At the beginning of December MB&F launched the Legacy Machine Thunderdome, an extraordinary creation and collaboration between Maximilian Büsser and Friends together with Eric Coudray and Kari Voutilainen. The launch Press Release explained all that had to be explained and revealed all that had to be revealed. So I will restrain myself from explaining something that others did much better before me. I will just add some personal notes and a huge image gallery and presentation videos.
Hands-on MB&F Legacy Machine Thunderdome
Before the Thunderdome
My story of the Thunderdome starts in 2004. I was in the middle of my University studies. Together with a colleague and friend, I discovered the Gyrotourbillon. At that moment, I raised Eric Coudray at the rank of a god. On those days, when even owning a Swiss watch was something beyond my dreams, I have told to myself that I could not believe that another tourbillon will impress me as much as the Gyrotourbillon did. In the years when all Swiss brands had only *.ch websites, I was firmly convinced that I will never love another tourbillon.
Years have passed. I grew up (a little…) and I discovered other magical tourbillons. Every new, highly complicated tourbillon impressed me. But none had that impact on me as the Gyro in 2004 had. The explanation was simple. That technical achievement was the most complex horological subject I had encountered. It was my first high-end horological love.
Until today, my watch grail was the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon. Now, this position is seriously endangered by the new Legacy Machine, the Thunderdome. When I was in Geneva for GPHG, I have visited the MB&F M.A.D. Galleries to see The new MB&F LM101 Palladium (with live images and video). Not even the slightest idea that my horological world will be shaken. I knew that a new Machine is coming, but I was not expecting this…
The days of Thunderdome
Since I was not able to come to Geneva for the Thunderdome launch, I have decided to publish the press release when it came and to return to a later date to photograph the watch. I would like to thank Charris, Arnaud and especially Hervé (who hosted me at the Gallery on a Saturday) for making the photo session possible.
Little I knew when Charris sent me the PR. I have opened the first picture and surprise. I have instantly recognised that familiar and dear to me beating heart. A crazy beating heart. Then I noticed the dial and the inimitable style of master Voutilainen. My world was shaken.
In an empty office, I have loudly shouted: Max did it, Max did it! Later, preparing the press release, I was telling Diana: You will see, a beauty, a masterpiece, extraordinary… I had no words to describe it. I was so happy and enthusiastic. It was the first time in 15 years when I had again that feeling.
So that is my story of Thunderdome. This is how, 15 years apart, I felt again deeply in love with a horological complication. But there is a huge difference between the young love from 2004 and what I feel now. Thunderdome is a mature love. Is something that cannot be explained to someone who never loved a tourbillon before. Now I see everything with different eyes: its complexity does not scare me anymore, its beauty is something that I appreciate at an another level. I have held in my hands million Euro pieces, multiple tourbillon pieces and highly complicated watches, but none had the personal background that the Thunderdome has.
Trying to be objective…
MB&F Legacy Machine Thunderdome is a great achievement for the MB&F team. I find the Platinum choice of material for the elegant case proper. After reviewing the MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT – a lady’s watch, a gentleman’s delight…, I had the impression that many men collectors wish that piece for themselves. Little I knew what is coming. That case concept is lovely and I am happy a more masculine version of the FlyingT now exists.
The list of technical achievements is long. My favourite will be the semi-spherical balance wheel (visible above). The energy-hungry tourbillon is extremely fast. Its speed guarantees a rare spectacularity. The Voutilainen guilloche dial takes care into bringing sparks of light to the show.
Maximilian Büsser presents a lot of detail in The story behind the Legacy Machine Thunderdome video. The video is a must-see – another personal story, Max’s.
Of course, the finishes are top-notch. Master Kari Voutilainen marks can be found all over the movement.
Every detail is exceptionally finished. The name of two special people governs the power reserve: Coudray and Voutilainen. Two horological gods.
The decorations are impressive: jewels in gold (with polished sink) chatons, one of the most impressive Côtes de Genève, mirror polished screws with polished chamfering, bridges with a fabulously executed polished beveling.
All three mainspring barrels are visible. MB&F Legacy Machine Thunderdome is, besides a horological triumph, a work of art.
My videos with the Legacy Machine Thunderdome: a hands-on presentation video and a more detailed video of the triple-axis tourbillon (slow motion, fast motion and details).
The triple-axis tourbillon in a more detailed view:
men watches enter, one man watch leaves
As I have expected, the MB&F Legacy Machine Thunderdome was a timepiece hard to remove from my wrist. Is one of those watches where you start to make calculations – how to take it home…
The Thunderdome does not discriminate. It is comfortable on a lady’s wrist too… As seen below, Diana waiting for me to do my pictures, enjoying a coffee and a Thunderdome.
Three gods: Maximilian Büsser, Eric Coudray and Kari Voutilainen have shaken the world. My horological world. Until now, my beliefs were firm on the Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon as my grail piece. Now I am not sure anymore… For the first time in many years, I don’t know what to chose.
But if MB&F managed to create the Legacy Machine Thunderdome, I can only wonder now: What could be next?
MB&F Legacy Machine Thunderdome Technical Specifications
Two Limited Editions :
- Limited edition of 33 pieces in platinum 950, with light-blue guilloché dial – CHF 270,000 + VAT (USD 280,000 + tax)
- Limited edition of 10 pieces in tantalum for The Hour Glass (5 pieces with an aventurine dial and 5 pieces with a dark-blue guilloché dial).
- Movement developed for MB&F by Eric Coudray and Kari Voutilainen.
- Regulating mechanism featuring 3 fast rotation axes revolving at different speeds and on different planes. The rotation speeds of the axes starting from the centre are respectively 8 seconds, 12 seconds and 20 seconds. The combined weight of the multi-axis mechanism is nearly 1g.
- Manual winding with three mainspring barrels.
- Bespoke hemispherical 10mm balance wheel with traditional regulating screws and helical hairspring, visible on top of the movement.
- Superlative hand finishing throughout respecting 19th-century style; bevelled internal angles highlighting hand craft; polished bevels; Geneva waves; hand-made engravings.
- Power reserve: 45 hours
- Balance frequency: 3 Hz / 21,600bph
- Number of components: 413
- Number of jewels: 63
Functions & indications
- Hours and minutes displayed on a 58° vertically tilted dial
- Power reserve indicator on the back of the movement
- Material: launch edition in platinum 950 and The Hour Glass editions in tantalum
- Dimensions: 44mm x 22.2 mm
- Number of components: 20
- Water resistance: 30m / 90′ / 3ATM
- Sapphire crystals on top and display back treated with anti-reflective coating on both faces.
Strap & buckle
- Blue hand-stitched alligator strap with platinum or tantalum folding buckle matching the case.