MB&F and their crazy horological machines… Even after 11 years and 12 watches (plus all the special editions), what Max Bûsser and his team and friends achieved still fascinates us. Even the most classical, most rational piece of the collection, the LM101, is far from being an usual suspect. And the latest edition, combining a platinum case with a striking blue dial is not going to change what I think about this specific watch. Overview of the MB&F LM101 in platinum with blue dial.
MB&F started in 2005 and in 2007, the first watch that came like a blast, with a properly unusual look and mechanical movement. This continues until the HM4 but in 2011, the brand went in a completely different direction, introducing a new collection, the Legacy Machines. Vintage-inspired, completely retro-oriented but still fascinatingly out-of-this-world. The LM watches were round and had rather traditional display, with movement focused more on the finishing rather than on the technical achievements. Don’t get us wrong, the LM watches are superb and still have MB&F oil on their gears. After the LM1 and LM2, both large and complex watches, came the LM101, the rational, smaller, “entry-level” watch of the brand, a watch that could even be focused on ladies, or simply being seen as the dress option. At first, some hated it, some screamed, some loved it. Again, MB&F made a talking piece. This was in 2014 and 2 years after its launch, the LM101 is now more than respected and appreciated – of course! Its first evolution came a year after, with the Frost versions and now comes the expected platinum version – and you have to know that it is definitely my favorite.
The MB&F LM collection may not be old, it already comprises 4 watches: the LM1, the LM2, the LM101 and the LM Perpetual – and this, without naming all the special editions, like the Silberstein LM1 or the Frost LM101. And even if still quite young, this collection already has its habits. The LM watches are usually first launched in white or red gold, with grey dials (light grey or anthracite, depending on the editions), with non-limited production. However, the MB&F Legacy Machines are also presented in platinum versions, this time limited (to 18 or 33 pieces) and always fitted with a bright blue dial. This was the case for the LM1 and for the LM2. logically, it’s time for the MB&F LM101 to follow the same road, with its platinum and blue dial edition, limited to 33 pieces.
What I’m about to write is very personal, but I have to admit a huge preference for the platinum editions of the LM watches. I do think the combination of a white metal (I have a preference for white metals, especially in the context of these watches) with this bright, luminous, quite aggressive blue dial is just perfect. For me, the blue dial adds a bit of extravagance to the LM watches, however still playing on cold colors, thus being rather understated. I also think that these blue dials do complement the set of hands (which are made in gold and PVD-coated in blue) and give the dial a lot of depth, simply because the technical elements (in steel or rhodium plated) as well as the milky white dials perfectly detached from the blue plate. It has a special feel, mixing both the vintage look, the technical side of the floating balance wheel and a rather sporty and modern design resulting of this color combination. I actually can’t tell if this watch is perfectly vintage or completely modern… Strange but, to me, very appealing.
Besides this new combination of colors, the MB&F LM101 platinum remains entirely identical technically to its previous sisters, the white gold and red gold editions, introduced just after Baselworld 2014. So it means that we still have this “more reasonable” feel that was so discussed when introduced. In fact, some found the LM101 to be too shy to be called MB&F. On that, after 2 years, I must disagree. I think (and I’m not the only one) that this watch, with its 40mm case, is just a dressier alternative, something easier to wear on a daily basis, which however doesn’t deny its origins. Of course, it’s dial doesn’t show the superb balance of the LM1 (which is still my favorite of the LM watches) but its “unbalance” display makes it quite charming.
The dial shows simply the time (one time-zone) and the power reserve (displayed by a hand and not vertically). However, the beauty of the collection comes from the floating balance wheel, a huge one to be precise, at 14mm in diameter, hold in place by a sculptural arch, with rounded and mirror polished pillars. That alone makes this watch so lively and unique. The rest, meaning the movement, is clearly not to be forgotten. This MB&F LM101 was also important because it was the first timepiece of the brand to come with an in-house conceived movement (with MB&F’s own engineers). Before that, MB&F relied on several “friends” (suppliers and partners) to design and manufacture the movements (assembly was already done in-house).
This movement remains today a real pleasure for the collectors, both technically, visually and layout-wise. First of all, it is rather surprising to see that nothing seems to be missing on the movement side – which is wrong, simply because all the regulating organ is on the dial side. But this movement doesn’t feel empty. Then, the bridges are cut in an old-school, pocket watch-like way, with nice curves and large rubies, some in gold chatons. Finally, the execution, supervised by no less than Kari Voutilainen, is superb: large polished chamfers, polished sinks and screws, Geneva stripes done manually, bevelled wheel-spokes… It is very pleasant.
Of course, with its smaller size and more “standard” display, the MB&F LM101 feels less striking, more conventional than the rest of the machines. However, this restrained attitude also comes with a lot of charm, an appreciable discretion and elegance, still mixed with the DNA of the other Legacy Machines. And that, we love – especially in this very appealing combination of platinum case with blue dial. Of course, the exclusivity has a price: 63,000 Euros (Ex. taxes), for 33 privileged collectors only. mbandf.com.
Specifications of the MB&F LM101
- Case: 40mm diameter x 16mm height – 950 platinum – highly domed sapphire crystal on the front and sapphire crystal on the back – 30m water resistant
- Movement: In house calibre – manual winding – 45h power reserve – 18,000 vibrations/h – off-centered hours and minutes, power reserve, inverted balance wheel
- Strap: black alligator leather strap with 950 platinum pin-buckle