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‘Don’t market – generate an emotional response,’ says Max Busser, founder of MB&F

‘Don’t market – generate an emotional response,’ says Max Busser, founder of MB&F

Maximilian Büsser is a rebel. There is no other word to describe the man at the helm of one of the most successful, coveted and inspirational brands within independent watchmaking. Launched in 2005, MB&F (Maximilian Büsser & Friends) turns traditional watchmaking into futuristic and fiercely unconventional timekeeping machines, that are like nothing ever seen before.

Maximilian Büsser is a rebel. There is no other word to describe the man at the helm of one of the most successful, coveted and inspirational brands within independent watchmaking.

Launched in 2005, MB&F (Maximilian Büsser & Friends) turns traditional watchmaking into futuristic and fiercely unconventional timekeeping machines, that are like nothing ever seen before. Priced at between AED200,000 and AED1.5 million, MB&F is a luxury brand that has amassed a cult following.

So how did Büsser take his brand from obscurity to global dominance in 15 years?

His complete disregard for “trends”, or the conventions of traditional watchmaking has a lot to do with it: “I don’t want to create something thinking people will like it, because then I feel like I’m selling out,” Büsser says. And it is precisely this creative independence that has helped build a die-hard following for the brand. The MB&F clients are “people who don’t care what other people think of them. And in world of luxury where status is so important, the MB&F client stands apart”, he adds.

Boasting an incredible reputation of being innovative and pushing the boundaries of watchmaking, MB&F has emerged as a force of change within a strongly traditional industry and Busser credits the importance of being able to “generate an emotional response” as one of the key factors. “Why are you wearing a round boring watch? Wear something that actually generates adrenaline in you…you feel you’re alive…why are you wearing something that doesn’t make you happy?” he asks.

But most importantly, Büsser underscores the need to be authentic and cautions in the use of marketing spins or gimmicks: “Don’t market – be yourself. Tell them (your audience) why you do what you do, tell them your story. Don’t try to package damaged goods and make it look cool.”

His biggest lesson throughout this journey? “Treat people the way you want to be treated – but don’t expect from others what you are ready to give.”

However, if you’re a budding entrepreneur, that’s not enough. He highlights the importance of two critical factors. “You are virtually nothing without a network of people who believe in you” and the fact that: “Failure is necessary. You need to fail; you need to make mistakes. You don’t learn from success – success is an incredibly dangerous drug. When you become successful you start believing you’re indestructible”.

While the rise of MB&F is nothing less than extraordinary, it is the creative force behind the brand that is the real catalyst to its success. In an age where style trumps substance and marketing supersedes reality, Busser’s call for authentic expression is resonating with a legion of fans and creating a new generation of watch lovers.

Zaib Shadani is the MD of Shadani Consulting and host of “The Comms Room” show.
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