Tripping Through Time With Three New MB&F Legacy Machine 101s
The newest versions of Max Büsser’s Jules Verne-meets-modern-sci-fi Legacy Machine 101 timepiece refine a singular vision of time-telling via an unorthodox design legacy of their own.
According to MB&F (Max Büsser and Friends) founder Max Büsser, the genesis of the watchmaker’s whimsical heritage-meets-modern Legacy Machine 101 (LM101) began with an appropriately whimsical question: “What would have happened if I had been born in 1867 instead of 1967?”
Büsser answered: “In the early 1900s, the first wristwatches appear, and I would want to create three-dimensional machines for the wrist. There are no Grendizers, Star Wars, or fighter jets for my inspiration, but I do have pocket watches, the Eiffel Tower, and Jules Verne. So what might my early 20th century machines look like? They had to be round (tradition) and three-dimensional (MB&F Machine): Legacy Machines are the answer.”
First introduced in 2014, the LM101 created a welcome disruption in the timepiece collecting world: an artfully fascinating deconstruction of the pocket watch, or even bell-jar-covered tabletop clock, with its mechanics delivered in a modern, compact (40mm) wristwatch. It was equal parts heritage, futuristic vision, and signature Max Büsser fantasy anchored by a gorgeous, suspended, open-flying 14mm balance wheel at its heart.
For this year, the LM101 evolves even further with new chromatically eye-drawing dial plates, slightly larger two-hand time and power reserve sub-dials (offset at 2 o’clock and 6 o’clock, respectively), and a double-hairspring-equipped central balance wheel. Plus, there is a new, more accessibly priced (comparatively) stainless steel version, to boot.
Of course, the dual-suspended flying balance wheel still comprises the beating heart of the new timepieces, both mechanically and visually. The twin bridges arch up from just behind 12 o’clock and 9 o’clock on the dial to bring the oscillating wheel centerstage and suspend it above the fray, so to speak.
A domed sapphire crystal protects the elevated movement. Although its expertly polished surface creates something of an optical illusion: It almost seems like you can reach out and touch the wheel itself. And while the crystal is domed, on side-view, the profile is still remarkably thin and shirt sleeve-friendly (16mm) despite the above-ground-level acrobatics.
Dimensionality also plays a part in the gleaming white sub-dials, now a bit larger this year. The classic Roman-numeral, blued-gold, dual-handed time display and the 45-hour retrograde power reserve indicator also “float” slightly above the dial plate.
Moreover, a translucent high-gloss lacquer process produces a gentle dome effect over the sub-dials themselves that mirrors the domed sapphire crystal. In this year’s new dial-color options, especially, the gleaming white sub-dials pop off the canvas even more than before.
She Comes In Colors
Sunray etched dials in rich purple (matched to an 18K white gold case), deep royal blue (which rides in an 18K 5N+ red gold case), and an airy light blue (teamed with the new stainless steel execution) provide their own light-catching drama. But, even when firing off a light show, the dials don’t detract from the headliner and provide a solid, colorful canvas to show off the dimensionality of the balance wheel and sub-dial high-wire act.
While it might be difficult to decouple the name of Jules Verne with the concept of “steampunk,” there are no extraneous old-timey gimmicks or gewgaws here. The effect is wholly clean, modern, and decidedly unique.
Pricing & Availability
The timepieces will have a limited production each year, with 30 versions in steel and 10 each in white and red gold. The 18K white gold version with a purple dial plate lists at $68,000; the 18K 5N+ red gold iteration with a royal blue dial plate, $68,000; and the stainless steel model with light blue dial plate, $56,000.
You can find out more about the 2021 versions of the Legacy Machine 101 via MB&F retailers worldwide and on the MB&F website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)