Visiting the MB&F M.A.D.House: Take a Virtual Tour with this Photo Fest

Niclas Berglund is the founder of Bezl Magazine and he has kindly allowed us to republish this article here.


Geneva 2016: In the bustling little restaurant in the heart of Geneva, the sound of clinking porcelain mixes with the murmur of its patrons, creating an intense symphony. Amidst the din, Henri Porteboeuf works, his forehead glistening with sweat from the intense labor.

He skillfully navigates between the tables, always attentive to the kitchen’s ringing signal announcing ready dishes. With quick and efficient steps, he hurries to fetch a new order for his hungry guests.

This day started like any other, but soon it is about to take an unexpected turn.

As Henri rushes towards the kitchen, he passes a table where a man sits, whose face sparks a sense of recognition. Henri shakes off the thought and continues his work. However, when he turns around, he can’t help but pause and sneak another glance at the man. His heart skips a beat as he realizes it’s Maximilian Büsser, his childhood idol, sitting at the table.

All doubts vanish when Henri catches sight of the distinctive watch on the man’s wrist. A mix of astonishment and admiration washes over him. With newfound courage, he steps forward to introduce himself.

We will revisit this meeting with Maximilian Büsser, the founder of MB&F, and understand how it changed everything for Henri Porteboeuf, who today is one of MB&F’s most trusted watchmakers.

Assembling a MB&F LMX ’Paris Edition’ (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /



Geneva 2023: Cédric Roussel, MB&F’s Sales Manager, leads me into the dining room. There, MB&F’s watchmakers are working on advanced models like the LM Sequential EVO Chronograph and the HM10 Bulldog.

MB&F Legacy Machine Sequential EVO (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

We move on to the large salon where work is in full swing servicing models HM1, HM6, and HM9. These are three iconic models from the brand, requiring extensive knowledge from the watchmaker.

MB&F HM6, Horological Machine N°6, Final Edition a limited edition of 8 watches (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

I find myself in MB&F’s factory, but it feels more like standing in someone’s living room with watches and watchmakers all around me.

MB&F M.A.D.House in Carouge, Geneva (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

In 2022 MB&F moved to new premises, specifically to a house from 1907 located in Carouge on the outskirts of Genève. MB&F calls its new house the M.A.D.House.

I will soon understand why.

The MB&F watchmaker atelier, which originally served as a dining room in the early 20th century (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

We didn’t want something that resembled a regular office or factory, we wanted something that reflected us. It took Maximilian Büsser two years to find the house. We have grown significantly in recent years so this move was absolutely necessary, says Cédric Roussel.

The house was built by a couple who ran a ceramics factory in Genève. One year after the house was completed, it was named the most beautiful house in the Genève region. The house is listed by the Swiss government, which made its renovation very complicated for MB&F.

All the ceramic details in the walls have been preserved. The house is fantastic and looks essentially as it did when it was built. During the renovation, we couldn’t drill into the walls or ceiling, so we had to find other solutions, but that’s something we at MB&F are good at, says Cédric Roussel, laughing.

Watchmakers’ atelier on the first floor of the MB&F M.A.D.House (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

The house has three floors. On the first floor, the production of new watches and the servicing of previously sold watches take place. The second floor houses the offices, where Cédric Roussel, among others, works as the brand’s Sales Manager and is responsible for customer relations.

The lounge has been transformed into an office (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

On the third floor, the design team and product developers work on prototypes for upcoming models. They also design the watches here, which is done in a 3D program before they finally go into production.



The Day That Changed Everything For Henri Porteboeuf

I see Henri Porteboeuf from a distance, deeply engrossed in servicing the HM1 model. Carefully, I approach, afraid to disturb him as he meticulously handles screws that are 1 mm in size. He looks up and smiles kindly at my caution.

Henri Porteboeuf, one of MB&F’s most experienced watchmakers (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

Ever since he was young, the watchmaker had dreamt of working at MB&F. But the journey to MB&F was not straightforward. After some time at watchmaking school, Henri Porteboeuf dropped out of the program, uncertain if watchmaking was right for him, and he needed a break.

He then started working as a waiter at a restaurant in central Geneva. One day, while serving at the restaurant, Maximillian Büsser, the founder of MB&F, came in to eat.

“I was initially unsure if it was my childhood idol in front of me. But then I looked down at Maximillian Büsser’s wrist and saw that he was wearing a Legacy Machine No.1. That’s when I knew”, says Henri Porteboeuf, smiling at the memory.

“I gathered my courage and introduced myself to him. I told him about my education that I had paused, but that my dream had always been to work for MB&F. My life changed right there and then.” 



Henri Porteboeuf attended a traditional watchmaking school in France. He explained that it is very important to learn the basics of traditional watchmaking before moving on to learn more advanced horology, such as that represented by MB&F.

“The fundamentals of watchmaking are present here too, so the school I attended was not in vain. However, I had to learn a completely new language when I came to MB&F, but I wouldn’t have managed it without understanding the basics.

“Working as a watchmaker for MB&F is something completely different. These watches don’t tell time like a classic watch does. This, in turn, makes the movements very complex and highly advanced. I love the three-dimensional shapes; they challenge me every day.”

Today, he is one of the watchmakers who has worked the longest for the brand, with seven years under his belt, and has the most demanding job. As a service watchmaker, he must master all MB&F models, which requires many years of experience.

Focused work servicing a MB&F HM9 (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /



Digital Watchmakers

The house’s history makes itself felt once again as I ascend the stairs to the third floor. The steps creak homely, and I notice their fine wood details. The watchmaker has tastefully made its mark along the staircase walls, displaying robot-like figures.

MB&F HM9 Road Edition in Titanium (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

I am shown into one of the lounges, which now serves as the brand’s design office, where MB&F’s product developers are seated. The room smells of sheep and manure. Robin Cotrel, working as the Product Development Leader, laughs and points out the sheep grazing in a field next to the house through the open window.

He apologizes when he has to stop what he’s working on for the moment. It’s a model that MB&F is going to launch in the future. Instead, he brings out the designs for the iconic Horological Machine 10 (HM10), perhaps better known by the name “Bulldog.”

The 3D printed evolution of MB&F’s models. On the right the development of the HM10 (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

They show me various prototypes of the model and describe how it gradually took shape. After the fourth prototype, they had found the right form.

(photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

First, they develop a 1:1 scale prototype to find the correct shape and size, then they proceed digitally to build a movement that fits the case.

Robin Cotrel rotates and examines the HM10 on the computer, explains how they created the model, and shows me the mechanics of the model in great detail on the computer screen.

I am amazed by the advanced technology used. I can now see how the watches are completely finalized in the computer program before they move the models to production.

MB&F LM101 in white gold, featuring a purple dial whose shade shifts dramatically depending on the angle of light (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

Robin Cotrel and his colleagues work as designers and product developers, but also as digital watchmakers.

“We maintain close contact with the brand’s watchmakers who closely follow our digital work. It is important that they can ensure that the solutions we build in the computer will later work in practice, “explains Robin Cotrel, Product Development Leader.



MB&F Stands Out With Its Unique Form Of Expression

When they had finished designing the HM10 and were about to present the model to Maximilian Büsser, they had placed the crown on the backside of the case, where it now says “Bulldog”.

MB&F Horological Machine 10 in rose gold (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

Maximilian Büsser then said, “The crown can’t sit there at the back, it looks like one of Urwerk’s watches.” I agreed with him, but at the same time, I told him that it would take another six months to redesign the movement to move the crown to one of the hind legs, where the crown sits today. In total, it took eight years to produce the HM10 Bulldog.

MB&F HM10 Bulldog, known for its characteristic flying balance bridge (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

Back on the first floor, in the large salon, Henri Porteboeuf discusses the challenges of working as a watchmaker for a brand like MB&F, which is so unique in its expression.

“Watches are like women to me. Sometimes I get frustrated because I don’t understand them, and they don’t understand me – sometimes it’s wonderful, and we understand each other perfectly,” Henri says with a laugh.

“We are people sitting here; we do everything by hand. The hard part about being at my workstation is that you have to maintain a very high standard every day. It takes about three weeks to assemble a watch from the first screw to the strap. Then I hand the watch over to Didier Dumas, who is the head of the workshop and in charge of quality control.

“It’s a very special feeling to hand over a watch for final inspection before it goes to the customer. It’s a bit like handing over your baby.”

MB&F LM101 in steel with light blue dial, a variation that is one of the most sought-after in MB&F’s catalogue (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /



Something Personal That Brings A Smile To Your Lips

The brand’s philosophy is that each watchmaker should be responsible for the same watch from start to finish. A model like the Perpetual Calendar EVO comes in five different boxes with a total of 595 parts, after which the watchmaker methodically begins assembling the watch. This makes the work more enjoyable and varied for the watchmakers, who also get to master all aspects of the assembly.

Cédric Roussel, Sales Manager with a colleague on the second floor. Behind them, the brand’s motto “A Creative Adult Is A Child Who Survived”. (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

“It’s also very fun and emotional when our customers visit and we can see through the serial number on the watch which watchmaker assembled their watch. The customer then gets the chance to meet the watchmaker and shake hands, which is a wonderful feeling,” says Cédric Roussel, Sales Manager.

Henri Porteboeuf has started cleaning his workspace for the weekend. He wraps the HM9 model in protective plastic as I ask him what it’s like to work as a watchmaker in a world that is becoming increasingly digitalized.

Cédric Roussel shows one of the five boxes containing parts for the MB&F LM Perpetual EVO (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

“I am very proud to work with watches at MB&F. It’s like working with science fiction art. The brand reflects the world we live in many ways. I think about all the crazy things happening with COVID-19 and climate changes that are turning our lives upside down. Today, we have time everywhere, look around! You don’t need a watch, what you need is something personal that brings a smile to your lips.”

A steady hand is required when servicing the tourbillon of the MB&F HM6 (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

It’s Friday afternoon, and the workspaces start to empty as I and Cédric Roussel move towards the exit. My visit to MB&F has been a unique insight into something unlike anything else. I have moved between bedrooms, lounges, and salons. All this while seeing watches of the highest level being manufactured.

Anthony Moreno performs a meticulous service on a rose gold MB&F HM6 (photo courtesy Niclas Berglund /

The M.A.D.House, as MB&F calls its headquarters, is just like the brand’s watches – a house unlike anything you have ever experienced.

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