In October 2011, people thought they knew what MB&F stood for. Four Horological Machines had been launched, each one more audacious than the last. MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser decided it was time to do something different – again. How does one go about disrupting a habit of iconoclasm? By turning to history, but not a history that we recognised. The MB&F Horological Machines came from an imagined future, so it was only natural that the Legacy Machines drew from an imagined past. Expressed differently: what would MB&F have created a century ago, during the golden age of watchmaking?
As always with MB&F, the Legacy Machine No1 movement was the result of collaboration – in this case with two exceptional Friends, two horology stars as talented as they are different: Jean-François Mojon, known for his innovative engineering, and Kari Voutilainen, a living legend of classic watchmaking.
LM1 featured a round case – a first for MB&F – along with white lacquered dials, blued hands, and a hallucinatory “flying” balance wheel, plucked from its expected rear-mounted location and suspended like a sky-hovering extra-terrestrial visitor, oscillating under a domed crystal. While Horological Machines 1 through 4 were exuberant flights of imagination, Legacy Machine N°1 was a triumph of reimagination. By harnessing the design conventions of traditional watchmaking to form this singularly defiant configuration of a watch movement, LM1 turned out to be MB&F’s most subversive creation since the company’s inception in 2005.
The mesmeric spectacle of the suspended balance became a conceptual and mechanical leitmotiv that defined the Legacy Machine collection — illustrating how a watch could simultaneously be a part of and apart from traditional watchmaking.
Those familiar with MB&F’s very first Legacy Machine will instinctively know how LMX operates. Two dials of stretched white lacquer, each with its own display of hours and minutes. The dial on the right is set by the crown at the 2 o’clock position, which bears an engraving of the MB&F battle-axe and also winds the movement. The crown at 10 o’clock, engraved with a globe to acknowledge the potential use of a second time zone, sets the time of the left dial. Unlike the first Legacy Machines however, both dials are tilted at an angle – a more complex feature present on the most recent Legacy Machines, requiring the transfer of energy from horizontal to vertical planes thanks to conical gears.
While the first few Legacy Machines took a selective approach to what was showcased between dial plate and sapphire crystal dome, later models such as LM Perpetual, LM FlyingT and LM Thunderdome were more open and demonstrative about their mechanical prowess. LMX follows this latter approach, revealing functional elements such as the battle-axe-shaped escapement bridge and gear-train components. Three large wheels are particularly visible: placed next to each winding crown, two are set in motion when setting the time on the corresponding time display, while the gear at 6 o’clock is the common seconds’ wheel.
Of particular note is the new bespoke balance wheel, a 13.4mm behemoth with inertia blocks that marks a departure from the more traditional screwed balances and offers greater accuracy to the watchmaker in regulating the heart of LMX. Other refinements include the polished arms of the straight bridges exposed on the dial plate, manually finished to impart a curved, or bercé, profile on their upper surfaces.
In another nod to the world-first vertical power reserve indicator of Legacy Machine No1, LMX builds on this slice of MB&F history, with a completely novel three-dimensional display that showcases the engine’s impressive seven days (168 hours) of power reserve. In this evolved display, there is the option to select between two modes of counting down the power reserve. Two markers are positioned on opposite sides of a hemisphere; one framed by an arched scale numbered 1 to 7, another with a scale showing the days of the week.
This complex and completely novel interplay of components is given an additional level of intricacy, by the rotation of the entire power-reserve display itself. This allows wearers to choose their preferred mode of power-reserve indication: by continuing to wind the battle-axe crown even after the power reserve is fully replenished, wearers can adjust the orientation of the indication in order to make the day-of-the-week or numeric scale more visible when LMX is on the wrist.
Like a perfectly balanced X, the engine of LMX is deeply symmetrical – not only dial-side but also as observed through the sapphire case back, revealing the three barrels placed evenly around the centre, accentuated by the sunray pattern of the Côtes de Genève finishing. A treat for those who can read the language of watch movements, who can discern expert intent and refined purpose behind the placement of each component.
The X in LMX is more than just a symbol for symmetry, or another way to indicate the numeral 10. LMX is the crossroads where the first and second decades of the Legacy Machine Collection meet.
LMX is available in two limited launch editions:
- 18 pieces in 18k red gold with black NAC treatment on plates and bridges;
- 33 pieces in grade 5 titanium with green CVD treatment on plates and bridges.