What could a ‘reasonably priced’ MB&F look like? We cannot hide the fact that in Baselworld 2014, we’ve seen some downsizing, less daring novelties and a decrease of prices. Even URWERK, not known to be shy when creating watches, has presented its ‘value proposition’ called UR-105. And it’s a pure interpretation of the brand’s DNA: technical, audacious and totally avant-garde. It’s just a bit more rational. And Max Büsser and his friends did the same with their latest creation – the new MB&F Legacy Machine 101. Behold, it’s far from being boring and brings some very interesting technical aspects with all the design codes of the Legacy collection – the Legacy Machine 1 and Legacy Machine 2. And for the first time, it is equipped with an in-house movement!
The MB&F Legacy Machine 101 is clearly in the same vein as the previous models in the LM collection, meaning watches that could have been created by MB&F some hundred years ago. What do we mean by that?
- A three dimensional layout with several layers on the dial (and we’re not talking about several layers of a dial to create a three-dimensional effect)
- A HUGE balance wheel floating on the top of the dial, held in position by a double arched bridge
- Off-centred sub-dials for the hours/minutes and power reserve indication, made of translucent white lacquer and with blued-gold hands
- A clever system to hide, under the dial, the gears between the escapement and the gear train, creating an virtual absence of the link between the regulation organ and the time indication
- A highly domed sapphire crystal on the top of the watch
- A very unique feeling of steampunk and neo-vintage
What’s new in the LM101? First thing that you’ll notice is the very classical and wearable size of 40mm. When all the MB&F Legacy Machines are 44mm, this one is sized for daily use and can also be worn by women. It could be seen as a detail but considering the spirit of the brand, it’s an important move that brings them into the real world and not only into concept watches.
The indications on the dial are also more classical with an off centre single time zone sub-dial and a traditional display of the power reserve. For the rest, it is clearly a Legacy Machine. And the smaller diameter emphasis the size of the extremely large – measuring 14mm in diameter – balance wheel that pops out in the middle of the dial. The baseplate of the movement is always used as main dial and offers a sunray pattern. The balance wheel bridge is made of a single piece of steel and finish by hand to obtain a mirror polish. That looks great, however is also very time consuming and you need skilled craftsmen. The case’s design remains the same with its fully brushed finish (available in 18K white or red gold), its short and curved lugs and the crown positioned at 4 o’clock.
Movement and finishing
The main novelty of the LM101 is its movement, that is, for the first time, entirely developed and assembled in-house. Of course the concept of friends is always here, as Kari Voutilainen was consultant for the design of the movement and finishing specifications.
You will without a doubt immediately recognise the work of Kari Voutilianen, with these specific curved bridges, huge bevelled angles and oversized jewels in gold chatons. The movement is adorned with Geneva stripes and hand engravings of the creators and friends’ names. And even if it’s close to the previous calibre of the LM1, it is an entirely new movement. A BIG step forward for Max Busser and his Friends.
The movement boasts a 45-hour power reserve and beats at a slow 18,000vph (2.5Hz) in order to enjoy the ballet of the balance wheel on the top of the dial and also to be more coherent with the vintage spirit of the collection. And as expecting from MB&F and Kari Voutilainen, the finishing and design of this new engine is amazing.
On the Wrist
What makes the LM101 a ‘reasonable proposition’ from MB&F? Except the 40mm diameter, it is clearly a watch coming out of Max Büsser and his friends’ minds. Nothing is classical when looking at the dial and you’ll find every aspect that creates the very unique feeling when wearing a legacy machine: steampunk/neo-vintage look, unusual layout of the dial, floating balance wheel. It has just become wearable on a daily basis, even for men with smaller wrists and ladies. With its usual size and the curved lugs, the watch wears very comfortable. However, considering the floating balance wheel and the domed crystal on the top, the watch is still 16mm high and will not immediately fit under cuffs.
The price makes it more reasonable too, as it’s the ‘cheapest’ of all the MB&F at a price of CHF 52.000. When we came at Baselworld, the MB&F team told us they had created a value proposition, a reasonable watch, something very wearable. We were scared. But when looking at what they’ve created, the overall interpretation and the in-house movement, we can only encourage such ‘classicism’.
- Movement: Three-dimensional horological movement developed in-house by MB&F, Aesthetical design and finish specifications by Kari Voutilainen. Manual winding with single mainspring barrel, Power reserve: 45 hours. Balance wheel: Bespoke 14mm balance wheel with four traditional regulating screws floating above the movement and dials. Balance spring: traditional Breguet curve terminating in mobile stud holder, Balance frequency: 18,000 vph (2.5Hz), 229 components, 23 Jewels, Gold chatons with polished countersinks
- Case: Available in 18k red gold or 18k white gold. Dimensions: 40mm wide x 16mm high.
- Functions: Hours, minutes and power reserve indicator. Large suspended balance wheel over dial
- Crystals: High domed sapphire crystal on top and box sapphire crystal on back, both with anti-reflective coating on both sides
More info: www.mbandf.com