I’d first like to note that while the LM1 watch is lovely to look at, it is a pain in the ass to photograph – thanks Max! I finally got some hands-on time with MB&F’s new watch and collection: the Legacy Machine Number 1 that I originally discussed here. Nothing like the Horological Machine collection, the Legacy Collection unties the brand’s hands from offering futuristic designs exclusively. A passion for Max Busser of MB&F is also classicism, and he has been wanting to offer some fascinating classic designs for a while. As such, moving forward MB&F will be free to look into the past (with the Legacy Machines) as well as future (with the Horological Machines) at the same time.
The liberating experience for MB&F has resulted in what I believe to be their most wearable piece ever. At 44mm wide with a clean and easy to read set of dials, the Legacy Machine No. 1 is actually a solid daily wear. Having said that I also think that the HM4 Thunderbolt is a solid daily wear (but just for another type of person). In essence the LM1 is a simple watch in a round case. Of course the MB&F panache for design and finishing takes the watch to another plane – so in truth, it would be silly to say it is just another round watch with a snazzy dial. Though I say that knowing what else it out there. For this watch especially, you need to be rather familiar with the luxury watch landscape to appreciate both the concept and its refined design.
On the wrist the impressive LM1 wears larger than I anticipated. I was expecting a small MB&F timepiece given the 44mm wide case width – and I was wrong. The boldness I’ve come to expect from the brand is not lacking at all. I’ve also almost never seen before such a richly domed sapphire crystal. MB&F has it generously coated with anti-reflective material, but it still picks up light – hence the difficulty in photographing it. Nevertheless, it still has a clear look and reading the dial while viewing the balance wheel are easy and enjoyable.
Looking at these pictures I’ve taken make me feel as though I did a good job with the photography. Though in reality I want to credit the watches as much as my camera. The design offers a lot of beautiful real estate for polish, generous curves angles, and compelling color contrasts. All the elements on the dial and movements are clear and visible. In fact, the whole concept of the dial is to bring the balance wheel to the front. Not only that, but the design of the movement has been able to separate the anchor and escapement wheel from the balance. There are right there on the dial like there were meant to be there all along. Seeing their constant movement is a pleasure, and something one cannot at all gleam from seeing still images of the Legacy Machines 1 watches.
This ongoing visual movement on the dial really makes these watches impressive. In the video you can see more of that. The arch structure that holds the balance wheel looks pretty cool, and everyone seems to love the linear power reserve indicator. Detailing all over the Legacy Machine Number 1 watch is impressive. The transition between polish to brushed surfaces is crisp and on the movement Kari’s team did an excellent job making it sparkle and appear like something sensually polished from two centuries ago.
Even though each of the time dials is partially obstructed, reading the time is very simple on the clean white dial. The blued steel hands shine with quality, but I wish that the minute hands were just a bit longer. Still, the hours hands are of a different shape so legibility is still high. Setting the time is easy and smooth with each of the crowns. Operating the watch is intuitive and something I could do daily.
Coming in 18k rose gold or white gold, the MB&F Legacy Machine No. 1 has a different personality in each of the metals. The rose gold model feels a bit more stately while the white gold one has a cooler, smooth look to it. Plus, the white gold model has a slightly darker face, while the rose gold model has a lighter face and a blued steel escapement. Try each of them on to see which is right for you. Attached to the case is a really great looking alligator strap – that is actually padded. You don’t often have straps like this that actually feel padded. There is a distinctly luxurious feel that goes with putting one of these watches on your wrist.
MB&F succeeded in doing something that I think is very hard – making a traditional looking watch actually cool. Not just look nice, but actually be cool and hip. You don’t need to be old or wear a suit to pull this off. You just need to have a strong personality and be confident. The Legacy Machine 1 will take care of the rest. For more technical details see my initial post of the MB&F LM1 watches here. Price once again is $92,000.