MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On

MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On

MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Less than a year ago, aBlogtoWatch debuted the MB&F LM101 watch, the brand's new entry-level Legacy Machine watch model, and for 2015, MB&F continues the LM101 family with a new model called the MB&F LM101 Frost - which also happens to include MB&F's first timepiece offered in an 18k yellow gold case.

MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On

While the prominence of 18k rose/red/pink gold is not surprising, I am curious as to why yellow gold seemed to fall out of favor with so many brands. It isn't that you can't get 18k yellow gold watches (Rolex has a few nice ones), but they are much less common compared to alloys like rose gold. Anyhow, the limited edition MB&F LM101 Frost comes in either 18k red gold or yellow gold.

MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The "Frost" name of the MB&F LM101 Frost refers to the particular finishing technique applied to the dial. MB&F points out that the dial of the MB&F LM101 Frost watch is actually the back of the movement's mainplate. "Frosted" surfaces are a texture you don't seen very often on today's watches, but movements are where you would normally see it. In rare instances, you'll find frost-finished surfaces such as on watches from Roger Smith like this George Daniels 35th Anniversary Watch.

MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On

MB&F doesn't apply frost-finishing to the movement but, rather, to just the dial. Come to think of it, I can't think of any other watches that have dials with this finishing. I wonder if there are others out there. For watch collectors, the design is reminiscent of antique pocket watches from the era of Abraham-Louis Breguet. I've seen this finishing on his watches as well as those on pocket watches and other timepieces from some of his contemporaries. MB&F makes a very literal "legacy statement" for the MB&F LM101 Frost by applying this finishing to the dials.

MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The dials/movement plates are in 18k gold as well, and meant to match the case material of the watch. This adds a new harmonious looks to the MB&F LM101 Frost that did not exist with the previous models. It changes the nature of the watch, and these are certainly a bit more "blingy," being gold on gold. I wouldn't call them gaudy, though, as they take on a more traditional look which calls attention more in the sense of visual fascination versus pure status items. I think the MB&F LM101 Frost watches add an interesting look to the brand, even though they aren't what I would call "traditionally MB&F designs." In my opinion, the popularity of the Legacy Machine watches added a new tangential personality to the MB&F brand which is distinct and in some ways separate from its Horological Machine (HM) personality.

MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On

MB&F uses the LM101 movement inside of the MB&F LM101 Frost watches which was totally designed by MB&F and is produced and finished with the oversight of watchmaker Kari Voutilainen - whose work we rather adore. The beautiful movement design uses a lot of attractive hand-finishing and is meant to really emphasize some of the features in classic movements collectors enjoy such as gold chatons, large ruby stones, dramatically curved and beveled bridge edges, and blued steel screws.

MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The movement operates at 18,000 bph (2.5Hz) with a large 14mm-wide balance wheel operating in the center of the dial and held above the main dial with an elevated bridge. The movement is manually wound with 45 hours of power reserve. The face of the watch offers a lot of space to enjoy the frosted surfacing, with a power reserve indicator dial at 6 o'clock as well as an off-center dial for the time.

MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Given the exposed escapement and balance wheel, the dial has a lot of visual beauty and movement. While I still like the MB&F LM1 the best, the LM101 offers an interesting and balanced, albeit asymmetrical dial design. It is worth noting that the frost dial is hand finished. While various techniques have been used in the past to attain a similar look (some of them quite toxic), the MB&F LM101 Frost dial is made using a metal brush tool which is used to carefully create the dial. The challenge in this hand-made approach is getting the entire dial to look even.

MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Unlike the larger 44mm-wide LM1 or LM2 watches, the MB&F LM101 has a smaller case size of 40mm wide - making it still the smallest MB&F timepiece available. With that said, it doesn't wear too small because of the thickness of the case, which is 16mm, thanks to the impressively domed sapphire crystal over the dial. The elegant curves of the LM1 and LM2 case continue to look good when scaled down to this smaller size.

MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On

It took a while of looking at these watches, but I've come to really enjoy the MB&F LM101, especially because of the MB&F LM101 Frost models. At first, the LM101 was a bit too simple for me and I wasn't a huge fan of the asymmetric dial, but when done properly as with these gold MB&F LM101 Frost models, I think it is a very engaging and attractive model for perhaps even formal attire - that isn't something you can easily say about most MB&F watches.

MB&F LM101 Frost Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Each of the MB&F LM101 Frost watches is attached to a dark or light brown alligator strap, depending on the gold color. As limited editions, MB&F will product 33 pieces of the MB&F LM101 Frost in 18k red gold and just 18 pieces in 18k yellow gold. Price for each is $64,000. mbandf.com

What do you think?
  • Interesting (1)
  • I want it! (1)
  • Thumbs up (0)
  • Classy (0)
  • I love it! (0)
  • iamcalledryan

    Damn that sapphire crystal is anti reflective! Looks like they hadn’t even attached them to the watch yet! I love the LM’s, they have all of the playful charm of an horological machine, but harken back to the days of full plate movements with just the escapement showing through. The frosted look on the dial is nice. This mottled effect is becoming more popular with brands like Jaeger LeCoultre and Patek already sporting them on the dials of their recent releases. I have yet to view it in the flesh, but it is interesting that laymen tend to view it as cheap looking. I for one think that dial surfaces are a key battleground for innovation at the moment (enamel, feather, meteorite!) and I welcome the competition.

  • Very nice. It displays more as a non-functional display rather than an actual working watch: all of the parts of the dial seemed to be placed just so, but not actually attached. It makes for a very interesting appearance.
    And for as ‘uncomplicated’ as this might be, good luck explaining what the hell is going on here to a non watch nerd.
    I actually like the red gold case and dial quite a bit, but I would have added the burgundy finished gator strap to it, and the brown on to the more traditional yellow gold case.

  • SantiagoT

    My favorite of all MB&F’s creations, particularly the red gold version. Actually, having had them on, almost only the red gold version.

    @aBlogtoWatch Ariel, if I’m not wrong the first Picadilly watches from Speake Marin had frosted dials.

  • DG Cayse

    iamcalledryan Yeah…what he said.

  • sigp226

    I thought they were not covered with a crystal as well and was thinking “Well, that’s really putting yourself out there…”.
    It has so many elements I do not care for, for example Roman numerals, a very small dial, ellipses…. (irony intended) but I am still drawn to the face and would stare at it for hours on end.

  • thornwood36

    It must be a nightmare for the design team given that a timepiece only does one thing, and that’s tell the time. ( with the odd complication thrown in )  How are we going to be different and still hold on to out own particular look. MB&F i think has done it. this is just divine to look at both front and back, the domed crystal is invisible.. Stripped down to just the gorgeous in house movement. i wish i was rich.

  • Ulysses31

    While this is great and all, it feels like a heavily stripped-down LM1/LM2.  There’s a lot of empty space as a result, and so the sub-dials look a bit odd standing there on their own.  I prefer the more intricate and detailed models.  The crystal is impressive in that it is hard to see, but it is also a little off-putting, as the delicate parts that stick out of the dial look more vulnerable.

  • SoHauteViteNow

    Okay..I hesitate to say this because these things are out of the financial reach of nearly everyone, but @ $64k MB&F is the greatest relative “Bargin” in the watch world. 

    They are just the coolest company, and Max is the only watchmaker in the world I would actually want to meet. For a very wierd and socially unaware industry, it is nice for a change to have companies like MB&F around to remind us why this sort of art/engineering can be amazing without the pretentious attitude that generally doesn’t translate well to the the average person. 

    Though I could never begin to afford something like that, it’s the only brand wherein those with the means to actually afford something like this could do so and I (and maybe a few others?) would actually understand.

  • Fraser Petrick

    Gorgeous, no doubt. Unusual and nifty, no doubt. I want one, no doubt. Seeing as the dial is only the width of a finger, and with my eyesight, perhaps I’d carry a pocket watch if I wanted to tell the time.

  • bigsam2035

    Nice. Really nice. A delightful horologist piece. Wish it was more  affordable.

  • IanE

    These would be really nice watches if only the balance wheel bridge didn’t clash with the gold – and if it looked better made! What a shame.

  • spiceballs

    The back is nice and that front glass cover is amazing, as are the pix.  Nicely done Ariel.

  • notech47

    The question remains; what is the value of this wrist instrument after 5 or 10 years? Do buyers really care?

  • iamcalledryan

    notech47  Absolutely – MB&Fs of today are very likely to hold their value well in many years to come. That does not apply to all brands that decide to design avant guarde watches – you have to hold your brand value high for the duration, and this is done by manufacturing to the highest quality – Putting Voutilainen on the movement comes at a cost, but that alone will guarantee a slow depreciation or even an appreciation over the years.

  • WimadS

    Ok, this one goes straight to the top of the grail list! Amazing watch!
    Properly sized, balanced design and most of all simple, yet unique. What else would you want?

  • flaviothepage

    The movement looks “frosted” to me. Is it bead blasted?

  • As ludic watches go, I much prefer such a floating balance wheel and visible escapement than a tourbillon sunk in the dial.

  • notech47

    Ludic…. spontaneously playful for 64K. Is their any logic to these types of watches?

  • egznyc

    Ludic indeed. I had to look it up, as at first I thought it was a typo and you meant to write “lucid.” However you describe it, I find this a really unusual design: avant garde dial with balance wheel right in the middle on top of everything, and a beautiful old-fashioned case back. Voutilainen is clearly a craftsman of the first order.
    Maybe I don’t love this piece but I find it endlessly fascinating. If I had millions in my nest egg, I would probably get one (such small production runs to boot!), but alas I don’t.