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? Today, MB&F launches a new Legacy Machine, the MB&F LMX.
Round cases, lacquered dials… and “flying” balance wheels
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.
An award-winning, ground-breaking collection
Subsequent Legacy Machines followed this blueprint of brilliant unorthodoxy: with LMX, an impressive series of no less than EIGHT world-premiere calibres. Conceived with another exceptionally talented Friend, Stephen McDonnell, LM Perpetual (2015) brought about a fundamental reengineering of the revered perpetual calendar complication. LM FlyingT (2019) embodied a novel vision of feminine watchmaking — fierce yet elegant, stark yet complex. LM Thunderdome (2019), developed with multi-axis tourbillon expert Eric Coudray, set a new world record with the dizzying speed of its TriAx mechanism. In parallel to these prestigious collaborations, MB&F began conceiving its own movements during this decade; the LMX engine is the sixth fully conceived by MB&F’s in-house engineering team, a considerable achievement for a brand born in the new millennium.
Many did not realise in 2011 how risky this was, but MB&F took a chance on its fledgling brand identity by introducing a Machine that leaned closer to the aesthetic milieu of almost every other watch company out there. Comparing an MB&F to other timepieces was now possible… But great risk often comes with great reward. The Legacy Machine collection has received widespread acclaim over the years, chief among them four awards from the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the industry’s ultimate accolade.
Have Legacy Machines changed the MB&F Horological lab of 2011? Profoundly. When LM1 surprised the watchmaking world 10 years ago, industry experts predicted that MB&F would radically shift its entire production (and sales) to the more consensual aesthetics offered by Legacy Machines. That did not happen: the unconventional Horological Machines continue to represent an essential part of MB&F’s production… but 10 years later, watch collectors have naturally also embraced the more classic-minded Legacy Machines – which have gained their own very significant place. In 2021 MB&F continues to evolve in both directions, seemingly quite different, but always with a fierce sense of independence and creativity.
The Legacy of a decade
In the MB&F universe, X has a special significance, based on the Roman numeral for 10. It signals a 10th anniversary, like the HM3 FrogX (2020) marking a decade of the totemic HM3, or HMX (2015), which headlined the 10th year of MB&F. But X is more than an ancient alternative to the Arabic numeral 10. In algebra, X is the unsolved variable; in cartography, X is the desired destination. X represents the indescribable, the unexplainable and the uncategorisable; it symbolises everything we do not know – yet.
Presenting MB&F LMX, celebrating 10 years of legacy machines
Back in October 2011, MB&F had just launched Legacy Machine N°1, the first creation of a new collection, alongside the existing Horological Machines; one creative lab, two interpretations of time-telling. MB&F LMX returns to the earliest encounter with the Legacy Machine collection, utilising the same expression comprising a central flying balance wheel and two dials, although everything else is different.
Two independent time zones on tilted dials
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.
Apparent mechanics under a sapphire crystal dome
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. MB&F 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 MB&F 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.
Hemispherical 7-days power reserve indicator
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.
Symmetrical movement construction
Like a perfectly balanced X, the engine of MB&F 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. MB&F LMX is the crossroads where the first and second decades of the Legacy Machine Collection meet.
MB&F 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.
2011 – 2021 – Legacy Machine Milestones
2011 After four unconventional Horological Machines, MB&F surprises the watchmaking world by launching Legacy Machine No1, inaugurating a new collection of more classic timepieces.
2012 LM1 wins not just one but two awards at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève: the Public Prize (voted for by watch enthusiasts) and Best Men’s Watch Prize (voted for by the professional jury).
2013 Legacy Machine No2: two years after the first Legacy Machine, LM2 demonstrates that MB&F is committed to developing the Legacy Machine collection, with a complex timepiece revisiting the works of famous watchmakers on double regulator systems.
2014 The Legacy Machine collection welcomes its first “Performance Art” piece: a collaboration with Chinese artist Xia Hang, who reinterprets the vertical power reserve indicator of LM1.
2015 MB&F teams up with Stephen McDonnell to reinvent the traditional perpetual calendar mechanism. The result is the ground-breaking Legacy Machine Perpetual, offering reliability and user-friendliness.
2016 The Legacy Machines welcome a second Performance Art piece: the LM1 Silberstein, created with the famous French designer Alain Silberstein.
At the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the Best Calendar Watch Prize goes to the LM Perpetual.
2017 Again with Stephen McDonnell, MB&F presents the LM Split Escapement (LM SE), showcasing the beauty of the flying balance wheel and the split escapement initially conceived for the LM Perpetual.
2019 In March, MB&F chooses the Legacy Machine collection to launch its first timepiece dedicated to women, the LM FlyingT.
In November, the Legacy Machine collection wins a fourth Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève award: the LM FlyingT wins the Best Ladies’ Complication Prize.
In December, MB&F and famed watchmaker Eric Coudray break a world record with the LM Thunderdome, the world’s fastest triple-axis regulator.
2020 MB&F and fellow independent brand H. Moser & Cie innovate with a unique two-way collaboration, resulting in the LM101 MB&F x H. Moser and the Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser x MB&F.
MB&F and Eddy Jaquet, one of the watchmaking industry’s most talented master engravers, present a series of 8 unique pieces of the LM Split Escapement, inspired by the novels of Jules Verne.
MB&F chooses the Legacy Machine collection to present another important evolution: its first timepiece sporting the “EVO” suffix, designed for more active, everyday use. The LM Perpetual EVO “is not just a watch for sports, it is a watch for life”.
2021 Launch of MB&F LMX, celebrating 10 years of Legacy Machines. Echoing the traits of LM1 but in an entirely new execution, LMX features two time zones and a three-dimensional power reserve, while the tilted dials and sleek case design take from the LM FlyingT and LM Thunderdome.
MB&F LMX Technical Specifications and Price
LMX is available in two limited launch editions:
- 18 pieces in polished 18k 5N+ red gold with black NAC treatment on plates and bridges;
- 33 pieces in polished grade 5 titanium with green CVD treatment on plates and bridges.
- Hours and minutes: completely independent dual time zones displayed on two dials.
- Unique hemispherical power reserve with choice of weekday or 7-day indication; rotates to adjust the preferred power reserve indication.
- Left crown at 10 o’clock for setting time of left dial; right crown at 2 o’clock for setting time of right dial and winding
- Three-dimensional horological movement developed exclusively by MB&F
- Manual winding with three mainspring barrels
- Power reserve: 7 days (168 hours)
- Balance wheel: new bespoke 13.4mm balance wheel with inertia blocks, floating above the movement
- Time display on two inclined dials in stretched lacquer
- Balance spring: traditional Breguet curve terminating in mobile stud holder
- Balance frequency: 18,000bph/2.5Hz
- Number of components: 367
- Number of jewels: 41
- Chatons: gold chatons with diamond countersinks
- Fine finishing:
- superlative hand finishing throughout respecting 19th century style;
- internal bevel angles highlighting handcraft;
- polished bevels;
- Geneva waves;
- hand-made engravings;
- polished arms of the straight bridges exposed on the dial plate, manually finished to a curved “bercé” profile on their upper surfaces
- Two launch editions: 18k 5N+ red gold case limited to 18 pieces or grade 5 titanium case limited to 33 pieces
- Dimensions: 44 mm wide x 21.4 mm high
- Number of components: 27
- High domed sapphire crystal on top and sapphire crystal on back with anti-reflective coating on both sides.
Strap & Buckle
- Black hand-stitched alligator strap with 5N+ gold folding buckle for red gold version, and grey hand-stitched alligator strap with titanium folding buckle for titanium edition.
- LMX Titanium version is CHF 98,000 / USD 112,000 / EUR 92,000 + VAT.
- LMX Red Gold version is CHF 112,000 / USD 128,000 / EUR 105,000 + VAT
« Friends » responsible for LMX
Concept: Maximilian Büsser / MB&F
Product design: Eric Giroud / Through the Looking Glass
Technical and production management: Serge Kriknoff / MB&F
Movement development: Simon Brette / MB&F
R&D: Simon Brette, Thomas Lorenzato, Robin Anne, Joey Miserez and Julien Peter / MB&F
Wheels, pinions and axis: Jean-François Mojon / Chronode, Paul-André Tendon / Bandi, Daniel Gumy / Decobar Swiss, Gimmel Rouages, Atokalpa and Le Temps Retrouvé
Plates and bridges: Benjamin Signoud / Amecap, Rodrigue Baume / Horlofab and MB&F
Balance wheel : Marc Bolis / 2B8 and Atokalpa
Springs and jumpers: Alain Pellet / Elefil Swiss
Mainspring and barrel : Stéphane Schwab / Schwab Feller
Hand-engraving of movement: Glypto
Hand-finishing of movement components: Jacques-Adrien Rochat and Denis Garcia / C.-L. Rochat
Case decoration : Sandra Lambert / Bripoli
PVD- treatment : Pierre-Albert Steinmann / Positive Coating
Gold ingots CoC (Chain of Custody): Jean Philippe Chételat / Cendres et Métaux Lux
Movement assembly : Didier Dumas, Georges Veisy, Anne Guiter, Emmanuel Maitre and Henri Porteboeuf / MB&F
In-house machining: Alain Lemarchand and Jean-Baptiste Prétot / MB&F
After-Sales service: Thomas Imberti / MB&F
Quality control: Cyril Fallet / MB&F
Dials: Hassan Chaïba and Virginie Duval / Les Ateliers d’Hermès Horlogers
Hands: Waeber HMS
Crowns : Boninchi
Anti-reflection treatment for sapphire crystals: Anthony Schwab / Econorm
Buckle: G&F Châtelain
Presentation box: Olivier Berthon / Soixanteetonze
Production logistics: David Lamy, Isabel Ortega and Ashley Moussier / MB&F
Marketing & Communication: Charris Yadigaroglou, Virginie Toral and Arnaud Légeret / MB&F
M.A.D.Gallery: Hervé Estienne / MB&F
Sales: Thibault Verdonckt, Virginie Marchon, Cédric Roussel and Jean-Marc Bories / MB&F
Graphic design: Sidonie Bays / MB&F, Adrien Schulz and Gilles Bondallaz / Z+Z
Product photography: Maarten van der Ende and Alex Teuscher
Portrait photography: Régis Golay / Federal
Webmasters: Stéphane Balet / Idéative
Film: Marc-André Deschoux / MAD LUX, Manouil Karapetsis and Dominik Lang / Brosky Media
Texts: Suzanne Wong / Worldtempus