It’s now official following Max Büsser’s visit on November 4: the first MB&F Lab in Europe has just opened in Paris at 271 rue St Honoré. This address is very well known to watch enthusiasts since it is that of Chronopassion. In fact, this opening is the logical outcome of the long relations that unite Max Büsser and Laurent Picciotto and I think that there could not be a better place to house this Lab. I use the term “Lab” because I have a little trouble qualifying the MB&F Lab in Paris otherwise. It is certainly a boutique in which lovers of independent watchmaking can discover the latest creations from MB&F. But not only since other watchmaking or watchmaking-related objects or artist’s creations will also be available. It is better to consider the MB&F Lab as a place that facilitates diving into a universe of creativity in which Max Büsser’s sensitivity is expressed. It totally joins that of Laurent Picciotto.
Laurent Picciotto was a precursor who greatly contributed to the development of independent watchmaking by ensuring its promotion, exhibition and commercial relay within the Chronopassion boutique for many years. The first Horological Machine was sold in Paris for this purpose. What has always fascinated Laurent Picciotto is to offer his customers a playful, inventive watchmaking offer, located at the antipodes of the beaten track. And the two friends could only join on this ground because Max Büsser had also contributed to the emergence of independent watchmaking thanks to Harry Winston’s Opus collection and to the exploration of new creative and daring territories with the Horological MB&F machinery.
The MB&F Lab therefore symbolizes the convergence of these two paths. You will surely wonder why it is an MB&F Lab and not a MAD Gallery like in Geneva? I would provide two answers. First of all, the focus remains on MB&F and the watchmaking dimension predominates. Then, given the size of the place, there was no room to manage the entire MAD Gallery offer, including the volume products that can be found there. The MB&F Lab wants to be more exclusive and that makes sense given its location. The spirit, however, remains the same since the selection of mechanical creations will be regularly renewed. There is therefore no risk of stiffening!
One thing is certain: the MB&F Lab in Paris is an architectural success that somehow recalls a kind of small metro station. Everything has been done to create a friendly place in which there is a different atmosphere so that a big child has the impression of entering a pastry shop with relish. The light rendering, the optimization of the organization of space, the objects and works that decorate the walls, all the details have been carefully thought out so that the visitor finds himself immersed in this mechanical and imaginative universe.
The opening of the MB&F Lab is in any case excellent news for all parties. For Max Büsser first, because it will increase MB&F’s visibility with a more diversified, even more local, clientele. Then for Laurent Picciotto, because it reaffirms his status as a great honcho of independent watchmaking. Then for the watchmaking place of Paris because this singular place adds a diversity of the welcome offer. Finally, for watch enthusiasts who have definitely been very spoiled in recent weeks with the start of the quasi-joint activities of the MB&F Lab and the new Cartier boutique on rue de la Paix. Two places which are opposed but which pursue the same goal: that of offering the best experience to customers who cross their thresholds.