Weather Alert: Introducing The Hypnotic MB&F Legacy Machine Thunderdome

Weather Alert: Introducing The Hypnotic MB&F Legacy Machine Thunderdome

For the first time, MB&F unites two legends to create the world's fastest triple-axis regulating mechanism. Recently, Watchonista went hands-on with this jaw-dropping timepiece.

By Viviana Shanks

MB&F has, for over 14 years, been at the top of horological creativity. Maximilian Büsser's brand follows his vision of creating a traditional watchmaking movement with a modern and artistic twist. With 30+ years of experience in the watch industry, Büsser partners with legends of the industry to create MB&F’s artistic timepieces. Last month, the brand launched the new Legacy Machine: The Thunderdome, marking the first collaboration between Eric Coudray and Kari Voutilainen, both friends of the brand.

Meteorological Wonder

Honestly, the first looks do not disappoint. On a stunning sky blue guilloché dial made by Kari Voutilainen, a mechanical tornado rages throughout its gears, pinions, and cages at the center of the aforementioned dial. This triple-axis regulator tourbillon (or, TriAx) is now the world fastest ever created, but it might also be the most atheistically pleasing to look at. The TriAx goes beyond the traditional tourbillon. 

Before jumping into this challenge together, Maximilian asked Eric Coudray to develop and create the, "craziest and most cinematic three-axis tourbillon ever." As a result of his request, this record-breaking new mechanism features three axes, all revolving at different speeds on different planes at 8, 12, and 20 seconds! It's a mesmerizing spectacle to behold as if you’re somehow looking at your own heart, beating excitedly, while looking at your wrist. 

Triple World First

With this mechanical wonder, MB&F delivers three watchmaking premieres. For starters, it is the first-ever collaboration between two watchmaking personalities, Eric Coudray and Kari Voutilainen. 

Widely known in the watchmaking industry for his talents in all things tourbillon, Eric Coudray was given carte blanche to develop the MB&F Thunderdome. Led by his imagination to create something never seen before and goes beyond the simple tourbillon, the movement was then built by Kari Voutilainen, who decided to combine it with the Potter escapement. By controlling the rate energy escapes the barrel through the use of a fixed escape wheel, the Potter escapement/tourbillon combination allowed the mechanism to rotate faster than ever before.

Pairing a tri-axial rotating mechanism with a fixed escape wheel is a world premiere, permitting the high-speed mechanism to make a full turn in 8 seconds (inner cage), 12 seconds (middle cage), and 20 seconds (outer cage). It’s enough to make you stare in wonder and forget you were about to check the time.


Another benefit of using the Potter escapement is that it frees up some space, allowing the tourbillon to rotate above the skillfully guillochéd, sky blue dial crafted by Kari Voutilainen. 

Learning From The Ladies

It’s no secret I have a serious crush on the Ladies Legacy Machine, so when I first discovered the Thunderdome, my initial thought was, “Wow, they made a male version of it.”  And indeed, while doing their research, MB&F realized that the domed case and glass shape was the most efficient for hosting the Thunderdome. For the first time, a men's timepiece has taken inspiration from a ladies’ timepiece without making it look too feminine.

Another striking similarity is the inclined dial in white lacquer, allowing only the wearer to see the time, yet still leaving the TriAx center stage of the Legacy Machine. 

Two Legends Become One

The Thunderdome is the result of four years of intensive research and development. And, the TriAx mechanism is Eric Coudray's imagination and Kari Voutilainen’s hand-drawn movement finally made ripe for picking. 

Joining these two legends was a no brainer for Maximilian. Eric's expertise in high-end watchmaking is well known in the watch world, especially after the groundbreaking development of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Gyrotourbillon in 2004. His unusual approach to the craft sets him apart from most traditional watchmakers, making him the perfect fit for this collaboration. 

Kari Voutilainen is a watchmaker that needs no introduction. Even at the beginning of his career, he was recognized for his talent, especially in the restoration of exceptional haute horlogerie timepieces. When he started his own watch company, his watches were a real success thanks to their refined aesthetics and personal interpretation of the Breguet escapement. Also, since 2011, he’s worked closely with MB&F to develop the Legacy Machine Collection. 

The MB&F Legacy Machine Thunderdome is limited to 33 pieces in platinum and is priced at $280,000 USD (270,000 CHF). 

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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