your reply above). But I am also disappointed on a brand-specific level — I never expected that MB&F would manifest itself in a manner that I can only describe as “hoity-toity”. That’s what seems to rub me the wrong way about this piece — it just doesn’t fit my view of what the brand stands for. But that’s just me 😉

          On a deeper and/or more personal level, I do still wonder what Maximillian “gets” out of this piece.

          • Skellern

            Hi Kyle, I’m sure that Max will tell you “Why” himself, but I’d guess “collaboration” will play a large role. These timepieces are very much Max’s babies and it took quite a while before he was willing/confident enough to let anybody else play with his toys. I think that he is now genuinely interested and curious to discover how other artists interpret and reinterpret his creations . . . and that’s risky as who knows what crazy ideas they’ll come up with. But MB&F is all about RISKY.

            1. Only Watch collaboration with Sage Vaughn
            2. HM2.2 Black Box collaboration with Alain Silberstein
            3. HM3 JEWLRYMACHINER with Boucheron

            Each successive piece has got more daring and ever further from Max’s original idea. And I think that’s the point.

          • http://www.perpetuelle.com Perpetuelle

            Thanks for your take Ian. I agree 100% that each piece has been successively more daring, and I am happy to see individuals such as Maximillian Busser who unabashedly pursue their self interests. But for me, the jwlrymachine just happened to cross the threshold from what I would call a horological machine to what I call a gaudy owl thing.

            Hope you are well.

  • Goju

    I don’t think that one can spend too much time on a serious discussion about this watch.
    Is it art? I don’t know. I do think that it is frivolity though.
    It’s also fascinating and I could see why someone would like to own it. My wife says she likes it and I would buy it for her (if I could).
    And I am sure that some will think it ridiculous.
    Isn’t that about all there is to say….

    • http://www.perpetuelle.com Perpetuelle

      Yep. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder….is it not? And with a piece like this, there will be mixed opinions. Thanks for your comment!

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