Moderator Patrick_y's Favorite: The Best Watch Presentation Boxes; Winner: MB&F

Sep 15, 2020,00:05 AM

The following is WatchProSite Moderator Patrick_y's personal thoughts. 

Okay!  Boxes!  Specifically the original watch boxes some watches come with when they leave the factory.  I'm not referring to aftermarket boxes like Scatola Del Tempo. 

I'm a big fan of beautiful boxes.  I actually collect beautiful cigar humidors despite the fact that I don't smoke.  Boxes and packaging are special to me; well-executed packaging can really elevate the product and show a lot of care went into the product.  So, this all begs the question...  Which watch brand makes the best watch boxes? 

I started my research amongst the big watch brands.  A lot of people really like the current Patek Philippe watch box; a design that Patek Philippe has been using for over a decade.  One Patek Philippe fan was praising the watch so much that he went on and on about the box (it's his first Patek Philippe, and his fanboy rant is now on YouTube).  Does he know that these boxes aren't that special?  But what goes into this watch box?  Where is it made?  How is it made?  These Patek Philippe wood boxes are made in South East Asia.  Why South East Asia?  Partially due to available expertise, existing production infrastructure and capacity, skilled yet inexpensive labor, and to a very small extent the varnishes and toxic chemicals used to make these wood boxes are less regulated in South East Asia.  The boxes are made on efficient jigs in an assembly line process that allows for speed, precision, and quality.  Considering that Patek Philippe buys on average around 60,000+ wood boxes per annum, I'm certain Patek Philippe gets them for a very attractive per unit price!  Other brands outside of Patek Philippe have their boxes made in South East Asia; Panerai's pear wood boxes with the matte exterior are also made in South East Asia. 

But if you're under the assumption that the best watch boxes come from one of those famous brands like Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, or Lange...  Wait until you've seen these...

As the title already conveys, after my extensive research of various watch boxes, I have determined that the best watch boxes come from MB&F.  Congratulations to MB&F!  Here are most of their watch boxes over the years...

Horological Machine 1 had an unusual watch box that came in a messenger bag.  What a cool box! 

HM 2 with its very rectangular case came in a very rectangular watch box! Notice the perlage on the side of the box.

The HM3 came in this super cool box!  Made in high quality metal!  It looks like a UFO.  It looks great parked on a bookshelf!  I'm crazy about this box! 

HM4 Thunderbolt came in this incredible box!  It's a hangar for your jetpack.  This is probably my favorite Horological Machine!

HM5 and HM8 came in this "Garage" where you could park your Horological Machine. 

HM6 Space Invader came in this outer space looking rocket device. This is another box I'm crazy about! 

HM7, the "Jellyfish" watch came in a very appropriate box.  It looks like a diving helmet!  I know I've said this already, but I'm crazy about this box as well.  And the watch is awesome! 

HM8 and HM5 have similar garages! 

HM9 comes in this egg shaped box.  Very elegant and organic, yet modern and cool. 

HM10 Bulldog comes in a super cool box!  This is the box opened.

This is the HM10 Bulldog box closed.  Notice the spike collar and the teeth! 

HMX Comes in a baby stroller!  I thought it'd come in another "garage" like the HM5 and HM8, but nope, it's a stroller for a baby alien! 

Most of the Legacy Machines come in these super cool boxes or some variation of these boxes, but there are some special versions below. 

Xia Hang is a famous Chinese artist who had a collaboration with MB&F.  The watch came with two guardian sculptures! 

The Alain Silberstein Legacy Machine has a box with some nice extra touches. 

The Legacy Machine Thunderdome comes in this really cool presentation easel. 

The Legacy Machine Flying Tourbillon comes in this amazing box. Another one of my favorites! 

Keep in mind, MB&F is not a large manufacturer.  These boxes cost a fortune to produce because they're mostly different between models and they're not made a few dozen units at a time unlike a major company's box where 60,000+ are made in a year.  These boxes are individually made, mostly by hand because it's not cost effective to set up an automated production line when you're only making 50-100 boxes.  I truly applaud Max Busser and his team at MB&F for taking the time not only for making their wonderful Horological and Legacy Machines, but also their INSANE COMMITMENT to delivering VALUE to their clients.  If they spent so much time on the box, imagine how much time they spent on the watch!  I give many thanks to MB&F's attention to detail, the designers have come up with meaningful boxes that are specially created for nearly each and every model of their watches!  Packaging a watch is really something that is overlooked by most manufacturers.  Twenty years ago, even the big brands doled out poor quality boxes as packaging was really just an afterthought.  But as more brands realize that watch collecting is a lifestyle choice, it's nice that these brands realize that the watch box is an enjoyable bonus for watch fans.  We keep these special sculptural boxes on our bookshelves, on our desks, in our offices, in our homes.  These watch boxes are great conversation starters and in the case of these MB&F watch boxes - they're sculptures in their own right.  These MB&F boxes probably have more thought and design going into them than any other major brand's boxes; I wouldn't be surprised if 100+ man hours went into the creation and design of these MB&F boxes, amortized over only 50-100 units that's an insane amount of detail considered.  Take any of the Big Three Swiss brands, I doubt their generic boxes took 100 man hours to design! 

I invite you to share your thoughts about your favorite watch boxes; please share photographs of your favorite box(es) as not all WatchProSite readers have seen the boxes.  And what do you think about these MB&F boxes? 

More posts: Ballon BleuFlying TourbillonMax Busser and Friends

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Comments: view entire thread


Some amazing boxes indeed

 By: George Gently : September 15th, 2020-00:10
makes me like MB&F even more. Thanks for showing. George

I agree with you, boxes are sometimes overlooked and treated as ,, not important,,

 By: Watchonthewrist : September 15th, 2020-00:18
I only collect watches with a box because i think it completes the watch . Like you i think MB

Packaging is important! I still save my cookie tins from those famous French and Japanese cookie companies.

 By: patrick_y : September 15th, 2020-11:13
They're a good memento of delicious cookies! Not that I should be reminded to eat more cookies!

Eye-opening article, Patrick!

 By: mkvc : September 15th, 2020-00:39
I had no idea MB&F were making boxes like that, and they're fascinating.

Wow! True pieces of art and engineering, like their watches!

 By: mrds : September 15th, 2020-01:53
Thanks for this beautiful post, Patrick. I had no idea that MB

Exactly! Truly a lot of thought went into the design of these boxes to create something special and meaningful!

 By: patrick_y : September 15th, 2020-11:16
It's rare for a non owner to be able to appreciate the boxes of these MB&F watches. Since the boxes are never mentioned because there's so much to talk about when it comes to the watch!

Impressed by MB F

 By: Weems@8 : September 15th, 2020-02:20
Do not shock as i say, the MB F boxes are nicer than the watches. Buy the watch, only to get the box. It is hard for PP guys i think to write the truth the PP watch boxes made in huge quantities in an industrial factory somewhere in Asia. Thinking the box...  

I agree with you...

 By: India Whiskey Charlie : September 15th, 2020-07:49
A box only needs to be a reasonable package and I would much rather pay a bit less and get a watch in something simple. After all, the box often finds itself in a closet or a storage facility. This is the package my AP ROO Alinghi Team came in. I haven't ...  

At a watch store

 By: Weems@8 : September 15th, 2020-09:09
I always have a surprise moment when i buy a watch. Admire the watch, put it in my wrist. Than, o yes here is a watch box. ow, forget it almost. 1. Looking at my new watch, enjoying. 2. Control specs, papers, inspect conditions. 3. Were to go with that bi... 

You are right my friend! Practically speaking, a box isn't that important.

 By: patrick_y : September 15th, 2020-11:26
That Alinghi box is super cool! And it looks exactly like a winch on a sail boat! You should put this winch on a bookshelf where it can be admired (and a functional bookend), not in the back of a closet!


 By: Weems@8 : September 15th, 2020-11:50
Great Alinghi box were the impressive AP RO OS came in. Bajonet connection. And which locking i am in the clouds? Answer is Naiad lock, done by Omega.

We need to have a new competition! Best smelling watch box!

 By: patrick_y : September 15th, 2020-11:23
Yes indeed! It is indeed difficult for a Patek Philippe collector to acknowledge that the box is made in some industrial factory in South East Asia! The Jacob & Co. Astronomia watch presentation box is indeed amazing with its little TV. Longevity and reli... 

Beautiful workmanship

 By: chintu : September 15th, 2020-02:21
The boxes are art pieces in themselves. And you are right to point out that these are handmade and would need easily 100+ hours of work. And you have put all these boxes in one collection, which is a treat to the eye. My only wish is that MB&F should make... 

They are indeed beautiful pieces!

 By: patrick_y : September 15th, 2020-11:30
Many of these boxes have parts that are individually cast or CNCed. I'm fairly confident that initial design and prototyping would take over 100 hours of work. Although subsequent boxes would take less once the design was finalized. Full disclosure, the b... 

Impressive and artistic in their own right, excellent job by MB&F! It’s hard however to compare boxes made for a few watches with those made for 60k+...

 By: FabR : September 15th, 2020-04:11
Besides that, in the example of Patek, their boxes (which I find elegant) have to contain a...Patek!😇Most Pateks would look ridiculous if presented inside an MB&F box, and vice versa..😉 But there’s no doubt that if I had to buy some modern artwork for... 

I totally agree about the Patek Philippe boxes...

 By: patrick_y : September 15th, 2020-11:32
I want to make it very clear that I don't dislike the current Patek Philippe boxes. They're done well! And yes, containing a Patek Philippe is definitely very nice! Watch and watch box have a good symbiosis!

100% agree!

 By: Spencer Karrington : September 15th, 2020-05:52
I always have found it, disappointing, when watch manufacturers "forget" to create a box that presents the amazing watch in a special way. For me, the box is like the curtain or the theatre to a play. While a good play could be held in any place theoritic... 


 By: patrick_y : September 15th, 2020-11:34
A good theater is extremely important! Certain plays cannot be performed well if the theater isn't shaped/designed a certain way. A good box is also like having good seats. Sometimes I have to sit in the "bad seats" to some operas where I'm on the third f... 

Exactly and lolz...

 By: Spencer Karrington : September 16th, 2020-07:55
Love your seat analogy ! Please post some more pictures of good box designs!!

One of my boxes on display in my living room..

 By: janef : September 15th, 2020-06:12
I find especially children are fascinated and have interest in playing with it.. it is quite heavy since it is made of metal and to open/close the cover can be finicky at times.. nonetheless it is a piece of art. Thank you sharing a very interesting topic...  

I'm a full adult and even I want to play with that box!

 By: patrick_y : September 15th, 2020-11:36
I have to restrain myself and count to three! Thank you for sharing this picture!

Something at the opposite end of the scale

 By: jml_watches : September 15th, 2020-07:11
Hi Those are amazing, do they have a box for them?! At a slightly cheaper price point , Swatch do some inventive boxes. A Swatch I mainly bought for the case it came in! Cheers JML ...  

Swatch does a really good with their boxes across the board...

 By: patrick_y : September 15th, 2020-11:40
The Longines Legends diver watch I like comes in a nice box. This Swatch you have comes in an amazing dinosaur box! The Blancpain and Breguet wood boxes are truly high quality (and some are even made in Europe, not South East Asia). Swatch does a really g... 

These are "outside the box" designed boxes

 By: Uncle Chico : September 15th, 2020-07:45
I wouldn't hesitate to give these their own display area.

Well said! Outside The Box ideas for Watch Presentation Boxes!

 By: patrick_y : September 15th, 2020-11:40
I wished I had all of them and displayed them all on a shelf!

Additional wacky boxes come from IKEPOD

 By: cazalea : September 15th, 2020-10:09
Here's one of my favorites - a giant suede-covered rubber frisbee (sorry for the lint) It came with the center watch - the world time day date alarm Cazalea ...  

Very cool! When I was writing this article I was thinking about your Urwerk flask!

 By: patrick_y : September 15th, 2020-11:53
That Urwerk flask! What an amazing and cool thing! It's not a watch presentation box, but what an amazing whiskey presentation flask! Back to the Ikepod... I always thought Ikepod was a powerhouse when it came to design. There's a lot of architecture and ... 

I am in the process of building a 100% hand made box for my watches. Is taking a long time but when it is done I think I will have a nice watch holder. Also building a wall clock.

 By: doubleup : September 15th, 2020-12:18
I think wooden boxes are by far the hardest, most all the metal in these awesome Urwerk presentation boxes is CNC, but when you cut wood you can never add back to it if you are off and take too much. I have never seen a Patek box in the flesh but imagine ... 

They all go into a closet...

 By: patrick_y : September 15th, 2020-12:24
Most boxes are tagged with their model numbers and go into a closet. Some exceptionally sculptural boxes like MB&F boxes end up on bookshelves, fireplace mantles, and as decorations. Can't wait to see your box! Please share with us your creation once it's... 

Great topic!

 By: jleno : September 15th, 2020-15:20
I'm always a fan of elaborate boxes. Most people buy a watch without considering the box, so it speaks well for a brand that goes out of their way to provide a nice one. Completely agree that MB&F's boxes are likely the best out there, and very fittin... 

Kari does have some nice wood boxes.

 By: patrick_y : September 16th, 2020-10:15
I'm not sure I've seen Kari's newest wood boxes. But his watches from several years ago came with nice wood boxes. Not impressively large, but nice quality. Breguet makes a lot of beautiful wood boxes and many of them are well made in Europe with ultra th... 

Gorgeous photos. Thanks for sharing!

 By: patrick_y : September 17th, 2020-13:05
I'm familiar with most of the Kari Voutilainen boxes, and they truly are exquisite and were definitely in my consideration for this "award." You're right of course, I can't think of few other brands with boxes as beautiful as Kari's. Kari definitely does ... 

Searching more info on boxes...

 By: jleno : September 20th, 2020-11:47
I found this article from A Collected Man that's worth a read: I didn't know anything about Roger Smith's boxes, so it was interesting to see his. Very nice as well! And looking at the website for David Linley, it looks like ... 

These photos seem to imply they were provided by MB&F - is that the case?

 By: BigFatPauli : September 16th, 2020-05:51
They are excellent and thank you for sharing!!

Yes. These photos are stock photos from MB&F.

 By: patrick_y : September 16th, 2020-10:13
I was going to use a couple of my own pics for some of them, but the "stock photos" from MB&F were better! But the post was entirely my idea; I didn't have photographs of every single box, so I had to ask for some photos from MB&F directly. I happen to li... 

Knowing Busser a little bit...

 By: BigFatPauli : September 16th, 2020-13:09
I don't suspect "crazy" is an adjective that comes to mind at all! As a very big MB&F fan, I really appreciate you putting this together and sharing it. Boxes are a bit like secret knowledge in that they are often not photographed so only the owners know ... 

You're right!

 By: patrick_y : September 17th, 2020-13:01
You're right, the team at MB&F already know that I'm a little "crazy" over their products, and compared to their clients, I'm probably very normal! Looks like I've found a crowd where I'm the normal one. The boxes are definitely a secret and not often see... 

Amazing the amount of design that went into them

 By: nwk00 : September 16th, 2020-18:26
Usually I dislike boxes but these, they can go on the display shelves. And the watch experience will be poorer if the owners don't have the original boxes.

Love this thread

 By: : September 16th, 2020-19:06
I actually have started buying old vintage watch boxes Recently found this one for one of my princes Made in 1941 Here are are some others Cheaper than buying watches- sometimes !!!!! Cheap ...  

Wow! What a nice box collection!

 By: patrick_y : September 17th, 2020-12:57
Those Rolex Prince boxes are quite interesting!

I love MB [nt]

 By: CGJ0 : September 17th, 2020-14:14

He is an incredible person! [nt]

 By: patrick_y : September 17th, 2020-17:46

No worries! [nt]

 By: patrick_y : September 18th, 2020-23:02