Introducing the MB&F x Bvlgari Legacy Machine Flying T AllegraBy Suan Futt Yeo
It begins with MB&F’s Legacy Machine FlyingT; the “T” is for “Tiffany”, wife of company founder Maximilian Büsser, and it is also for “tourbillon”. In creating the FlyingT, Busser proclaimed that his intention was not so much to design a women’s watch from considering what women want in a timepiece, but rather his personal expression of what he loves most about the women in his life – his mother, wife, and two daughters. Having succinctly reduced what he loves most about them to “energy and elegance”, the tourbillon would naturally be the central feature of such a watch. And in the MB&F spirit, it would have to be a tourbillon like no other.
Instead of executing a tourbillon that we might adore through an aperture of the dial, Busser chose to put the tourbillon on a pedestal, eschewing conventional radial movement architecture for a movement built along a vertical axis, pushing the centrally-positioned flying tourbillon (being anchored only at its base, without an upper bridge for the cage) beyond the confines of the dial plane, atop a machine column.
Through conical gears, energy is communicated from the heart of the columnar movement to a subsidiary dial at 7 o’clock, tilted at 50 degrees, to drive a pair of serpentine hands; intending time telling to be a discreet and private affair between watch and wearer.
This most unusual array of tourbillon and time display are capped by a dramatically domed sapphire crystal. Going down the stalk into the heart of the watch, the barrel is able to supply an impressive 100 hours of power reserve, through energy savings by reducing the number of gears. Going further down and visible from the display caseback is the sun-shaped oscillating weight, its radiating rays of sandblasted gold.
Such an ensemble, the first watch MB&F created exclusively for women, won the Prix de la Complication pour Dame at the 2019 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. Since launching the LM FlyingT in a trio of white gold editions, MB&F has released further variations, in red gold and platinum, and featuring guilloche and gemstone dial plates the likes of lapis lazuli and malachite.
This latest collaboration with Bvlgari just made this breath-taking ballroom watch even more luxurious, opulent, brimming with Bvlgari’s knack for expressing glamour and vitality through the language of coloured stones. For starters, the case of the LM FlyingT was entirely redesigned for a more “futuristic and opulent profile”. It has grown in diameter from 38.5mm of the original FlyingT to 39mm in this MB&F x Bvlgari edition, though case thickness remains the same. Then Bvlgari went to carpet the entire dial with snow-set diamonds, a fitting backdrop for the ring of coloured stones – tourmaline, tsavorite, diamonds, rubellite, amethyst, tanzanite and topaz – around the movement.
In pink or white gold case, this collaboration is limited to 20 pieces.
MB&F is a design powerhouse treading on the fringe, while Bvlgari is more traditional yet unconventional. An Italian sensibility that imparts something more dramatic and organic on whatever it touches? In any case, this collaboration between one that is boldly rewriting watch design with another that is naturally gifted with charisma and glamour has produced something complicatedly beautiful. I’m not sure if putting women on a pedestal is a good idea, but it certainly works for tourbillons, at least in this instance.
Movement: Self-winding MB&F FlyingT movement, 60-second tourbillon, 100 hours power reserve,
Functions: Hours, minutes
Case: 39mm x 20mm, 18K white gold or rose gold, set with diamonds, high domed sapphire crystal, display back, water resistant to 30 meters
Strap: Alligator leather strap with white or rose gold pin buckle matching the case.
Price and availability: TBA; limited edition of 20 pieces