This is the MB&F Legacy Machine LM101 so many of us have been waiting for. Max Büsser and his gaggle of friends continually produce some of the most interesting timepieces and horological ephemera (see here and here) on the entire planet. Honestly, they are a shining light of true originality in this industry of regurgitation. That is, however, not to say that MB&F’s timepieces are easy to wear. Most of them are not.
But, Max took a significant step towards a wearable almost conservative timepiece with 2011’s Legacy Machine One. This new line of ROUND timepieces appeased the desire of many collectors, and you can hear all about it in the video below.
MB&F continued with an even more impressive round timepiece with last year’s LM2. You hear all about that incredible timepiece below in this video:
The thing is, with the incredible domed crystal and flying balance wheels, both LM1 and LM2 were still rather large pieces. They are both 44mm in diameter, which isn’t huge by today’s standards, but when you consider that most serious collectors of independent watches trend towards smaller pieces, it’s still on the large side. Today, MB&F has announced its smallest, most wearable timepiece yet: the Legacy Machine 101.
The LM101 is 40mm in diameter, and at first glance, looks like a pared-down version of the the LM1. Instead of two lacquer dials on the front, we now have one. Instead of a vertical power reserve indicator, we have a simple dial indication at 6 o’clock. But, one thing that isn’t lost on the LM101 is the enormous floating balance wheel visible from the front. In fact, the LM101 shows what could be described as the “essence” of a wristwatch: the time, the regulating organ (balance) and how much power remains int he mainspring (power reserve indicator).
In fact, the balance wheel on the LM101 is the exact same size as it is on the LM1 (14mm), though it looks larger because it takes up more of the dial. The winding and setting of the LM101 take place via a single crown at 4 o’clock, and the asymmetrical look allows the wearer to quickly view the time from under the cuff without revealing the entire dial.
The LM101 features a box sapphire crystal on the case back to help reduce thickness. Obviously, with a giant suspended balance wheel, the LM101 will never be a truly svelte timepiece, but at 16mm with a domed crystal, it does not wear thick at all. And, as you can see, it slides easily under a cuff.
BUT, the 40mm size of the LM101 is not the most interesting aspect of this new timepiece. The MB&F Legacy Machine LM101 is not simply a reduced version of the LM1 from a technical perspective. Nay, this is actually a brand new caliber that is vastly different from the LM101 in architecture, and is actually the very first movement designed completely in-house by MB&F.
MB&F has been one of the pioneering forces of transparency by declaring, from day one, that it was NOT a manufacture. Instead, it chose its partners carefully and worked with the best suppliers in each field, allowing them to create an incredible array of different movements without having to invest in the development themselves. The LM101 was conceived completely in house by MB&F, and that is very cool.
But that’s not to say MB&F didn’t call upon a few friends to help with some finishing – the LM101, just like the LM1 and LM2, is hand finished to an insanely high level by Mr. Kari Voutilainen. The movement is, not surprisingly, downright gorgeous. You’ll see undulating Geneva stripes, deeply polished bevels, and gorgeous countersunk blued screws.
The Legacy Machine 101 will be available in both white and rose gold. The rose version will feature a silver dial while the white version will feature a nice anthracite color. Both are absolutely gorgeous. The 40mm case is absolutely divine on the wrist (for me) and I simply couldn’t believe how well proportioned it was, even with the 16mm thickness and domed crystal. The piece was designed by Mr. Eric Giroud, who we visited in episode five of the Road To Basel video series.
The MB&F Legacy Machine LM101 is a very big step for MB&F for a few reasons. This is the smallest, most wearable, and least expensive timepiece from MB&F yet. It will be a massively successful commercial piece, I can guarantee you that. But, even more than that, the fact that MB&F is moving its movement development in-house is telling of what is yet to come. The price of the MB&F LM101 will be $59,000, and just 30 pieces of each color will be made each year. Shipments will begin at the end of this month. You can read more about the LM101 right here.