Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

MB&F Legacy Machine 1

| By Frank Geelen | 3 min read |

After 4 Horological Machines that shook up the watch industry and watch aficionados alike, Max Busser and his Friends come with something entirely different. Not a Horological Machine number 5… it is the Legacy Machine 1!

When you look at this watch, images of Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” come to mind. Steampunk, but designed in a much more classical style than any of the Horological Machines. The new MB&F Legacy Machine is a timepiece we can look at for hours and hours….

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According to MB&F the Legacy Machine 1 pays tribute to the grand master of the Golden Era, the 18th and 19th century. Simply look at the dials and you’ll see what they mean. The two dials are slightly domed with a high-gloss finish, created using a laque tendue process in which multiple layers of lacquer are applied and heated, causing them to stretch over the surface of the dials. The dial with traditional Roman numerals, is held in place by a fine golden perimeter, which also reinforces the timeless classic looks. And so do the bright blue gold hands.

But here comes the part that will work mesmerizing… The balance wheel and spring are at the very heart of any mechanical watch movement and are responsible for regulating timekeeping accuracy. A large and slowly oscillating (18,000 bph) balance wheel can have a hypnotizing effect and it’s entirely different than a modern balance beating at 28,800 bph or even 36,000 bph. Because the balance wheel is positioned above the dial, it’s always visible and with its slow movement it will do its hypnotizing work.

Balance wheels of antique pocket watches used to be large in comparison to modern  balance wheels that beat at a higher frequency. The larger the balance wheel the bigger the inertia, which improves the watch’s rate. The balance wheel of the Legacy Machine 1 (let’s call it LM1) is 14 mm in diameter, which is really big! It features four traditional regulating screws and a traditional Breguet overcoil ending in a mobile stud holder.

Although the position of the large balance wheel might be considered avantgarde, the way the balance wheel is kept in place can be called outright steampunk inspiration. Especially with the two extremely classical lacquered dials. And what to think of the world’s first vertical power reserve indicator?


Another very special feature of the LM1 movement is the ability to set the two time zones completely independently. The vast majority of dual time zone movements only allow the hours to be independently adjusted, a rare few offer setting to the half hour. Legacy Machine No.1 allows both hours and minutes of each dial to be set to whatever time the user wishes. When traveling to most time zones this might not be the most desirable option, however when you like to visit Nepal (GMT + 4 3/4 h.) it’s just perfect 🙂

Besides the in our opinion drop-dead gorgeous design (yes, MB&F did it again!) the movement is also jaw-dropping. No wonder if you consider nobody less than Kari Voutilainen is responsable for movement design and finish specifications. Kari Voutilainen is considered to be one of the best watchmakers in the world and the movement of LM1 is the first calibre other than Voutilainen’s own to bear his name.

The bridges are finished with Geneva stripes and set with highly-polished gold chatons. Of course the bridges are beveled by hand, which showcase the movement’s absolutely peerless fine-finishing. Jean-François Mojon and his team at Chronode (Best Watchmaker Prize at the 2010 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève) developed the movement from scratch and the movement proudly bears the names of both its creators.

The LM1 measures 44 mm in diameter and is available in red gold and white gold. The price will be 79,000 CHF + local tax which we consider quite reasonable  for such a  three-dimensional objet d’art! Max Busser did it again… with help from his Friends.

More information can be found at the MB&F website and official Facebook page.

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