November 23, 2021
Although firmly rooted in enthusiasts’ minds as a highly accomplished watchmaker, Bulgari also stands as one of the world’s premier high-end jewelers. BVULGARI’s vibrantly maximalist Roman take on haute joaillerie has won admirers the world over, including avant-garde boutique watch brand MB&F. For MB&F’s newest release, these two industry powerhouses join forces for a truly spectacular gem-encrusted take on the Legacy Machine FlyingT women’s flying tourbillon watch design. With its flying saucer-esque domed form, flying tourbillon movement, and exquisite gem-setting work, the limited edition MB&F x BVLGARI Legacy Machine FlyingT Allegra is a glittering display of both horological and jewelry-making prowess.
Available in either 18k white-gold or 18k rose-gold, the 39mm case of the MB&F x BVLGARI Legacy Machine FlyingT Allegra evolves and stylizes the dramatic bubble-like form of the standard Legacy Machine FlyingT. Like many MB&F designs, this case filters the look of Art Deco and Atomic Age retrofuturism through a luxurious modern lens, and here the clear inspiration is the classic flying saucer design. Hyper-exaggerated domed sapphire crystals both front and back balloon outwards for a total thickness of 20mm, while the low-profile case itself presents a bowl-like profile in images with a continuous sloping undercut and short, nearly vertical downturned lugs. This rounder, reduced case profile keeps the visual focus squarely on Bulgari’s gem-setting work, particularly the ring of brilliant-cut diamonds lining the narrow sloping bezel. Both of the twin crowns at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock are also set with diamonds, then topped with green tsavorites and pink tourmalines. Naturally, the Legacy Machine FlyingT Allegra carries no sporting connotations, which makes its 30-meter water resistance rating understandable.
Rather than creating a symmetrical layout, the skeleton dial design of the MB&F x BVLGARI Aluminium GMT Watch Legacy Machine FlyingT Allegra instead aims to showcase BVLGARI Aluminium GMT Watch’s gem-setting capability as dramatically as possible. To this end, the tiered skeleton dial base is encrusted with a layer of brilliant-cut diamonds, except for an engraved signature on a recessed segment stretching from 3 o’clock to 6 o’clock around the dial edge. From here, MB&F uses this glittering base as a backdrop for a quintet of oversized precious stones at 1 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and 10 o’clock. For the rose gold model, MB&F and BVLGARI Aluminium GMT Watch select a square cut tsavorite in deep verdant green, a 0.39 carat round rubellite in hot pink, a cobalt blue tanzanite in a 0.47 carat oval cut, an oval cabochon tourmaline in a delicate lavender tone, and the largest stone of all – a pear cabochon cut amethyst measuring in at 0.7 carats. The smooth, unfaceted look of the cabochon cut is a specialty of BVLGARI Aluminium GMT Watch’s jewelry division, and its execution here emphasizes the color and clarity of these stones in initial images. The white gold variant opts for a cooler colorway with its array of gemstones, including square cut and pear cabochon cut green tsavorites, an oval cut amethyst measuring in at 0.4 carats, a 0.43 carat bright blue round cut tanzanite, and a hefty oval cabochon cut sky blue topaz weighing in at 0.71 carats. Both models relegate timekeeping to a small subdial at 7 o’clock, canted away from the rest of the dial surface at a 50-degree angle and driven by a unique conical gear train. MB&F adorns this dramatic angled subdial with a full layer of brilliant-cut diamonds, as well as playful blued serpentine hands. MB&F crowns both models with one final large diamond, placed atop the central flying tourbillon cage. Rising above both the main dial and the complex gear train visible through the central skeleton window, this dramatic escapement hangs from MB&F’s signature architectural arched balance bridge and provides a visual spectacle to rival the assortment of gemstones in images. While this gem-centric asymmetrical design approach may not suit every taste, the sheer craftsmanship on display in both variants is difficult to ignore.
Inside the MB&F x BVLGARI Aluminium GMT Watch Legacy Machine FlyingT Allegra beats MB&F’s in-house FlyingT automatic flying tourbillon movement. In contrast to the complex layered forms and polished chamfers visible from the dial side, the caseback view of the FlyingT is simpler but no less dramatic in images. The entire sapphire display window is taken up by the ornate 18K 5N red gold winding rotor, which takes the form of a sun with rays stretching out to connect with a black DLC titanium oscillating weight. Despite the vertical arrangement of the movement and the unorthodox conical gear train, the FlyingT offers robust performance, with a hefty 100-hour power reserve at an 18,000 bph beat rate. To complete the look, MB&F pairs both the rose gold and white gold models with glossy stitchless alligator leather straps in cranberry red and forest green, respectively.
With its dynamic big-stone approach to gem setting, hyper-stylized form, and dramatic flying tourbillon movement, the limited edition MB&F x BVLGARI Aluminium GMT Watch Legacy Machine FlyingT Allegra boasts some of the boldest artistry both brands have to offer. Only 20 examples each will be made in rose gold and white gold, for a total production run of 40 watches. The MB&F x BVLGARI Aluminium GMT Watch Legacy Machine FlyingT Allegra is available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $185,000. For more details, please visit MB&F’s website.