May 11, 2021
Since its introduction in 2014, the MB&F LM101 line has been a cornerstone of the boutique brand’s offerings, providing a traditional but still spectacular foil to the more outlandish creations in the lineup’s upper echelons. For 2021, the brand has returned to this relatively simpler series, refining and purifying the concept for a cleaner look and introducing the first stainless steel variant in the series. The new MB&F LM101 models for 2021 offer a fresher, more focused style for the iconic suspended balance design, with new materials, colors and reworked forms.
The proportions of the MB&F LM101’s 40mm case have been massaged for 2021, with the aim of focusing visual attention as much as possible on the dial. To this end, the sloping polished bezel of previous models is markedly narrower than previous iterations, which should lead to a wider, more substantial feeling on the wrist. Most of the overall case geometry and finishing should feel familiar to fans of the brand, however. The contrast brushing on the central caseband and the sides of the sharply downturned attached lugs is a series staple, but naturally the centerpiece of the case is the massive domed sapphire crystal. Leading to an overall height of 16mm, this bubble-like arrangement is carried over into these new models, creating a sense of both continuity and visual spectacle in images. MB&F renders this slightly reinterpreted case in 18K white gold, 18K 5N+ red gold, and for the first time in the series, stainless steel.
Technically the MB&F LM101 uses a skeleton dial design, as the majority of the surface under the crystal is a decorated movement plate, but the finished look is radically different from a traditional skeleton watch. Like the cases, MB&F refines and simplifies the LM101’s dial designs for 2021, removing the engraved “Legacy Machine” script previously engraved on the movement plate and enlarging the subdials for easier reading and a more balanced look in images. The LM101’s signature suspended balance wheel is also redesigned, maintaining the soaring and elegant polished balance bridge of previous iterations but adding the innovative double hairspring concept pioneered by H. Moser & Cie. All three new models share the same subdial treatment, with a milky white domed lacquer finish, delicate printed Roman numerals for the hours, and an unorthodox arrow and leaf handset in blued gold. The slightly increased diameters of both the timekeeping and power reserve subdials give these elements more room to breathe in initial images, and help to solve the borderline empty feel created by the removal of the movement plate engraving. While the intricate movement plate engraving of previous LM101 generations may be gone, MB&F pairs each new case material with a unique arabesque wave movement plate finish. The 18K white gold model may well be the most striking of the bunch, with a richly saturated violet tone, but the 18K red gold model’s royal blue and the stainless steel version’s lighter shade of Capri blue complement the qualities of each case material handsomely.
The handwound LM101 movement inside the MB&F LM101 series was the brand’s first movement designed entirely by its in-house movement team, and like the rest of the watch this powerplant receives a facelift for 2021. The most noticeable new elements here are the movement bridges, which now sport a deep graphite gray NAC finish courtesy of brand partner Kari Voutilainen. The flowing, ornate forms of the bridges and their Côtes de Genève surfacing remain unchanged, but this new darker tone allows the gold elements of the gear train, as well as the gold chatons and rubies, to visually pop in initial images. Performance is similar to previous versions, however, with a 45-hour power reserve at a relaxed 18,000 bph beat rate. MB&F pairs all three models with alligator or calf leather straps in black or deep mahogany brown.
While remaining true to its stylistic roots, the trio of new MB&F LM101 models for 2021 offers a cleaner, more focused vision of a modern watchmaking classic. All three models in the 2021 MB&F LM101 line are available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the new stainless steel MB&F LM101 is $56,000, while both the white gold and red gold models retail for $68,000. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.