How Max Büsser Mastered the Art of Eating 8 Sushi Rolls in 27 Seconds
SIHH is, by far, the most effective fair — there are only two — [chuckles] but it’s the most effective one.
It’s also the most brutal. Why? Because we see as many retailers, clients and five times as much press as we do in Basel. In Geneva, all of this happens over four days. Whereas in Basel, we’ve got eight days.
For guys like us, who have three little offices around the world, to see that many people in four days is just a phenomenal task. We were basically meeting people back-to-back every day.
I’ll paint it to you like this: At SIHH, I perfected the science of eating eight sushi rolls in about 27 seconds. I started at one minute thirty, but by the end of the fair I was well under 30 seconds.
But SIHH is superlatively organized and it’s the reason why we get to meet as many people as we do meet. The only thing I could say that I’m a little apologetic about, is that because we had only the few pieces of the HM7 Aquapod at the fair, a lot of the press that we met as a brand didn’t necessarily get a lot of hands on time with the watch.
Mind you, at the press briefings, we get 20 minutes with a particular group. And in that 20 minutes we have to cover the brand’s story — because we do see more types of press at SIHH other than just the watch guys who are familiar with us — and then talk about the new watch, which hardly leaves enough time for everyone in the group to handle the watch.
And we’re about to do it all over again at Baselworld, just two weeks away. We’ve only done SIHH since last year but we’ve always been present at Gevena during the time to make sure we meet with everyone who is in town for the fair.
We started doing Baselworld in 2009. Back then it was just me and a table outside the Swissôtel. Yup, outside. I used to get there at about 9 in the morning and have my meetings until about 6 in the evening. One year, there was this surreal moment when I had Oliviero Bottinelli (from Audemars Piguet), Jean-Claude Biver, John Simonian (of Westime) — all these incredible people were with me at my table at the same time looking at the few MB&F watches I had then. It was great.
I’m not saying it’s better now — or worse — that was just a different time in my life and in that of MB&F’s. My point is, we’ve always been at both fairs. And with the traction we’ve gotten at SIHH, why do we continue with Basel? Well look, when you’re based in Geneva and the whole profession is present in a town just two hour’s drive away, why wouldn’t we want to be there?
My father always said this to me, “Do things well or don’t do them.” I hated it when he said those words to me, because it meant that I was doing something half-and-half. I’m not going to Basel half-assed. We’ve nine launches penned for this year. You’ve already seen one in SIHH and you will see another new product in Basel. Every opportunity we have to showcase a new product at launch at a stage like Basel and maximize its visibility is important for us.
There is no more Palace, but we’ve been told that we can reuse our existing booths in a new space created for the independent brands, on the second floor of Hall 1 — can’t say I’ve ever heard of the second floor at Hall 1 but okay — called the Les Atelier.
We’re also going to have the M.A.D. Gallery present at Basel for the week — small pop-up — so that we can show case the things we’re doing on that end as well. That’ll be a little extra that we’re bringing to Basel.
But let me backtrack to SIHH a little and tell you about the HM7. I’ll start with the fact that I was completely terrified before we announced the HM7. It’s a sort of diver’s watch that you can’t really bring diving. It’s a round Horological Machine for a change — which is just uncharacteristic. And let’s not forget that it’s 53.8mm in diameter; it’s a large watch.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore this piece. As a horological sculpture, it’s incredible. But I did wonder in the beginning, “Would anyone want this watch?” But what happened in the first three days of SIHH is seriously mind boggling.
We sold five pieces at our Geneva M.A.D. Gallery — at full retail — on day one. The individuals who purchased the watches are all existing MB&F customers, but it’s still startling that all of them bought the watch without even having tried it on. They tried to get us on our phones, by Instagram, by any means possible really, so they could reserve a piece of the HM7.
It was simply unheard of for me. Truth be told, we were never out to create the next best watch. We just wanted to do our best to bring to life the inspirations behind the HM7. Consider the dome of the watch, for example, which was inspired by the head of the jelly fish and this whole jelly fish story. In order to have the dome relay the effect it has on the human eye, we couldn’t afford to have a bridge on the watch’s regulator.
That’s why the HM7’s regulator is a flying tourbillon. It’s because it was the only way we could have the regulator placed. It wasn’t for the sake of saying that the HM7 has a flying tourbillon.
Everything we did for the HM7 was so that we could best achieve the visual story we desired of it. That’s how it is for us always. We always reverse engineer our watches so that we convey the intended story to the best effect. To paraphrase someone, very well known, my only interest lies in creating, “an insanely great product.”