MB&F - LEGACY MACHINE N°1 FINAL EDITION
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
MB&F - LEGACY MACHINE N°1 FINAL EDITION

LEGACY MACHINE N°1 FINAL EDITION

MB&F

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See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

LEGACY MACHINE N°1 FINAL EDITION

Six years have gone by since MB&F launched the Legacy Machine N°1 (LM1) series in 2011, establishing a collection of tradition-inflected Legacy Machines alongside the envelope-pushing Horological Machines. Six years is a blink of an eye in the history of watchmaking, but constitutes an entire generation of modern independent horology. 

The Legacy Machine N°1 Final Edition brings the LM1 series to a close, and does so with the signature MB&F flair for the unexpected.

Convention dictates that you shouldn’t try and fix what ain’t broke — that products enjoying success and popularity should also get to enjoy longevity. The LM1 Final Edition overturns conventional thought by taking its last bow just as the Legacy Machine collection gains ever more acclaim and momentum. 

Back in 2011, Legacy Machine N°1 debuted three unique technical features, two of which continue to set the LM1 series apart to this day. The cinematic balance, suspended from an arched bridge, is now an icon of the Legacy Machine collection. The two time displays, indicated on subtly convex dials of stretched lacquer, are based on a single movement and allow autonomous setting without reference to fixed time zones. Then there is the vertical power-reserve indicator, offering a strongly intuitive and legible reading of barrel wind.

These innovations, when coupled with the technical expertise of watchmaking veteran Jean-François Mojon and the peerless levels of finish specified by Kari Voutilainen, provided the framework for a fresh form of independent watchmaking. Traditional mechanisms were placed in modern configurations. Legacy Machine N°1 was a different way to be different.

In choosing a material to house this celebratory last outing of Legacy Machine N°1, MB&F picked steel over precious metals such as gold or platinum. The recent elevation of steel as a worthy case material for high-end watchmaking has a twofold outcome for the LM1 Final Edition — it echoes the strength and enduring appeal of the series, and it takes the value focus off the exterior elements to better highlight the beauty of the LM1 Engine. 

The dark chocolate-toned face of the LM1 Final Edition is not the first instance of this colour appearing in an MB&F creation. Wherever and whenever it occurs in the MB&F collections, the deep brown hue signals a special occasion, a reason to break out the treats, and the Legacy Machine N°1 Final Edition is no exception to this rule. The launch of the last LM1 may be a bittersweet celebration for some — MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser pinpoints it at 85-percent dark chocolate — since the edition is limited to 18 pieces.

The LM1 Final Edition is limited to 18 pieces in stainless steel, with a dark chocolate-brown face.

THE MB&F FINAL EDITIONS

Legacy Machine N°1 was the first series of the Legacy Machine collection and is now also the first in the collection to have a Final Edition. Prior to this, HM2, HM3, HM4 and HM5 received an edition that formally marked the end of series production.

Completing an MB&F series is a major strategic decision and is central to the belief in continual exploration and development that is held by everyone at MB&F. Only by ending production of existing pieces are Maximilian Büsser and his team able to go on to future challenges while keeping the creative spark and momentum that comes with a compact organisation.

Steel was chosen to house the Legacy Machine N°1 Final Edition, a precedent that may well distinguish any future MB&F Final Edition.

Technical specifications

EVOLUTIONARY BRIDGE

The balance bridge of the Legacy Machine N°1 Final Edition is new in the LM1 series. It follows the aesthetic code premiered in the Legacy Machine 101, which has since been propagated in the LM2 series via its titanium incarnation, and in the Legacy Machine Perpetual.

The original LM1 came about as a reanimation of 19th-century design, particularly in association with technological advances. The openworked balance bridge, with its sharply defined angles, echoed the girders and crossbeams of industrial structures showcased at the famous World’s Fairs of that era. 

As the Legacy Machine collection grew into its own, its focus naturally shifted away from specific historical design references. A smoothly curved balance bridge with an elliptical cross section, milled from a single steel block and demonstrative of a high level of machining sophistication, was designed to fit the smaller proportions of the Legacy Machine 101.

Thereafter, it made its second appearance in the 2015 Legacy Machine Perpetual and again in the 2017 LM2 Titanium. The lithe, mirror polished arms of the redesigned balance bridge set it apart from the satin-finished bridge of the original LM1 — a small detail, seemingly, but one that magnifies the impact of the floating balance. The polished balance bridge clearly stands out against the sunray-finished base, cinematically emphasising the aerial poise and height of the balance.

Engine

Three-dimensional horological movement developed exclusively for MB&F by Chronode with bridge design and finishing specified by Kari Voutilainen

Manual winding with single mainspring barrel

Power reserve: 45 hours

Balance wheel: bespoke 14mm balance wheel with four traditional regulating screws floating above the movement and dials

Balance spring: traditional Breguet curve terminating in mobile stud holder

Balance frequency: 2.5 Hz / 18,000 bph

Number of components: 279

Number of jewels: 23Superlative hand finishing throughout respecting 19th century style; polished internal bevel angles highlightinghandcraft; polished bevels; Geneva waves; gold chatons with polished countersinks; hand-made engravings

 

Functions

Hours and minutes; completely independent dual time zones displayed on two dials; unique vertical power reserve

Left crown at 8 o'clock for setting time of left dial; right crown at 4 o'clock for setting time of right dial and winding

 

Case

18k red gold or white gold, platinum 950, grade 5 titanium or stainless steel.

Dimensions: 44mm diameter x 16mm height

Number of components: 65

 

Sapphire crystals

High domed sapphire crystal on top and sapphire crystal on back with anti-reflective coating on both sides

 

Strap and buckle

Black or brown hand-stitched alligator strap with 18k gold, platinum, titanium or stainless steel buckle matching the case.

 

Who's who

“Amazing. Maximilian Büsser is definitely an amazing person.” If you ask Laurent Picciotto to go over the main points of his history with the big man at MB&F, you’ll initially be met by a long silence and a pensive look. Where to begin? What about the first meeting, when “Max” was on a work placement at Jaeger-LeCoultre? When he was head of Harry Winston Watchmakers? When he transitioned to become a designer, bringing together the greatest watchmaking talent at MB&F? These are all stages in Max Büsser’s career; yet the person who passed through them has been so different in each role that it can sometimes be difficult to see the continuity. Be that as it may, the link between the two men was indeed first forged in Paris, twenty years ago. Laurent Picciotto had opened Chronopassion three years previously, laying the foundations for a brand that was to become a benchmark, but which at that time was pretty much a complete unknown beyond a tiny number of top watchmaking connoisseurs. Meanwhile the young Maximilian Büsser had just graduated from the Lausanne Federal Polytechnic School and joined Jaeger-LeCoultre. Büsser was enamoured with watchmaking mechanics. When he was in Paris, he went to see Chronopassion in rue Saint Honoré. “He stayed over three hours,” recalls Laurent Picciotto. “He was enthusiastic and inquisitive. He asked thousands of questions – he was an unusual young man and already knew a lot more about watchmaking culture than he was letting on.” Max Büsser worked in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Marketing department for seven years. He left in 1991 to move to Harry Winston. The 5th Avenue jewellers in New York City had already made some inroads into the watchmaking world, but without any major breakthroughs. The first timepieces dated back to 1989, but had failed to find much success. Output remained tiny, as the young Max Büsser sowed the seeds of high-class watchmaking at the jewellers. He was soon promoted to the position of Managing Director of the Rare Timepieces department. That was when the paths of the two men crossed again. “I was out for a walk in Geneva,” says Laurent Picciotto, “when a man in a car stopped next to me. He was no longer the young apprentice from Jaeger, but the CEO of Harry Winston Watchmakers. I didn’t recognise him – he’d completely changed, even physically! He really had taken on the stature of CEO. It was amazing.” The two men then saw each other every year during the course of Harry Winston business. The watchmaking part of the brand, driven by Max Büsser, gradually took shape, “but I was interested only in the Opuses,” says Laurent Picciotto with a smile. A friendship developed and when Max Büsser left Harry Winston in July 2005, a new chapter in it began. “Max told me about his new project, MB&F, standing for Maximilian Büsser & Friends. I said just three words to him: ‘I’ll follow you.’ He was a little surprised, as he didn’t have any immediate plans to establish the brand in France and he hadn’t even got the slightest prototype anywhere near ready!” Picciotto’s instinct was right, though. The first Horological Machine, HM1, came into being two years later in 2007. “This timepiece is difficult to apprehend – you need to put it on your wrist and wait a good quarter of an hour before being able make up your mind,” remembers Laurent Picciotto. The next part of the adventure is better known: four HMs and an LM, standing for Legacy Machine, a piece that pays tribute to watchmaking inventors. It is more aesthetically accessible but no less technically complicated for all that. Each MB&F item is the fruit of the greatest talents in top watchmaking, in terms of both watchmaking technology itself and design: Jean-François Mojon, Kari Voutilainen, Peter Speake-Marin, Laurent Besse, Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, Eric Giroud, and so on. “At the end of the day, MB&F timepieces really do need to be adopted by their owners. Max adds a touch of humour, born out of his uninhibited approach to watchmaking. It’s definitely a brand that brings a breath of fresh air to the watchmaking landscape, shaking it up to just the right degree,” concludes Laurent Picciotto.

 

Journalist : Olivier Müller

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