Whoever coined the phrase “nice guys finish last” has obviously never met Max Büsser. When I first met the man, he was, to me, an absolute vision of resolute, genteel intellect. This was when Max was in Singapore in 2015, as part of the Rebels with a Cause event organized by The Hour Glass. On the best of Friday evenings, the beautiful L’Atelier at ION Orchard set the scene for intimate conversations.
I got to speak with Max briefly and took the opportunity to congratulate him on MB&F’s 10th anniversary. You know, those people that you meet in life sometimes, who have a whole other way of looking at the world and are in their positions of success because of that point of view? Well, that’s basically Max.
Max pointed out that De Bethune was by then a little over a decade old. With great respect, he then mentioned that URWERK’s Felix Baumgartner, who was also present at the event, had actually been working hard to get his work up to the fanfare it is surrounded today, eight long years prior to the conception of MB&F.
We also spoke of the nature of horology in the 21st century and the importance of continuity. To which Max reminded me that while continuity is good, we should always remain open and excited about what the next generation will create, rather than mere continuity. And, in a moment of clarity, it was no longer difficult to understand why an individual like Max has been able to produce the exemplary success that is MB&F. In the year 2021, MB&F marks its 16th year and incidentally, the 10th anniversary of its second family of timepieces, the Legacy Machine.
By the time Max was thinking about the Legacy Machines family, four Horological Machines had already gone ahead to create an impression in the minds of people of what MB&F represented. It is in the midst of this that Max set out to create a watch that would be — in his words — “much more classic. It’s about giving tribute to the great master watchmakers of 19th century.” He was spelling this out to the one and only, Kari Voutilainen. Max wanted Kari on the project for the LM 1, because the watch was meant to be all about a tribute to great master watchmakers, and therein, he had wanted someone on the project who had actually had a hand in restoring beautiful timepieces from the 18th and 19th century.
Kari’s initial response was a very cordial and polite one, saying that as honoured as he was, he simply could not afford the time. Unnerved, Max at this second took out the initial drawings he had with him of the LM 1 and put them in front of Kari. There it was, the first impression of the world’s first timepiece with a flying balance, a vertical power reserve and two totally independent time zones.
Max recounts that Kari paused in the moment and didn’t say a word, so Max probed, “If you had any thoughts or pointers; what would you do?” Kari proceed to reach for a pencil and started suggesting all sorts of ideas. “He’s mumbling to himself [at this point] and we’re just looking at him. Suddenly, he lifts his head up at and looks at us. It is then that I asked him, ‘does that mean you’re actually going to do it?’ And this enormous smile cracks up on his face, and he goes, ‘this… this I’m going to do.’” The rest, shall we say, is a legacy, that is now 10 years in the making.
The MB&F LMX
In marking the occasion, MB&F is introducing the LMX. “For the LMX. to celebrate 10 years, I thought it would be really great to basically take the original LM1, which is the beginning of the story and put it on steroids,” says Max.
He continues, “we took everything which made LM1, amazing: the flying balance wheel, the two time zones, which are completely independent, the vertical power reserve and we made them even more awesome. We started with the engine, giving it three barrels instead of one, giving us a total of seven days’ power reserve. The dials are all three dimensional, placed at an angle with our conical gear technology that we’ve started actually we started with this many years in 2014. And, the balance wheel, of course we had to redesign it. We took out the traditional screws and put a slot because it’s actually easier for the watchmakers to regulate. And on the base plate, we put the wheels of the minutes of the two time zones. So they’ve got these Kari inspired bridges, which are absolutely beautiful. And at the back, that’s the extra surprise, is the new power reserve indicator.
We had a vertical power reserve before, this one is also vertical but it’s the first ever rotating power reserve indicator. What I mean is that on one side, it’s engraved from one to seven) because of the seven day power reserve, on the other one is engraved Sunday to Monday. When you wind up your watch, and when you’ve finished winding up your watch, there is a clutch; normally with a hand winding watch, you stop you and can’t go further. So here, there’s a clutch, which opens up and the whole power reserve indicator starts turning on itself. And you decide how you want to see your power reserve.” And suddenly, you have a power reserve indicator that can also serve as a day indicator, if you have the watch fully wound, on a Sunday night.
The LMX will be made available in two limited launch editions: 18 pieces in polished 18k 5N+ red gold with black NAC treatment on plates and bridges and the second version, 33 pieces in polished grade 5 titanium with green CVD treatment on plates and bridges.
On the occasion, The Hour Glass in Singapore will also be hosting the MB&F 10 Years of Legacy Machine — A Retrospective Exhibition. The showcase will feature examples of every Legacy Machine produced to date, from 25 March to 15 April 2021 at L’Atelier by The Hour Glass.
MB&F and The Hour Glass present “10 Years of Legacy Machines – A Retrospective Exhibition”
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Legacy Machine collection, MB&F and long-standing retail partner The Hour Glass proudly present “10 Years of Legacy Machines, a Retrospective Exhibition”, taking place in Singapore from March 25th to April 15th. Launched in 2011, MB&F’s first Legacy Machine marked a significant evolution of the Geneva-based horological lab, inaugurating a more classic collection alongside its very unconventional Horological Machines.
Watch enthusiasts will be welcomed at L’Atelier by The Hour Glass , the boutique dedicated to independent watchmaking located in the heart of Orchard Road. Visitors will discover the first-ever retrospective collection of Legacy Machines, from the original Legacy Machine No1 created in 2011 to the new LMX, which will be released officially on the eve of the exhibition. No less than 23 different Legacy Machine models will be on display, including pieces sent especially for the exhibition from MB&F headquarters in Geneva.
25 March – 15 April 2021 (Open to Public)
L’Atelier by The Hour Glass
2 Orchard Turn #03-06 ION Orchard, 238801
More information: thehourglass.com
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 hand craft; 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.
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
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.