MBF Legacy Machine LM101 Frost Red Gold Limited Edition - 30 minutes on the wrist
It took me a while, but I am eventually in a position to present you with the first article about MB&F; before releasing such a piece of writing, I needed to both attend Baselworld or to spend a week-end in Geneva, where the MAD Gallery (aka the Mechanical Art Devices) is located. This is the place, where Maximilian Busser, founder of MB&F, has been gathering all his timepieces and a collection of the best mechanical devices by the best designers in the world ever since 2011. The name MB&F is synonymous with high-end watchmaking, a visionary spirit and an unexpected take on watchmaking; a marvellous adventure that started 10 years ago (the company celebrated its 10th anniversary this year), when the brand started to release some time machines that can only be defined as extraordinary, unusual, revolutionary and classic. The Legacy Machine, as its name testifies, is the brand's trademark, it is the product line that reminds us of the Golden Age of watchmaking, a timeframe situated between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, when Breguet lived and most of the watchmaking inventions were crafted.
The Frost dial that gives the name to the MBF Legacy Machine LM101 Frost Red Gold Limited Edition was patented by Breguet during those years and this new edition, crafted 200 years later, pays homage to that achievement or, in the words of Maximilian “this watch represents what I would have created had I lived in those years”. Each Legacy Machine has a mainstream motif: the balance wheel (or the regulating system) and its fine tuning. This has always been every watchmaker's most difficult task to achieve, especially when today's technologies were not yet available. The MBF Legacy Machine LM101 Frost Red Gold Limited Edition is the last chapter of the Legacy Machine collection, where this special concept has been made even more extreme and has been simplified even further.
Two curved mirror-polished bridges (it takes up to five hours to get that special shine) support the big central rhodium plated balance wheel that is equipped with four regulating screws and sits on top of everything else. This particular design has completely revolutionised the idea of hour visualization and parts displacement; the main regulating system was removed from inside the movement and placed on top of the visualization instead. The frost dial cannot be truly regarded as the true dial but is, instead, the main plate of the movement itself, it is a tribute to one of Breguet's patents.
The original process consisted of a chemical treatment of the surface to give the dial a white-silvery effect that protects it from any oxidation process; a special treatment invented when the concept of water resistant cases did not even exist. Today's frost finish by MB&F is made using a delicate brushing mechanical process that gives it a uniform "greneè" appearance.
All in all, the watch features a three-dimensional "dial layout” that is made possible thanks to the use of a slightly cambered sapphire glass, one of the most cambered glasses I've ever seen on a timepiece; its antireflective treatment is so perfect that it seems as if you could touch the balance wheel with your fingertips (when you try to take a picture of it, it is almost impossible to avoid reflections or distorsions!). At 2 o'clock a small counter with blued hands and Roman numerals tells the time, this looks like the porcelain dial that you find when you open a pocket watch's lid. A second counter, located at 6 o' clock, is used to track the Power Reserve.
These two characteristics are linked to a caliber that has been conceived in-house but has then been finished by the famous master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen. It is a tribute to the pocket watches from the 18th century; an almost "low-beat" movement (the balance wheel beats at 2,5Hz) and 23 jewels that are bigger than usual and are used to reduce the friction and thus enhance the durability of the timepiece, the use of one single barrel, instead, ensures up to 45 hours of Power Reserve.
A true beauty and an almost perfect re-interpretation of traditional watchmaking that is encased into a 40mm red gold case and made in just 33 pieces (I have absolutely no info about its price but given the very limited production I guess that they're all gone already!). The MBF Legacy Machine LM101 Frost Red Gold Limited Edition is a winner because it takes traditional watchmaking to the next level; conceptually speaking, everything comes from the past, but every single component has been re-arranged in such a way that it has become something new and never seen before (the view of the bridges from the side through the domed crystal actually reminds me of a spaceshift). This is the real victory that Maximilian has achieved when he created the very first Legacy Machine.
(Photo credit: courtesy of MB&F; Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter