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MB&F Legacy Machine 1 Watches Hands-On

MB&F Legacy Machine 1 Watches Hands-On Hands-On

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.

MB&F Legacy Machine 1 Watches Hands-On Hands-On

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.

MB&F Legacy Machine 1 Watches Hands-On Hands-On

MB&F Legacy Machine 1 Watches Hands-On Hands-On

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.

MB&F Legacy Machine 1 Watches Hands-On Hands-On

MB&F Legacy Machine 1 Watches Hands-On Hands-On

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.

MB&F Legacy Machine 1 Watches Hands-On Hands-On

MB&F Legacy Machine 1 Watches Hands-On Hands-On

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 Legacy Machine 1 Watches Hands-On Hands-On

MB&F Legacy Machine 1 Watches Hands-On Hands-On

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.

About the Author

Fueled by an unshakable love for horology and a general curiosity for intricate things, Ariel Adams founded aBlogtoWatch in 2007 as a means of sharing his passion. Since then, ABTW has become the highest trafficked blog on luxury timepieces, and Ariel has become a contributor to other online publications such as Forbes, Departures and Tech Crunch, to name just a few. His conversational writing style and inclusive attitude brings a wider appreciation for watches the world over, and that's just the way he likes it.

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  • Greg

    It might have been a pain in the ass to shoot but the results are pretty good, some lovely shots there, Ariel.
    So how long did Mr. Busser give you this beauty for? Did you hide behind the sofa when they came for it back?

    • Ovidiu

      I remember an old joke (short version) about a guy, locked up in cell, who received two stainless steel balls from the guardian. Supposedly to make something out of them, have fun, etc.
      After a while the guard came to retrieve the balls but none of them where to be found!
      Asked about them, the prisoner simply raised his shoulders: “One I’ve misplaced and one got broken…”

    • Lol. They know I am responsible with their watches!

  • kris c

    Very nice – one of the most elegant looking insects I’ve ever seen.

    That muted texture on the dial (a’ la Louis Moinet) is a very nice touch – I missed that during our last look at this one.

  • MichaelG

    There are few pieces I lust to add to my collection, but this is certainly one of them.

  • Ulysses

    It’s just a beauty. All versions look great, though I prefer the gold one myself. The photography is spot-on too, perhaps the best pictures you’ve taken so far. You can really see the highlights of the watch clearly.

  • dshon

    I love MB&F and think KV is one of the greatest living watchmakers, but I don’t think the collaboration is successful. There’s no doubting the pedigree of the watch and the value you’re getting for your money, but the two produce such different watches that this makes little sense. It’s like forming a collaboration between Landrover and Ferrari- two great companies that really have very little in common. A collaboration between the two would be confusing and odd. That’s what we have here.

    • MichaelG

      Though I understand what you are saying and could agree to a certain point, the synergy of concepts is what I find most appealing. To boot, it’s been created with great taste and subtle luxury. I think it’s a classic in the making.

      • dshon

        I feel entirely differently- synergy is when two elements complement and enhance each other. Here we have the opposite: we have MB&F’s audacity being neutered by Kari’s classicism, and Kari’s classism being undercut by MB&F’s insistence on creating three-dimensional “machines.” Even worse, this watch resembles a watch from the man who best straddles the line between classism and audacity: FP Journe’s Resonance.

        Ultimately, this is a watch I would have to judge “in-the-metal.” Many watches look simply ok in pics but are astounding in person (e.g., AP Royal Oaks) and vice-versa (e.g., unfortunately, Mosers for me), and I have no doubt that KV worked his magic with the finishing of these watches. But even in this regard- I noticed that the price of this watch isn’t so far off from the price of the new 28 from Kari, even though it looks more complicated. I wonder if Kari finished these watches to a lesser (tho still superlative) standard.

    • kris c

      Love Landrover, don;t really like Ferrari, but if the 2 combined forces, there could be a pretty cool competitor to the LM002, no? Forget the Cayenne, thats just a soccer-mum’s grocery getter.

  • Jeff

    Have you tried using a polarizer? I could see it helping a fair bit.

  • Rocky Merritt

    Thanks for the great review and photos. There is an excellent video of this astonishing piece on

  • I like the design of these watch, indeed this brand is a trend and famous to other country. It’s a good quality and also have long life but it’s just expensive.

  • Rich B

    Simply awesome.