MB&F

Mar 15th, 2014

MB&F &  Horological Machines

MB&F’s futuristic Horological Machines have always had a firm foundation in the very best of traditional horology, but Büsser wanted to pay further homage to that rich tradition by imagining the type of timepiece he might create if he had been born 100 years earlier, in 1867 instead of 1967.

Maximilian Büsser has had a long affinity with pocket watches of the 18th and 19th centuries. Virtually all horological complications we see today were not only imagined in that period, they were developed using just paper and pen (no sophisticated computer programs), components were produced to extremely high precision using – by contemporary standards – fairly primitive machines (no electricity) and finely finished, assembled and regulated to an incredibly high quality that we still strive to match today. Their generous size compared with modern wristwatches allowed for uncluttered movement architectures with beautifully-shaped bridges and plates.

MB&F’s futuristic Horological Machines have always had a firm foundation in the very best of traditional horology, but Büsser wanted to pay further homage to that rich tradition by imagining the type of timepiece he might create if he had been born 100 years earlier, in 1867 instead of 1967. With its large, sedately oscillating balance, domed dials, historical bridge design and classical fine-finishing, Legacy Machine N°1 is the very contemporary, yet traditionally elegant, fruition of that dream.

LM1’s ingenious three-dimensional movement was specifically developed for MB&F from Maximilian Büsser’s sketches by Jean-François Mojon and his team at Chronode in Le Locle, Switzerland. The balance wheel and spring are at the very heart of any mechanical watch movement and are responsible for regulating timekeeping accuracy. Büsser has long been fascinated by the large, slowly oscillating – 18,000bph compared with the 28,800bph common today – balance wheels of antique pocket watches, so it was no surprise this was his starting point from which to let his imagination roam free. What was surprising though is just how radically he re-interpreted tradition by relocating the balance wheel from its more usual position hidden at the back of the movement to the top, majestically floating above the movement… even floating above the dials!

While the location of Legacy Machine N°1’s regulating organ may be considered avant-garde, ‘tradition’ is upheld by the large 14mm diameter balance wheel with regulating screws specifically developed for MB&F, balance spring with Breguet overcoil and mobile stud holder.

Another very special feature of the LM1 movement is the ability to set the two time zones completely independently. The vast majority of dual time zone movements only allow the hours to be independently adjusted, while a rare few offer setting to the half hour. Legacy Machine N°1 allows both hours and minutes of each dial to be set to whatever time the user wishes.

The vertical power reserve indicator on LM1 Xia Hang is driven by an ultra-flat differential with ceramic bearings, allowing for a slimmer complication and a more robust and longer-wearing mechanism.

LM1’s power reserve complication was modified to enable Xia Hang’s comma man to seamlessly transition from slumping right over when power is low to sitting up straight at full wind. Xia Hang first created full-size sculptures, which MB&F then scaled down to a height of just 4mm (1/8”) and then developed the articulation required. The head, shoulders, back and chest of ‘Mr. Up’ (as the power reserve indicator in known when wound), all bend down – thanks to a concealed hinge – towards the horizontal as he becomes tired and Mr. Up becomes Mr. Down. The tiny micro-mechanical sculpture is crafted from aluminium to minimise energy requirements. A very high polish ensures that the little man both catches the light and the eye, as well as remaining faithful to Xia Hang’s original conception. LM1’s power reserve complication was modified to enable Xia Hang’s comma man to seamlessly transition from slumping right over when power is low to sitting up straight at full wind. Xia Hang first created full-size sculptures, which MB&F then scaled down to a height of just 4mm (1/8”) and then developed the articulation required. The head, shoulders, back and chest of ‘Mr. Up’ (as the power reserve indicator in known when wound), all bend down – thanks to a concealed hinge – towards the horizontal as he becomes tired and Mr. Up becomes Mr. Down. The tiny micro-mechanical sculpture is crafted from aluminium to minimise energy requirements. A very high polish ensures that the little man both catches the light and the eye, as well as remaining faithful to Xia Hang’s original conception. In a spontaneous gesture by Xia Hang, each of the 24 pieces of LM1 Xia Hang – 12 in red gold and 12 in white gold – are accompanied by a pair of full-size (approximately 15cm / 6” high) sculptures of Mr. Up and Mr. Down in polished stainless steel and signed by the artist.

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