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MB&F LM2 Legacy Machine No. 2 Watch

MB&F LM2 Legacy Machine No. 2 Watch Watch Releases

Welcome to the LM2, the second “Legacy Machine” to exit the house of one of Geneva’s most forward thinking high-end watch brands. Let’s go back in time to the Legacy Machine No 1 for a moment. Two years ago I am sitting with MB&F founder Max Busser in a small room in Switzerland. A tray covered in a black polishing cloth means that Max is about to give me one of his famous presentations. Busser composes – with what I imagine is great delight – a unique presentation upon unveiling each new MB&F timepiece. His performances are legendary, and a key element in how so many people have become excited about the brand. Consider yourself lucky if you’ve had the opportunity to see Max in action.

“I imagined what MB&F would have been if I was born in 1876 versus 1976. The Legacy Machine is not the Horological Machine (the name given to MB&F’s thus released watches). The Legacy Machine collection is a total departure from what we have been designing until now.” Max isn’t kidding. Most all MB&F watches have been directly inspired by things Busser idolized as a child. Everything from planes, cars, and science fiction have been represented in HM1 through HM5 watches. The LM1 watch (debuted here) is profoundly different. It had a round case, classic design, and more traditional execution. Max Busser seemed to have made the anti-MB&F; a high-end watch that oddly enough might be considered to compete with contemporaries such as F.P Journe or Breguet. And it was of course a beauty.

MB&F LM2 Legacy Machine No. 2 Watch Watch Releases

aBlogtoWatch first went hands-on with the Legacy Machine No. 1 watch here. The LM1 is a timepiece that is very easy to admire if you are a watch lover. The lines are beautiful, the execution is delicious, and it looks fantastic on the wrist. We don’t just say that as MB&F fans (which we are), but from the perspective of someone who might not even like HM timepieces at all. The Legacy Machine collection series does exists completely outside of the rest of the brands’ offering. In 2011 MB&F promised that moving forward each year they would stagger the release of a new Horological Machine with a new Legacy Machine. 2012 saw the release of the HM5 (review here), and now in 2013 we see the Legacy Machine No. 2. Is the watch as distinct a timepiece as each new Horological Machine is? Not at all. If anything, the LM2 is a cousin to the LM1 that sits in the same case, was born in the same family, and trades one horological complication for another.

While the LM1 watch was about offering two distinct times (each independently set), the LM2 is about two balance wheels. Watch lovers will recognize the two adjacent balance wheels in a single movement as an attempt to create greater accuracy thou through averaging out the results of each. This is distinct and more modern than a principle called “resonance” which historic watch makers tried to apply. The concept dates back to the 18th century when the best watchmakers of the day were heedlessly seeking ways to produce the most accurate timepieces. Around this time Breguet invented the tourbillon with the same goal. Resonance was the idea that if you put two balance wheels in a movement and put them very close together, they would “balance” each other out and the average rate would be more accurate than the two independently because the average helped factor out errors. Like the tourbillon, executing this concept was technically challenging and in their era only a few were made. There is also no hard evidence that either the tourbillon or the dual balance wheels yield increased timing performance – but you can’t deny that each of this features is beautiful to look at.

MB&F LM2 Legacy Machine No. 2 Watch Watch Releases

Later, a more modern approach to the dual balance wheel concept was placing two balance wheels in a single watch that were connected by a differential. The mechanism has two independent balance wheels whose results are averaged out with a mechanical differential gear. The first time a set of dual balance wheels was placed into a wristwatch was in 1996 when famed Swiss watchmaker Philippe Dufour released the Duality watch. The Duality not only set the stage for more dual balance wheel watches in the futures, but also for a whole era of ultra-complicated wristwatches that celebrated exotic clock and pocket watch complications of the past in wristwatch form. MB&F follows what watchmakers such as F.P. Journe have done and have integrated a set of dual balance wheels into a watch presented in a way that only MB&F can accomplish.

The Legacy Machine No. 1 watch contained a large balance wheel that sat above the dial over the dial’s time dials. The LM2 now has two raised balance wheels that sit over the dial. The dial also has a single dial for the time, and an exposed planetary differential gear. We don’t know for absolute certainty right now, but it is highly likely that the differential gear moves constantly or tics like a seconds hand (actually, according to the video it does not, we will discuss that more with a hands-on article later). The symmetrical design of the dial is just as beautiful as the LM1. To be honest it would be a mistake to consider one of the Legacy Machines as being more or less beautiful than the other as they more or less represent the same design ethos. This is in a sense good, but those eager to be surprised and wowed each time MB&F releases a watch expecting something radically different may be let down as the two watches are so similar (save for price). Those individuals will have to wait for the HM6 – that as expected, will likely shock and impress as each new Horological Machine has done so far. Further, it may be plausible to suppose that new Legacy Machine watches will share a lot of similarities with each other – representing evolutions versus revolutions.

MB&F LM2 Legacy Machine No. 2 Watch Watch Releases

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  • Ariel, I am not sure that resonance has much to do with it in this case. Resonance would normally require the balance wheels to be very close to eachother (e.g. FP Journe), or to share a one-piece bridge (e.g. Haldimann double tourbillon).  Here it is really just a matter of averaging out the error of the two balance wheels (which are probably factory adjusted so that one advances slightly while the other is slightly slow) into a single gear train…

  • Ulysses31

    A beautiful masterpiece.  The blue variant makes it even more desirable, if that were possible.

  • Kris C

    I’m in love. And of course my favourite HAS to be the blue sunray dial (why don;t I even like the more economical variant… of anything) – it is the trophy wife of wristwatches. 
    The planetary gear is cool, but it looks like a bit of a harsh contrast to the swooping bridges and softer details found elsewhere on the dial – not awful, but it’s there . I certainly prefer the rising PR indicator on the LM1 to this gearing, but I’m not complaining. 

    A while back in a series of conversation snippets with Mr. Busser we learned that he’s got LMs and HMs planned out into almost double-digits, so am I alone in feeling like we’re taking a history lesson this morning, and not a look into the future?

  • Kar Wai Law


  • thegaarr

    Loupe System I believe that you are right as I once discussed this very matter with Stephen Forsey who was attempting to explain to me the mechanics of the Greubel Forsey quadruple tourbillon (uses a differential much like the Duality). He was particular about separating the two systems. The video itself shows how the beats of the two escape wheels are asynchronous. The differential is often compared to that of a car where the differential is used to transmit the power to the wheels while allowing them to rotate at different speeds. Essentially is has an equalising function in spite of the difference in rotation and amplitude.

  • jmsherer21

    Unbelievably beautiful.  I would love to see some on wrist pictures!

  • nateb123

    thegaarr Loupe System I can’t help but think that watch hobbyists have gotten much more educated in the last few years. No one used to be able to have a conversation about this sort of stuff unless they both worked in horology.

  • Bobwatch

    nateb123 thegaarr Loupe System 
    You are right. Nonetheless nobody noticed that the watch does not display the seconds, which is essential when talking about a precision instrument. This watch is therefore only a gimmick as it can not achieve the aim it should.

  • Bobwatch nateb123 thegaarr Loupe System 
    Actually, I do not agree. One thing is being able to tell the exact time up to the second, and in this regard you are correct that the LM2 will not allow you to have that. But much more important is to set your watch accurately (and you can do that pretty precisely by aligning the minute hand with the minute markers), and then have the watch REMAIN  accurate over time, which is the whole point of the LM2’s movement.

  • Kar Wai Law

    I would wear this watch and sit on my favourite chair and look at it the whole day..everyday..

  • Bobwatch

    Loupe System Bobwatch nateb123 thegaarr Do you know any old chronometer which hast not a second indication? The second indication is also mandatory to pass the COSC. If you want to check (at least visually) the accuracy of your watch, you need a second indication.  if you look closely to the construction of LM2 you will notice that the differential is not on the fourth wheel (like Dufour) but rather on the central wheel. The reason is that it is technically much much easier as the fourth wheel (the one which drives the second indication) is much more demanding as you have less energy than on the center wheel, for instance. This was a smart choice but you lose the second indication. My point is just that i.) yes it is a beautiful  watch ii.) no, it definitively cannot be compared to old precision watches with double escapement.

  • Bobwatch Loupe System nateb123 thegaarr 
    I do not think that anyone is claiming this watch to be a chronometer, nor to be COSC-certified.  The only claim being made is that it will keep a very accurate rate (more so than those with a single escapement,  in any case) over time due to its technical architecture. So I still do not agree with your original statement that the LM2 does not achieve its aim…

  • Loupe System Bobwatch nateb123 thegaarr Strictly speaking, I don’t think the actual buyers of the LM-2 will be buying it because it’s accuracy. In the same way that tourbillons supposed improvement in accuracy (back in Breguet’s day) is not a universally observed improvement these days over conventional escapements in high precision chronometers. Especially when coupled with a 3 Hz frequency. 
    This is for the cool factor, not the top spot in annual accuracy contests. Besides, you want accuracy, get a thermo-compensated quartz watch, not an MB&F LM or a GB tourbillion, etc. Cheers.

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