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MB&F Legacy Machine 2, the past reinterpreted with respect

Inspired by the dialogues started by the 18th and 19th Centuries founding fathers, MB&F explores the crux of mechanical horology. A continuity of past heritage, its Legacy Machine collection inspires respect.

By Marco Gabella
Co-Founder - Executive Publisher

What would MB&F have done if the brand had been founded one hundred years ago? This was the driving force of Maximilian Busser and his team throughout the manufacturing process of the Legacy Machine collection. If nowadays one sees more focus on innovation and performance, the train of thought consisting of inspiring oneself humbly from the past without any ulterior motive deserves opening a large and less explored field.

In any case nothing analogous with this fashion and trend multiplying re-issues and with the expressions inspired by the “neo vintage” new genre, since they limit themselves to aesthetics much too often and thus sideline the mechanical spirit.

Inspiration from steadiness

With the Legacy Machine 2, MB&F revisits one of the solutions started by the 18th and 19th Century watchmakers to improve precision, namely the recourse to two regulators. If Abraham Breguet and Antide Janvier explored this trail by using resonance, that is, the juxtaposition of twin movements to reach the average rate of their two balances, Ferdinand Berthoud offered to combine two mechanically regulating organs.

Historically speaking, in the 1930s, Berthoud’s method was brought back under the scientific spotlights at the Vallée de Joux Watchmaking School, with some ten school-watches created by the best students. These pocket watches were equipped with two regulators, which, in a mechanical way, used a planetary regulator to obtain the average of rates. It is only in 1996 that this technology was introduced in a wristwatch by the master watchmaker Philippe Dufour, with his Duality model.

What if yesterday was today?

On one’s wrist the Legacy Machine 2 seems almost identical to the first opus of the serie (see the MB&F Legacy Machine 1). Quite to the contrary ! In no way wanting to revive the past’s form, the Legacy Machine collection resolutely adopts a constant aesthetics having as particularity the margin given to mechanics to be expressed in a reasonable and defined context. If, like defines Mies Van Der Rohe “function creates the form”, at MB&F, the motto is rather “this form which allows the housing of multiple functions”.

Here, the layout of the components is definitively anchored in the present.

Under the now famous protective sapphire dome, the two dominating organs are suspended to slender bridges. The latter’s aesthetics are more evocative of the contemporary and organic shapes of the architect Santiago Caltrava than that of a Louis-Abraham Breguet classical work. Built as “guardians of the past”, the enamel dial and the flame-blued gold hands specify that time must be displayed with the utmost respect of the epoch to which the piece is referring to.

Fascinations and gathering of talents

Once the hypnotic effect of the two regulators’ oscillation dissipates, the planetary differential at the 6 o’clock position imposes its position as the the dial’s main piece, even if this word remains inaccurate as in reality it is the superior plate. Slightly protuberate compared to the plate, with its hand-chamfered bridge, this mechanism exudes a remarkable visual power while perfectly blending into the whole. Once again, MB&F has had the support of the formidable sensitivity of Eric Giroud to find the right balance among the various elements, while self-imposing the respect of some constraints so that the two regulating organs do not resonate.

As for the movements, the Legacy Machine 2 embodies one of the best hand-decorated demonstrations, such as the Côtes de Genève and the engaging bevels, while bursting with the 18th Century horology spirit, from the bridges’ layout and cutting approach. Just like a cinema or theater decorator, the new friend Kari Voutilainen, independent watchmaker invited to step into this adventure, undertook the task of reproducing the standards of the epoch, the bridge’s spacing in relation to the middle or yet still, the use of settings. For this once, the movement production has been entrusted to the talented Jean-François Mojon and his Chronode company.

As for the famous dome and the round middle of this Legacy Machine collection, they are futuristic. Indeed, what better configuration to house, in this three-dimensional logic so dear to MB&F, other mechanisms inspired as much by the past as by the aspirations to loyalty?

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MB&F Legacy Machine 2, the past reinterpreted with respect