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MB&F Legacy Machine 101 – Tasting the perfection

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January 2024innovations
MB&F Legacy Machine 101 – Tasting the perfection

The new generation of Legacy Machine 101

If he hadn’t become a brilliant watchmaker, Maximilian Büsser might have been a chef. One of those creative chefs who love to deconstruct their dishes, separating, extrapolating and reconstructing the ingredients in their own way. Imagine that this gourmet dish is a watch: it could be the Legacy Machine 101 by MB&F, because it partly overturns the idea of haute horology that ordinary people have in mind. Those who choose to buy an MB&F are like those who know that, entering a starred restaurant, they will not find the usual lasagna. But let’s go step by step…

The balance wheel is the protagonist

The Legacy Machine 101, or LM101, was presented in 2014 as one of MB&F’s most compact Machines. The 40 mm diameter of the case makes it clear that the dimensions of this watch are far from Büsser standards, as well as containing the first caliber entirely conceived in-house by the MB&F design team. But what does a deconstructed dish have to do with the LM101?

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Simple as when, in a course, the main ingredient usually hidden is highlighted by the chef: here, the balance wheel, which in traditional aesthetics and mechanics is hidden behind the movement, in the LM101 floats above it and above the dial.

It is as if the beating heart of the machine came out of its seat to beat only for the eyes of the wearer. The watch does this with a mechanism which is totally new if compared to that of the Legacy Machine No.1, which inspired MB&F to create the manual winding caliber of the LM101.

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Between history and modernity

This mechanics owes so much to the lesson of historical watchmaking because, as many know, Maximilian Büsser loves pocket watches from the 18th and 19th centuries, so much so that his Legacy Machines are born from the question he asked himself: «What would have happened if I had been born in 1867 instead of 1967»? A question whose answer is not only aesthetic, but above all technical, starting right from the balance wheel. As in the watches of yesteryear, in the LM101 it is generously sized (14 mm, with four traditional regulating screws floating above the movement) and low frequency, because it beats at 18,000 vibrations / hour. But it is a heap of technology, starting from the hairspring.

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It features a traditional Breguet curve which, in the 2021 editions – the ones we are talking about in this article – it is a double Straumann hairspring, named in homage to prof. Reinhard Straumann, who patented Nivarox and related manufacturing technologies. It comes from the collaboration between Moser and Precision Engineering and is a double hairspring escapement; it counteracts gravitational influences on movement, as well as being a system of interchangeability of the escapement module itself, which prevents the barrel from discharging uncontrollably.

It is more complicated to tell it than to discover its effect on the watch: the 45-hour power reserve of the caliber (whose aesthetics and finishes have been crafted by Kari Voutilainen) are more than enough for the timepiece’s refined vocation. Speaking of movement, as always happens with MB&F the quality with which the various parts are finished is the same the brand puts into the dial. It is made by hand following the style of the nineteenth century, it has internal bevel angles that highlight the hand craft, polished bevels, classic Côtes de Genève finishes and handmade engravings. If the comparison between a renowned chef and a master watchmaker still does not convince you, we hope that now you begin to persuade yourself…

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Voutilainen also respected tradition by creating the bridges with elegantly curved shapes and, as per tradition, by leaving a wide space between the bridges and between the perimeter of the bridges and the case. A work of art that was signed on the bridges by the artist who worked on it and which is visible through the sapphire crystal case back.

Spotlights on the dial

The dial itself is also a work of art. It is dominated by the large suspended balance wheel that accentuates the three-dimensionality of the watch, not minimizing the impact neither of the hour and minute dial nor of that of the power reserve, with their blued-gold hands. Indeed, these dials accentuate this three-dimensional effect thanks to their rounded shape and the so-called “laque tendue” process, in which multiple layers of lacquer are applied and heated, causing them to stretch over the surface of the dials. Together with all this, the sophisticated screwless fixing system of the counters, the extremely convex glass and the sunray pattern engraved on the top of the plate increase the depth of the whole dial, so that its elements seem to float in a vacuum.

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Indeed, they float in a colorful sea. Because the 2021 versions of the Legacy Machine 101 combine the classicism of the shapes and the genius of the technical solutions with a touch of very modern color. The version with a red gold case has a royal blue dial, while the one with a white gold case has an incredibly seductive purple dial, which in the steel version is a beautiful light blue. A shock to the wrist, colors more contemporary than those of the first editions in platinum, palladium, red gold and white gold or the “Frosted” versions, although beautiful.

Just details?

Finally, to talk about the straps, I come back to the haute cuisine. Do you have in mind those beautiful dishes, in which the main preparation overshadows the decorative details such as a mint leaf, balsamic vinegar, a special sauce? Details without which, however, the presentation would lose value? Here, the alligator strap of the LM101 – black, blue, brown – is not just a detail but a basic part in the aesthetic balance of the timepiece.

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In short, did you understand? We like this watch because it is an MB&F to its core. If the F of MB&F means “Friends”, here the friends of Max Büsser, from Voutilainen to Moser, certainly didn’t save themselves. Like the sous chefs (and what a sous chef!) of a starred brigade, they worked to aim for excellence. And if you don’t want to eat in a starred restaurant, we hope that after reading this article you want to go into a watch boutique and try live on your wrist this Legacy Machine 101.

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