The Aesthete: Maximilian Büsser talks personal taste

The Swiss watchmaker set up boutique brand MB&F in 2005, creating avant-garde 3D “horological-art machines”

Maximilian Büsser at home in Dubai
Maximilian Büsser at home in Dubai | Image: Mohamed Somji

My personal style signifiers are my sneakers. I used to wear Converse, then I saw Kill Bill and thought the Onitsuka Tigers were so cool. I’ve worn them ever since – they’re basically the same sports shoe that was made in the ’50s. From £62; onitsukatiger.com.

Frank Buchwald Machine Light XL 1 lamp, about £30,000
Frank Buchwald Machine Light XL 1 lamp, about £30,000 | Image: Mohamed Somji

The last thing I bought and loved was a Frank Buchwald Machine Light XL 1 in burnished steel. Although I don’t buy much any more, sometimes I fall in love with something and just go bananas and get it, even though it makes no sense. In this case, it’s a lamp. Actually, it’s a piece of art that gives light. About £30,000; frankbuchwald.com.

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And the thing I’m eyeing next is a Messerschmitt KR175 three-wheeler car from the late ’50s to early ’60s. If you saw Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, you’d have seen Jonathan Pryce in this little three-wheeler. It’s an extraordinary piece of mechanical art. About £32,870. 

A Messerschmitt KR175
A Messerschmitt KR175

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a dark-blue Zegna jacket made from what they call “Techmerino”. It’s extremely snug, fits perfectly and you can throw it in the washing machine. From £1,000; zegna.co.uk.

Chicara Art III motorbike
Chicara Art III motorbike

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is the Japanese artist Chicara Nagata. I’ve created a mechanical-art gallery, MAD, and he was one of the first artists we showed. In about 15 years he’s made only five motorbikes, spending three or four years on each one. They’re out of my reach and there’s only one left: Chicara Art III. I would love to have it. About £320,000; chicara.com.

Cellman Wash n’ Shave
Cellman Wash n’ Shave

The grooming staples I’m never without are Santa Maria Novella body milk, which uses the same ingredients now as 400 years ago. That means something. There’s also this little Swiss company, Cellcosmet & Cellman, which makes ludicrously expensive shaving foam, but it’s got a big advantage: it’s transparent, so you can do  the line of your beard. And my fragrance is Aesop’s Hwyl. Aesop Hwyl, £90 for 50ml EDP; aesop.com. Cellman Wash n’ Shave, £100 for 150ml; cellcosmet.co.uk. Santa Maria Novella Latte Corpo Uomo, €64 for 250ml; smnovella.com

MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT watch, a gift from Büsser to his wife
MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT watch, a gift from Büsser to his wife | Image: Mohamed Somji

The best gift I’ve given recently is the Legacy Machine FlyingT to my wife. I’m going to have to sound my own trumpet on that one. It’s the very first horological piece I’ve created for women, for Tiffany, and she discovered it on the day we launched it. After 14 years of creating only for myself and being selfish, I decided it was maybe time I took a big risk. From £100,000; mbandf.com.

Orfève dark chocolate
Orfève dark chocolate

The best souvenirs I’ve brought home recently are encounters – not objects. Perhaps the memory of walking the Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto at 7am virtually alone, ambling through the temples, parks and cherry blossom trees as if we were the only ones on earth. 

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An indulgence I would never forgo is Orfève chocolate. In the past couple of years, good friends of mine in Geneva, François-Xavier Mousin and Caroline Buechler, quit their jobs and went into creating the most amazing chocolate, from bean to bar. They sold their cars, used their savings and bought all the machines. They buy the beans from all over the world and the chocolate is so good I can’t eat any other kind now. From CHF10.30 (about £10); orfeve.com.

My favourite apps include Watchville, which is for watch geeks. It’s an aggregator of all sorts of watch blogs. And I get my news from the app of Swiss newspaper Le Temps. We live in Dubai now, but if I have a minute, I still check the news there and it makes me feel close.

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