The original LMX celebrated the 10th anniversary of Legacy Machines, the second major collection by MB&F and a strong deviation from the modern-looking Horological Machines that put the brand on the map in the late 2000s. Seen here is the MB&F LMX Paris Edition, launched in collaboration with Laurent Picciotto and his Chronopassion boutique, one of the earliest and most dedicated supporters of Maximilian Büsser and his pioneering company. The latest LMX is, of course, highly technical, very tall, and really quite expensive — but also very purple.

We’ll cut right to the chase and show the LMX not head-on but from the side: It’s one of the most preposterous-looking watches one could ever wear, let alone conceive and produce. In true Legacy Machine fashion, most all of the movement’s parts are on the dial side, with the most important, the balance wheel, elevated high above not just the movement but the entire dial. It is supported by a wishbone-shaped bridge that arcs over all other furnishings of the dial to support the balance wheel from above.

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The 18k white gold case is but a thin veneer, making up a fraction of the entire thickness of the MB&F LMX Paris Edition, which is a whopping 21.4mm. The crystal must take ages to slowly and meticulously carve out from a solid block of sapphire, requiring exceptional care to ensure the outer and inner sides are of the same curvature to minimize unpleasant distortions. The dials, i.e., the actual dials used to tell the time, do not lie flat like on virtually every other watch but are standing upright, apparently balancing on their thin outer edge, like two coins about to topple over. This introduced the challenge of transferring drive from the movement’s horizontal plane onto the angle at which the hands are set — easier said than done.

Both dials of the MB&F LMX Paris Edition are painted with white lacquer, one with Arabic and the other with Roman numerals on it. Unlike on most dual-time watches where the minutes are linked and only the hours can be individually advanced in one-hour increments, here they function completely independently from each other. Each indication can be adjusted using its dedicated crown, so one can even be used as a timer by setting it to noon and starting from there.

Between the dials, we find the escapement of the watch with the escape wheel and the fourth wheel, secured by a little plate that is of the MB&F battle-axe design, a throwback to the self-winding rotor designs found on the early Horological Machines. Speaking of rotors, the MB&F LMX Paris Edition watch can only be wound by hand, but it makes up for that with a power reserve of seven days (168 hours). You’ll be reminded to wind it again by a unique hemispherical power reserve indicator — a nod to the vertical power reserve display on the first Legacy Machine. This novel three-dimensional display even comprises a day-of-the-week indicator: By turning the winding crown, the little display (situated on the center side of the hemisphere) can be adjusted even after the movement has been fully wound.

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If you were wondering what is going on with the caseback side of the movement — or “engine,” as MB&F likes to call its calibers — those are three barrels installed around a central ratchet wheel that incorporates a three-armed click spring in blue. This is MB&F’s way to wind the three barrels at once and ultimately provide the extended seven-day power reserve. Notably, the LM1 had just 45 hours of réserve de marche but was also 44mm-wide. This layout was also conceived to direct the LMX’s focus on symmetry at the movement. Re-engineering a movement so extensively to match the ethos of a watch while introducing technical advantages (with the extended power reserve) is something even the most highly regarded historic brands rarely, if ever, take on.

Movement finishing on the MB&F LMX is absolutely sublime, including every odd and unique component on the dial side. Even the bridge that forms the hemisphere for the power reserve display has a beveled and polished edge. The bridges that support the wheels dedicated to the time displays have domed and polished spokes, while their dished and golden chatons all have countersinks polished to perfection. The polished frames that wrap the lacquered dials complete the picture, even though these are not easy to spot when you have that gigantic and, again, polished bridge, holding an oscillating balance wheel so high up in the air.

On the wrist, the MB&F LMX Paris Edition looks mechanical and organic all at the same time. Although MB&F has already made a few frog-styled watches, there is something of that nature, at least to my eyes, to the LMX, especially in this venomous purple. It’s a 367-component living thing, with the escapement frantically ticking and the large, 13.4mm-wide balance wheel oscillating at its leisurely 2.5Hz — all on full display. Moving the wrist around and seeing the tall sapphire crystal reveal itself as well as the uncanny depth of the movement is a fantastic experience that makes one momentarily forget the dread of bashing this high-rising watch into walls, doors, handles, counters, and everything else that’s around.

The grayish-brown strap is a superb match to the vibrant watch head, while the glistening, warm tones of the 18k white gold case add a touch of old-school classiness to what otherwise is so clearly a no-holds-barred approach to watch design. That said, the MB&F LMX Paris Edition is an odd watch, even by MB&F standards — which is quite a feat — and it is difficult to imagine these get picked up by anyone other than seasoned collectors of the brand with an extraordinarily high threshold for horological impulses.

The world of watches is a more exciting and amazing place thanks in no small part to all the various Machines of MB&F, and the LMX naturally has its own role to play in that. It is also here to show us how far certain traditional and well-known components in watchmaking — such as a sapphire crystal, balance staff, or mainspring barrel layout — can be stretched with the right approach. Price for the MB&F LMX Paris Edition watch is 122,000 Euros excluding taxes and it is available in 15 individually numbered pieces at the Chronopassion boutique in Paris. You can learn more at the brand’s website.

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