At MB&F, everything started in 2005, with the HM1, followed by 3 other HM watches. From this inaugural piece to 2011, MB&F was all about radical Horological Machines. Sci-Fi design, unusual displays, über-complex movements, organic or space-like shapes… Nothing was traditional. But in 2011, Max Büsser and his friends launched a surprisingly classical watch (relatively-speaking…), a watch that, over the ensuing 6 years, would become a best-seller for the brand. This watch was the LM1 and soon, its production will stop. No time for sad feelings though, as MB&F is having a farewell party instead, with the LM1 Final Edition, a steel / brown dial version.
Throwback to the MB&F LM1
In 2011, after the HM1, HM2, HM3 and HM4, all of them radical, unusual, non-traditional watches, with complex shapes and displays like no other, Max decided to explore new territory. What some could have viewed as a complete break in the lineage was more to be seen as a necessary evolution. While being somehow traditional, classical… and round (yes, simply round), the LM1 doesn’t lose MB&F’s codes, instead it plays with a new 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 wanted to create three-dimensional machines for the wrist, but there are no Grendizers, Star Wars or fighter jets for his inspiration. But he does have pocket watches, the Eiffel Tower and Jules Verne. 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 also had to be 3-dimensional and bold.
A red gold version of the MB&F LM1 – here the Xia Hang version, with micro-sculpture for the power reserve
Despite the round case, some of MB&F’s codes can be easily recognized: the 3D conception with a large floating balance wheel held by a skeletonized arch (thanks Mister Eiffel), the dual display of the time with still something of a steampunk inspiration. The rest however uses the codes of antique watchmaking, with a classical complication – a two time-zones display, however totally independent – and a power reserve – but a vertically positioned one. The back of the watch reveals a movement done in accordance with traditional haute horlogerie, with Geneva stripes, large and shiny polished bevels, gold chatons… again, we’re far from the idea of the Horological Machines. The movement was conceived by Jean-François Mojon (Chronode) and the decoration was supervised by no less than Kari Voutilainen.
The result of the LM1 is a watch that dramatically changed the perception of MB&F watches by collectors. it was the necessary evolution of the brand, that enabled it to move a further step forward, without losing its roots. Collectors applauded the idea, as the LM1, in all versions – white gold, red gold, platinum or titanium, with grey, anthracite, blue or green dial, with Roman numerals or Arabic-Hindi numerals, in a collaboration with Chinese artist Xia Hang or with legend Alain Silberstein – was produced in no less than 435 examples over 6 years, making it the second most produced / sold watch of the brand (after the HM3).
The MB&F LM1 Final Edition
However, as you might know by now, Max doesn’t like to follow the crowd but rather he does things on his own terms. For him, every good story has an end and it’s better to stop while you’re on top rather than try to fix what is about to die. Some say, don’t fix what ain’t broke… MB&F says says farewell party! So now, it is celebration time, and the star of the night will be the LM1 Final Edition, a version of the now-iconic watch with some notable evolutions – and I bet that it will sell like hot cakes…
For the occasion, the LM1 dressed up in its most stylish fashions. While not visible at first sight, the main novelty in this LM1 Final Edition comes from the case… and its commoner material. While the LM1 has mostly been crafted in precious metals (white gold, red gold or platinum, to the exception of the titanium version for Dubai), this farewell version is stainless steel. It would have been difficult to offer more than platinum to celebrate the end of the story, so MB&F decided to go in opposite direction and to offer its most traditional watch in the less noble metal – and admittedly, stainless steel is hot these days. But steel will remain the exception at MB&F, making it even more collectible. One small difference is also to note on the finishing side: the bezel and the top of the lugs are now polished instead of brushed (just like the new LM2 Titanium).
The LM1 Final Edition inaugurates a new color for MB&F, a dark chocolate-brown tone with metallic reflections. The base-plate of the dial, which actually is the main-plate of the movement, is dark chocolate – Max pinpointed it at 85-percent dark chocolate – but it is still wearing the white lacquer dials with Roman numerals and blued hands. Thanks to its snailed-brushing, the watch plays with the light and changes from warm grey to deep brown, adding some warmth to the cold steel case. The vertical power reserve is still in place and so is the main attraction, the floating balance wheel.
Yet, some evolutions are to note here too, as the LM1 Final Edition features a new balance bridge, cambered and tapered in the style introduced with the LM101, LM Perpetual and LM2 Titanium. No more skeletonized arches, but now some round pillars with a massively desirable (and properly complex to achieve) mirror polish. The large 14mm balance and the escapement are still beating though, creating a mesmerizing ballet.
The back of the MB&F LM1 Final Edition shows no evolutions compared to the standard versions. The movement is still decorated in a superb, haute-horlogerie way: large polished angles, continuous Geneva stripes, massive jewels and polished gold chatons, beveled wheel spokes, polished screws… You can feel the influence of Voutilainen here. And as usual with the LM1, the absence of regulating organ on the back is never problematic and nothing seems to lack.
The MB&F LM1 Final Edition is worn on a dark brown alligator strap with steel pin-buckle. It will be a limited edition of 18 pieces only, which will retail for CHF 79,000 / USD 79,000 (Ex. taxes). Clearly, with this Final Edition, the LM1 leaves stage by the front door, with all due honors. And now, it arouses even more our curiosity for the future Legacy Machines to come. Because the story won’t stop here, believe us… www.mbandf.com.
Technical Specifications – MB&F LM1 Final Edition
- Case: 44mm diameter x 16mm height – stainless steel, polished and brushed – 65 parts – sapphire crystal on both faces
- Movement: Exclusive Three-dimensional movement, developed by Chronode – manual wind – 2.5Hz frequency – 45h power reserve – twin-independent time display, power reserve indicator
- Strap: dark brown alligator strap with steel pin buckle
- Reference: LM1 Final Edition – 18-piece limited edition
- Price: CHF 79,000 (ex. VAT)