Winter is coming! But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially when it marks the arrival of two limited edition Legacy Machine FlyingT models inspired by swirling snow and icy stalagmites. These new Ice and Blizzard editions – limited to just eight pieces each – are the result of a collaboration between MB&F and French jewellery designer Emmanuel Tarpin, best known for his unique pieces that combine his love for nature, sculpture, innovative materials and gemstones.
“We are not jewellers, we are watchmakers,” shares MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser. “We would put diamonds on our timepieces, but it was really the bare minimum. So, I started to see jewellers, great jewellers, to ask them if they would like to put their artistry and jewellery into our FlyingT – much like giving them a blank canvas to paint.”
This is the second collaboration within the Legacy Machine FlyingT collection. The first was with renowned Italian luxury brand Bulgari, famous around the globe – a very different story contrasting with this independent young artist, who prefers to work alone, meeting his clients and suppliers in person and running literally every aspect of his company solo. For Emmanuel Tarpin, personal contacts are at the heart of everything he does, and he chooses and declines projects based on the quality of these connections.
He first met Max Büsser while studying at Geneva’s Haute école d’art et de design (HEAD), when Max made a presentation to the students about MB&F. Fast forward a few years and Emmanuel Tarpin’s name popped up as an up-and-coming jewellery designer to watch. Looking him up online, Max noticed that they were already connected on LinkedIn and sent him a message. The rest, as they say, is history.
“I do very few collaborations; I much prefer to focus on my own creations,” explains Emmanuel Tarpin. “But we had a chat and then met in person and we got on really well. I found the project to be extremely interesting and working with Max was just spontaneous and easy, even if this was my first time working on a watch!”
The Legacy Machine FlyingT immediately appealed to Tarpin thanks to its volume. Where the majority of timepieces are flat, he was fascinated by this domed space around the vertically built mechanism. With a free ticket to design whatever he wanted, he decided on a wintery theme, as not only is winter his favourite season, but travelling back and forth between his hometown of Annecy to Geneva, in a sometimes wintery wonderland, quickly provided him with the inspiration he needed.
The first model, called Ice, features asymmetrical diamond-set stalagmites that encroach on the sapphire crystal dome and the movement. Each icy stalagmite is different, replicating the randomness of nature. Tarpin took his inspiration from a trip to Lake Baïkal in Southern Siberia, where in winter the lake freezes from the edge inwards until it is totally frozen. The claws of the diamond stalagmites have not quite claimed the movement and the matt lapis lazuli dial, leaving the beauty of the mechanism and the time visible to the eye.
For the second model, named Blizzard, Tarpin let his imagination run free into the Alps where he has been skiing since he was two years old. He has interpreted memories of being caught in blizzards of snow into the LM FlyingT with brilliant-cut diamonds set under the sapphire crystal dome and closed-set diamonds set into the matt lapis lazuli dial, depicting snowflakes on the ground. The result is like a snow globe in motion.
The LM FlyingT was the perfect canvas for this collaboration with its radical architecture and construction that contrasts beautifully with its jewelled winter cloak. From the beginning, this creation was intended as a tribute to femininity, with the T in FlyingT standing for the initial of Max Büsser’s wife, Tiffany, as well as for flying Tourbillon. In an ultimate refined touch embodying this intimate approach, the movement is designed in such a way that only its owner can see the time. The case-back reveals the sun-shaped oscillating weight: its sandblasted and polished rays rotating on a ruthenium disc positioned above a platinum counterweight.
Emmanuel Tarpin had a few requests in respect of the movement, starting with the elimination of all gold-coloured elements that would have clashed with the white gold case and icy theme. This seemingly innocent request was not quite as simple as it may seem, but all the yellow or red gold elements were changed, while the balance wheel was blued. Another request was to switch out the diamonds set into the centre of the tourbillon and two crowns for rare turquoise Paraiba stones, to further reinforce the glacial theme.
Between the regulating organ and the rotor, the barrel ensures a generous 100-hour power reserve made possible by the reduction in the number of gears. A sapphire crystal dome tops this three-dimensional assembly, beneath which one can admire the organic life of the movement.
The beauty of this partnership is that it goes far beyond the realm of the complicated feminine jewellery watch. It highlights two visions of the world, two interpretations of creativity that are radically different in form, yet which merge in substance within an integrated and harmonious co-creation vividly demonstrating the power of collaboration.
About the Flying T engine
In a departure from most modern watch movements, which take a radial and co-planar approach to movement construction, the LM FlyingT engine utilises a vertical and co-axial approach, along a central axis orchestrating the overall architecture of the entirely visible mechanism. In this respect, the watch deliberately goes against tradition, since everything that is usually hidden is highlighted here in a three-dimensional construction.
The cinematic flying tourbillon, which boldly projects beyond the dial-plate of LM FlyingT, is a visually stunning example of the rotating escapement and stands in stark contrast to other flying tourbillons, which usually do not venture past the confines of their surrounding watch dials.
Flying tourbillons, as their name suggests, are anchored only at their base, with no stabilising bridge to restrict lateral motion at the top. This increased need for overall rigidity is what causes the conservative placement of most flying tourbillons within their movements. Legacy Machine FlyingT breaks free of this limiting need for movement security and confidently displays its flying tourbillon in all its glory.
In order to display the time as precisely as possible on the 50° inclined dial, conical gears are employed to optimally transmit torque from one plane to another. The 280-component engine of Legacy Machine FlyingT has a power reserve of four days (100 hours), which is among the highest within MB&F.
MB&F x Emmanuel Tarpin Legacy Machine Flying T ‘Ice’ & ‘Blizzard’ Technical Specifications
8 ‘ICE’ EDITION pieces and 8 ‘BLIZZARD’ EDITION pieces; both editions in 18K white gold with fully diamond-set cases and blue matte lapis lazuli dial plates.
- MB&F FlyingT movement featuring three-dimensional vertical architecture, automatic winding, conceived and developed in-house with a blue balance wheel
- Central flying 60-second tourbillon
- Power reserve: 100 hours
- Balance frequency: 18,000bph / 2.5Hz
- Dial plate in blue matte lapis lazuli
- Three-dimensional sun-shaped winding rotor in 18K 5N+ red gold, titanium and platinum
- Number of components: 280
- Number of jewels: 30
- Hours and minutes displayed on a 50° vertically tilted dial with two serpentine hands.
- Two crowns: winding on left and time setting on right.
- Material: 18K white gold, set with diamonds.
- High domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides, sapphire crystal on back.
- Dimensions: 39 x 20mm
- Number of components: 17
- Water resistance: 3ATM / 30m / 90’
For the ‘BLIZZARD’ edition:
- Brilliant-cut diamonds on the dial: ~ 0.0457ct
- Brilliant-cut diamonds on the Blizzard decoration: ~ 0.921ct
- • Brilliant-cut diamonds on the crowns: ~ 0.138ct
- Brilliant-cut diamonds on the case: ~ 1.402cts
- 2 paraibas on the crowns: ~ 0.11ct and 1 paraiba on the tourbillon: ~ 0.03ct
For the ‘ICE’ edition:
- Brilliant-cut diamonds on the Ice decoration: ~ 0.611ct
- Brilliant-cut diamonds on the crowns: ~ 0.138ct
- Brilliant-cut diamonds on the case: ~ 1.402cts
- 2 paraibas on the crowns: ~ 0.11ct and 1 paraiba on the tourbillon: ~ 0.03ct
Strap & buckle
- Alligator leather strap with white gold paved pin buckle matching the case.
About Emmanuel Tarpin
Emmanuel Tarpin is a 30-year-old independent jewellery designer from Annecy, in Haute Savoie, France. Fascinated by art and precious stones from a young age, he studied jewellery design at Geneva’s Haute Ecole d’Art et Design (HEAD), before accepting an internship with a studio working for Van Cleef & Arpels.
Keen to learn all aspects of the jewellery business, he would continue working directly for Van Cleef & Arpels in the Maison’s Haute Joaillerie workshop for a further three years, specializing in all the different jewellery techniques to perfect his craft.
In 2017, at the age of 25, he set up his own eponymous business, crafting one-of-a-kind pieces for private clients, by appointment only, who were drawn to his unique style. His creations are appreciated for their volume, lightness, texture, and movement that he achieves by using unusual materials – such as aluminium, bronze, and copper – that he combines with precious and colourful gemstones.
His work immediately caught the interest of jewellery connoisseurs and his very first creation was included in Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale that took place in New York in December 2017, further projecting him into the limelight.
Growing up between the Annecy Lake and the surrounding French Alps, nature is one of his major sources of inspiration and his jewellery takes the forms of shells, jellyfish, geranium leaves, arum lilies, and wild orchids, to name a few.
“Nature is an inexhaustible source of inspiration,” he explains. “I attach myself to every detail, the pistil of a flower, the curve of a leaf, the colours, the gradients, the play on materials and textures. It’s not just the visual sense that comes first, the touch also has its importance, the feeling it has on the skin.”
He works from his Parisian studio where he oversees every step of the process. The direct human connection with his clients and suppliers is what he enjoys the most in his creative process.
In 2020, he embarked on his first watch project with MB&F where he was given the freedom to interpret two Legacy Machine FlyingT timepieces. Tarpin had already met MB&F’s founder Maximillian Büsser during a presentation about the watch brand during his studies at the HEAD. After an initial meeting in person, the two gentlemen immediately hit it off and Tarpin embarked on the creation of two unique designs inspired by winter that further attest to the talent of this young designer.
‘Friends’ responsible for the LM Flying T ‘Ice’ & ‘Blizzard’
Concept: Maximilian Büsser / MB&F
Product design: Eric Giroud / Through the Looking Glass and Emmanuel Tarpin
Technical and production management: Serge Kriknoff / MB&F
R&D: Thomas Lorenzato, Maël Mendel, Pierre-Alexandre Gamet and Robin Cotrel / MB&F
Case: Giuseppe Di Stefano / STG Creation
Profile-turning wheel/pinion/axis: Paul André Tendon / Bandi, Decobar Swiss, Gimmel Rouages and Le Temps Retrouvé
Springs and jumpers: Alain Pellet / Elefil Swiss
Mainspring and barrel: Stefan Schwab/ Schwab Feller and Atokalpa
Tourbillon: Precision Engineering
Plates and bridges: Benjamin Signoud / Amecap, Rodrigue Baume / Horlofab and DEM3, Marc Bolis / 2B8
Setting of diamonds (case, dial-plate and crowns): Giuseppe Di Stefano / STG Creation
Gemstone for dial-plate and crowns: Sandra Ripp / Groh + Ripp, Giuseppe Di Stefano / STG Creation
Sun-shaped winding rotor: Jean-Philippe Chételat / Cendres et Métaux
Ball bearing: MPS Micro Precision Systems
Hand-finishing of movement components: Jacques-Adrien Rochat and Denis Garcia / C.-L. Rochat, Stéphane and Alexis Greco / Rhodior
Sapphire glass: Sebal
Anti-refection treatment for sapphire crystals: Anthony Schwab / Econorm
Serpentine hands: Isabelle Chillier / Fiedler
Dial (discs for hours – minutes): Giuseppe Di Stefano / STG Creation
Movement assemblage: Didier Dumas, Georges Veisy, Anne Guiter, Emmanuel Maitre, Henri Porteboeuf, Mathieu Lecoultre, Amandine Bascoul and Anthony Mugnier/ MB&F
Case and movements components: Alain Lemarchand, Jean-Baptiste Prétot, Stéphanie Carvalho and Fabien Ramazzina / MB&F
Quality Control: Cyril Fallet and Jennifer Longuepez / MB&F
After-Sales service: Thomas Imberti / MB&F
Buckle: Giuseppe Di Stefano / STG Creation
Crowns: Giuseppe Di Stefano / STG Creation
Presentation box: Olivier Berthon / Soixanteetonze
Production logistics: David Lamy, Ashley Moussier, Fanny Boutier, Houda Fayroud Mélanie Ataide and Thibaut Joannard / MB&F
Marketing & Communication: Charris Yadigaroglou, Vanessa André, Arnaud Légeret and Paul Gay / MB&F
M.A.D.Gallery: Hervé Estienne / MB&F
Sales: Thibault Verdonckt, Virginie Marchon, Cédric Roussel, Jean-Marc Bories, Augustin Chivot and Céline Martin / MB&F
Graphic design: Sidonie Bays / MB&F
Product photography: Laurent-Xavier Moulin
Portrait photography: Régis Golay / Federal, Zoé Fidji
Website: Stéphane Balet / Idéative
Film: Marc-André Deschoux / MAD LUX
MB&F – Genesis of a concept laboratory
Founded in 2005, MB&F is the world’s first-ever horological concept laboratory. With almost 20 remarkable calibres forming the base of the critically acclaimed Horological and Legacy Machines, MB&F is continuing to follow Founder and Creative Director Maximilian Büsser’s vision of creating 3-D kinetic art by deconstructing traditional watchmaking.
After 15 years managing prestigious watch brands, Maximilian Büsser resigned from his Managing Director position at Harry Winston in 2005 to create MB&F – Maximilian Büsser & Friends. MB&F is an artistic and micro-engineering laboratory dedicated to designing and crafting small series of radical concept watches by bringing together talented horological professionals that Büsser both respects and enjoys working with.
In 2007, MB&F unveiled its first Horological Machine, HM1. HM1’s sculptured, three-dimensional case and beautifully finished engine (movement) set the standard for the idiosyncratic Horological Machines that have followed – all Machines that tell the time, rather than Machines to tell the time. The Horological Machines have explored space (HM2, HM3, HM6), the sky (HM4, HM9), the road (HM5, HMX, HM8) and the animal kingdom (HM7, HM10).
In 2011, MB&F launched its round-cased Legacy Machine collection. These more classical pieces – classical for MB&F, that is – pay tribute to nineteenth-century watchmaking excellence by reinterpreting complications from the great horological innovators of yesteryear to create contemporary objets d’art. LM1 and LM2 were followed by LM101, the first MB&F Machine to feature a movement developed entirely in-house. LM Perpetual, LM Split Escapement and LM Thunderdome broadened the collection further. 2019 marked a turning point with the creation of the first MB&F Machine dedicated to women: LM FlyingT; and MB&F celebrated 10 years of Legacy Machines in 2021 with the LMX. MB&F generally alternates between launching contemporary, resolutely unconventional Horological Machines and historically inspired Legacy Machines.
As the F stands for Friends, it was only natural for MB&F to develop collaborations with artists, watchmakers, designers and manufacturers they admire.
This brought about two new categories: Performance Art and Co-creations. While Performance Art pieces are MB&F machines revisited by external creative talent, Co-creations are not wristwatches but other types of machines, engineered and crafted by unique Swiss Manufactures from MB&F ideas and designs. Many of these Co-creations, such as the clocks created with L’Epée 1839, tell the time while collaborations with Reuge and Caran d’Ache generated other forms of mechanical art.
To give all these machines an appropriate platform, Büsser had the idea of placing them in an art gallery alongside various forms of mechanical art created by other artists, rather than in a traditional storefront. This brought about the creation of the first MB&F M.A.D.Gallery (M.A.D. stands for Mechanical Art Devices) in Geneva, which would later be followed by M.A.D.Galleries in Taipei, Dubai and Hong Kong.
There have been distinguished accolades reminding us of the innovative nature of MB&F’s journey so far. To name a few, there have been no less than 9 awards from the famous Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, including the ultimate prize: the “Aiguille d’Or”, which rewards the best watch of the year. In 2022, the LM Sequential EVO was awarded the Aiguille d’Or, while the M.A.D.1 RED won the ‘Challenge’ category. In 2021, LMX won the Best Men’s Complication and the LM SE Eddy Jaquet ‘Around The World in Eighty Days’ was awarded in the ‘Artistic Crafts’ category. In 2019, the prize for Best Ladies Complication went to the LM FlyingT; in 2016, LM Perpetual won the Best Calendar Watch award; in 2012, Legacy Machine No.1 was awarded both the Public Prize (voted for by horology fans) and the Best Men’s Watch Prize (voted for by the professional jury). In 2010, MB&F won Best Concept and Design Watch for the HM4 Thunderbolt. In 2015 MB&F received a Red Dot: Best of the Best award – the top prize at the international Red Dot Awards – for the HM6 Space Pirate.