Launched in 2013, the second iteration of the Legacy Machine Series, the MB&F LM2, introduced complexity not in the display but in chronometry, something that was actually rather new for Max and his team / friends. Indeed, MB&F watches are usually very complex, but this complexity usually relates more to their unique ways of indicating the time. This LM2 was the reference point for the upcoming watches of the LM Series. Previously released in red gold, white gold and platinum (the latter being a limited edition paired with the usual bright blue dial). Today, MB&F announced the latest version of their dual balance watch, the Legacy Machine LM2, now in Titanium, with vivid green dial… and a few other tweaks to make it even better.
Throwback to the MB&F LM2 Concept
Before going into the LM2, we have to explain the idea behind the Legacy Machine Series of watches, which started with the LM1, and now also includes the LM101 and the LM Perpetual. These watches mark an entirely new era of the brand. Indeed, there are no Sci-Fi / Spaceship inspirations here but rather traditional codes of watchmaking. While being somehow traditional, classical and round, the LM1 doesn’t forget all the codes of MB&F and adds another concept: what would have happened if Max had been born in 1867 instead of 1967? In the early 1900s, the first wristwatches appear and what if he would want to create three-dimensional machines for the wrist. The answer is the LM1. It had to be round, it had to be gold and traditional in the execution, but we’re talking MB&F, so it had to be 3-dimensional and bold.
The 2013 red gold MB&F LM2
The codes of the Legacy Machine Series are: a round and precious case, white lacquered dial and blued hands, use of classical Roman numerals, highly traditional execution and decoration of the movements and a focus on chronometry, depicted by the presence of the balance wheel and the escapement right on top of the dial, floating under a sapphire dome and held in place by a sculptural arch. The LM2 boasted all these codes but integrated something else: complication. However, not for the display or the “beauty of it”. Indeed, it was focusing on a rather old and unexplored idea; the double balance movement.
This watch pays strong tribute to some of the greatest names of watchmaking (Breguet, Berthoud and Janvier), by implementing a rather unusual complication: a double balance wheel. There are two types of dual balance watches. First, the ones based on resonance (with modern versions from Journe or Armin Strom). Both Breguet and Janvier created double regulator timepieces using the phenomena of resonance to average the rate of the two balances. Later, in the 1930s, a few of the very best students at the Watchmaking School of the Vallée de Joux made double regulator pocket watches with the rates of two balances averaged by a planetary differential. This is the concept that Dufour used in the Duality, the first known wristwatch to feature two balances linked by a differential. And this is exactly what MB&F used when creating the LM2.
The 2013 red gold MB&F LM2
One movement, two balance wheels, one planetary differential and one gear train (while resonance watches usually have two separate gear trains). With the LM2, the two balances beat at their natural rate, with the differential supplying the average of the two completely independent frequencies (no use of resonance, each balance is completely independent of the other). The final purpose of this conception is of course to improve accuracy, as variations of one of the balances will tend to be cancelled by those from the second balance, the differential averaging these variations to transmit a more stable rate to the gear train.
The new MB&F LM2 Titanium / Green Dial
What’s new with the MB&F LM2 Titanium? Well first of all, you might have easily guessed that the case is made out of titanium, replacing the precious metals used previously (gold or platinum). Titanium is a metal I do particularly appreciate on a daily basis, for being light, scratch resistant and pleasant when it comes into contact with the skin. Good point for an intensive use of this LM2, as being lighter (not a detail, as the LM2 is not a small watch, at 44mm) and more resistant to daily wear and tear. In the present case, MB&F uses grade 5, thus the bright alloy (not that dark grey grade 2), which can be polished. This leads us to the second evolution… Indeed, there is more than just a new material, because both the shape and the execution of the case have changed.
With this 2017 version, the LM2 introduces a polished bezel (instead of brushed, as the rest of the case) and polished horns. Another good point is the slightly redesigned profile of the case, which shaves of 1 millimeter, making it 19mm thick instead of 20mm in the previous models. It’s not a huge difference, the LM2 remains a thick watch for sure, but it is still a bit of improvement. The rest of the habillage remains identical. Still, evolutions are visible on the dial side too.
The easiest way to spot the titanium version of the MB&F LM2 is of course the color of its dial, now being a vivid blue-green tone. This color is obtained thanks to the same CVD (chemical vapour deposition) technique used for the LM1 M.A.D. Dubai (which showed a strong green tone). This main dial is actually the top plate of the movement, which has been finely engraved, plated and then hand-engraved, but here with constantly changing iridescent hues of green and blue. The only indications, despite the complexity of the movement, are the hours and minutes, still displayed by the milky white lacquered dial, created by applying and heating multiple layers of lacquer, causing them to stretch tightly over the surface of the dial.
The planetary differential is still proudly exposed at 6 but something other than the color has also changed on this dial; the arches that support the balances. Previously sharp and skeletonized like an Eiffel creation, they now boast the same rounded profile as the LM101 and the LM Perpetual, with highly polished surface.
On the back, we still find the same (no modifications) very symmetrical movement, with pleasing curves and large rubies in gold chatons, and still the intensive decoration work done (as defined by Kari Voutilainen when the movement was conceived). Of course, as usual, no balance or escapement to contemplate, still the movement feels lively and extremely desirable under the loupe. Its finishings are proper haute horlogerie. 44 jewels, 241 parts, 45 hours of power reserve are the technical specs of this impressive calibre.
The MB&F Legacy Machine LM2 Titanium is a limited edition of 18 pieces, already available at authorized retailers (for instance, Chronopassion in Paris already has one… see here) and priced at 138,000 Swiss Francs (before taxes), thus slightly less than the gold or platinum versions. More details on mbandf.com.