Located at the foot of Geneva’s historic old town quarter and literally a few steps away from the MB&F head office and atelier, the M.A.D Gallery is so much more than your average mono-brand watch boutique.


A few years back when there wasn’t a single watch store offering MB&F’s creations in the horological capital of Geneva, Max Büsser decided to create an exclusive space where his eponymous brand’s watches can be admired (and acquired). But MB&F isn’t your average watch brand, and Max Büsser is certainly not a conformist. Instead of simply creating yet another watch boutique in Geneva, Max decided to go a step further and create an actual art gallery.


The M.A.D. Gallery (acronym for Mechanical Art Devices) is a space where horology meets the world of kinetic art, making the MB&F collection feel right at home. Like any true art gallery, the M.A.D. Gallery is constantly evolving with new exhibitions and art objects; ranging from photographic prints and novelty party machines to kinetic sculptures and trinkets. In short, this is a place that should appeal to the true horophile; a lover of all things kinetic.

In fact there was so much to see that I decided one post simply wouldn’t be enough…


Upon entering the white brick-walled gallery, I was greeted by two lamps or “Light Machines” by German designer and manufacturer Frank Buchwald.  Frank painstakingly hand-makes about 10 lamps a year and there’s something inherently sci-fi about about his work; with a touch of industrial-goth that has the same appeal to me as a Rick Owens jacket.



During the time of my visit, there was a special exhibition for Laikingland at the M.A.D. gallery (in fact this is the first-ever Laikingland exhibition in Switzerland) with the show-stopper being their A.W.E (Automatic Winding Engine), a unique robotic arm commissioned by the M.A.D. gallery, which serves as both a unique display case as well as a watch winder. The A.W.E. is analogue in its operation and control, and that’s what makes it so darn fascinating. it’s the marriage of old and new technologies; from the cam-driven motors, gearboxes and sensors to the 3D-printed elbow and the hand-sculpted forearm that make it an automaton of our time.



Laikingland is a UK & Netherlands based creative label founded by artist Martin Smith and engineer Nick Regan, who collaborate with various designers and artisans to bring creative (and often unique) kinetic objects. Aside from the A.W.E, several other playful Laikingland’s creations were on display, like the “Party Popper”, a machine that assists in the firing of- you guessed it- party poppers. This is one way to take a penthouse party to the next level!


In the same celebratory theme, Laikingland also produces the “Applause Machine” which I don’t think requires much explaining. Basically, it does the clapping for you with the push of a button.



Reminiscent of “Thing” from the The Addams Family and a homage to automatons of centuries past, The Laikingland “Fingers Mk III” takes the form of a life-sized human hand and reproduces a tapping motion with four fingers. This was one of my absolute favorites.


From Laikingland’s more poetic side comes “Story Time”, which is basically a wooden board with moving gears and a fabric belt inscribed with a story, rolled from start to end over a 24 hour period. The buyer can choose different stories to be, umm, read.




For those looking for something perhaps more horologically relevant, I present Laikingland’s “Just About Now”. Think of it as a countdown timer, where an open hourglass causes the gong to be struck when it runs out of sand. Pretty amazing what you can do with just sand and a bit of gravity!



How about a kinetic candle lantern? Laikingland’s “Light a Moment” houses a candle in a geometric angular lantern that is mirrored on the interior and see-through from the exterior. The aperture and its angle can be adjusted by the crank on the side. I didn’t see it with a  burning candle, but I can imagine the visual effect being nothing short of spectacular.


Of course a visit to the M.A.D. Gallery wouldn’t be complete without a few MB&F watches. I’ll save the hands-on  photos for individual reviews, but here are some of the watches (or Horological Machines) they have in store. First up, the Sarpaneva infused Moon Machine



An exploded view of the HM5’s innards. The mirrored sapphire crystal alone deserves a prize.


And the Legacy Machine 1 in all its 3-dimensional glory.


M.A.D. Gallery is also the first retailer in Geneva to carry the current “it” watch brand that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, SevenFriday. They certainly fit in well with the kinetic art theme.


And that concludes the Part 1 of my M.A.D. Gallery visit. Stay tuned for more kinetic objects and art pieces, as well as The Horophile’s first-ever video showcasing some of these objects in action.

More information at www.mbandf.com/mad-gallery/