On the heels of the fantastical MB&F Thunderbolt for Only Watch with a panda at the reigns of the magnificent flying machine, MB&F introduces the Legacy Machine No.1. Machines 1-4 took an avant-garde approach to watchmaking, rendering very 21st century shapes not seen in traditional watchmaking. With the Legacy Machine No.1, MB&F presents the first round watch in the collection. Maximillian Busser, the wizard behind MB&F, usually dips into his childhood to find inspiration for his watches. In this case he did a thought experiment, imagining what he might create if he had been born in 1867, a period of watchmaking he admires.
Instead of Star Wars and fighter jets for reference, Busser looked to the Eiffel Tower, Jules Verne and the best in pocket watches. Requirements, in addition to the classical references, were that the watch had to be round and three-dimensional. Voila! You have the Legacy Machine No. 1. And yet you have a machine that is quintessentially MB&F.
A domed shape crystal swoops over the dial, allowing a view from several angles. It’s like looking upon a snow globe to see the all the activity going on inside. Zenith built a similar visual celebration with the Christophe Columbe, where a dome protruding from both sides encases the regulating system to ensure a horizontal position, the best to ensure accurate timekeeping.
The heartbeat of the Legacy Machine No.1 movement, a generously sized balance wheel with Breguet overcoil oscillating at a leisurely 18,000bph, suspends from twin arches, giving the effect that it’s floating in midair, while a unique vertical power reserve, which is a world first, provides a visual counterpoint to the supports of the arches.
If you hadn’t already noticed, this is a GMT watch. While most GMT’s can’t be set independently, only moved in increments of an hour or half hour, MB&F overcame this problem with two dials that can be set separately from one other so that time can be exact in two locations. Though not the first watch to do this (Parmigiani has the Tonda Hemispheres), it’s a wonderful complication for travelers.
Busser enlisted two masters for their expertise in creating the Legacy Machine No 1. For movement design, Jean-Francois Mojon applied his visionary mind to imagine the concept. Mojon is one of the men responsible for the recently released Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia, the most complex watch released by IWC, as well as Opus 10. If you don’t already know, it was Busser who initiated the Opus series at Harry Winston before launching his own company.
While Mojon overlooked the caliber, Kari Voutilainen was responsible for the aesthetics, which were completed in the traditional manner. Considered one of the modern masters of finishing, all done by hand, Voutilainen decorated the movement with Geneva waves and beveled the bridges with internal angles, the most difficult to execute. In addition, he chose to surround the jewels with gold chatons, a feature found in high-end pocket watches and also considered a German tradition. Lange & Sohne uses gold chatons in all their movements.
MB&F always comes up with surprising entries into the horology world. This time they apply their progressive approach to a more traditional model. MB&F certainly press the boundaries and are widely admired for their audacity, but some might find them a bit out of their comfort zone in terms of style. With the Legacy Machine No.1 MB&F caters to those who prefer a more traditional presentation to their wrist wear. It’s hard to follow a piece such as the HM4 Thunderbolt. MB&F did it with grand style.