Jean-Charles de Castelbajac Styles the MB&F M.A.D. 1

Dressed in fun colours, the M.A.D.1 "Time to Love".

The first limited edition from MB&F’s affordable sub-brand is the M.A.D.1 “Time to Love”, created in collaboration with French fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, also known as JC/DC. A variant of the standard model endowed with Mr de Castelbajac’s touch – including numerals in his handwriting – the M.A.D.1 “Time to Love” is a 999-piece edition that will be sold via an online raffle.

A designer whose heyday in the 1970s and 1980s saw him collaborate with brands like from Swatch and design a coat made of teddy bears for Madonna, Mr de Castelbajac was most recently artistic director for Benetton. The M.A.D.1 “Time to Love” reflects his trademark colourful and whimsical style.

Initial thoughts

Conceptually and aesthetically, the M.A.D.1 “Time to Love” makes sense. Mr de Castelbajac’s style complements M.A.D. Editions’s affordable, fun brand of watchmaking, making this the most interesting M.A.D.1 edition to date. The fact that it’s a relatively small run of 999 pieces and priced almost the same as the regular version enhances the appeal.

More broadly, the collaboration also chimes with parent brand MB&F’s retro-nostalgia philosophy, where many of its creations are inspired by founder Maximilian Büsser’s youth. According to the brand, “the young Maximilian Büsser was a huge fan, saving up his pocket money for one of the designer’s bathing suits featuring pandas on it”, when Mr de Castelbajac’s brand was at its peak in the 1980s.

Interestingly, there are obvious parallels between this and MB&F’s earlier collaborations with Alain Silberstein – which at the time were the only ones – the watch designer who shares Mr de Castelbajac’s style and who also came of age in the same period. On the one hand, it might be surprising to a casual observer that there’s no M.A.D.1 by Alain Silberstein, but on the other, the seemingly endless recent Alain Silberstein with all sorts of brands likely dissuaded MB&F from doing it again.

So this is a fun, smart creation for relatively little money. But being based on the standard M.A.D.1, this has the same strengths and weaknesses. The design is unusual in its price range and manages to evoke a little of the MB&F magic at a tiny fraction of the price. But the affordability also means this, like the bestselling MoonSwatch, is an inexpensive watch that feels the part, particularly in terms of the case construction and movement.

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

Fun in primary colours

Though based on the standard M.A.D.1, the unique elements of this edition are found throughout the watch. The most obvious being the tri-colour rotor that takes the form of three stylised wings, each lacquered in one of Mr de Castelbajac’s signature colours – red for passion, blue for hope, and yellow for warmth.

Surrounding the rotor is a quote from the designer, “Ce trésor rare et précieux, c’est ta vie. Le temps vole de ses ailes blanches. Tu es le gardien de ton temps”, which translates as “This rare and precious treasure is your life. Time flies with its white wings. You are the guardian of your time”.

Another of his trademark colours, green, is applied to the hours ring. The minute ring is in conventional black, but the typography for hour and minute numerals is actually a reproduction of Mr de Castelbajac’s handwriting.

A less obvious detail is the crown bearing a drawing of an angel talking to the moon, a recurring motif in his designs

The watch is delivered with a pair of straps in white and black, each embroidered with the name of the watch in primary colours.

The rest of the watch is identical to the standard model, which means a steel case containing a Miyota movement with a (very) short power reserve of 21 hours, with the reduction in running time due to the weight of the ring time display.

As for availability, the 999 piece run will be divided into two halves: the first half will be available only to members of the MB&F Tribe, the brand’s club for owners of its watches as well as its “friends”, namely suppliers and business partners. The balance will be available to the public via an online raffle that opens now and runs for two weeks.

The designer’s signature is engraved on the case back

Key Facts and Price

MB&F M.A.D.1 “Time to Love”

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 18.8 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire on the front and mineral glass on the flanks
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Miyota cal. 821A
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 21 hours

Strap: A pair of embroidered straps in white and black leather

Limited edition: 999 pieces
Only from M.A.D. Editions via raffle that is open from April 3 for two weeks
Price: CHF3,200 excluding taxes

For more, visit the M.A.D. 1 “Time to Love” raffle page.


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