Just under a year ago, and on the heels of the incredible unveiling of the Legacy Machine No. 1 Xia Hang (which you can read about here), MB&F unveiled the LM101 — one of the most classically clean timepieces ever to hail from this space-age-minded brand. That watch, in a 40mm case, focused squarely on offering a futuristic look at historical watchmaking– with specific attention paid to three key elements: the balance wheel (responsible for the precision and accuracy of the watch’s timekeeping function), the time indication, and the power reserve. The result is a caliber that combines historic feats with futuristic design.
Now, MB&F unveils a new rendition of the Legacy Machine (LM) 101 — the LM 101 Frost Limited Edition. Frost, like its predecessor, takes the wrist watch’s true essence (the balance wheel and timing) and showcases it as the hero. The dynamics of that incredible movement have not changed. This time, however, the amazing movement stands out against an incredible, refreshing frosted dial. That dial is the hero in this timepiece — as it is one of the more difficult feats to achieve.
The frosting concept dates back to the early 1800s, when watches were not treated and their dials would oxidize. To protect against that, watchmakers would basically scratch the movement plate and bridges to make them more resistant. This was dangerously achieved by combining a precarious acidic mixture and an open flame. The process gave the components a shimmering frosted look. As the centuries passed and better techniques (and judgment) prevailed and newer, more delicate methods of frosting took hold. Still, it is a craft that only a few specialized artisans specialize in. While some achieve the look via wire brushing, MB&F — to no one’s surprise — takes a different approach.
To achieve the frosting in this watch, metal compression — making the surface harder — is the preferred mode. Then, a sweeping wire is brushed across the manipulate (which some would call the dial in this watch) to produce the visually arresting frosted finish on the LM101 Frost. It is a method that requires extreme precision and craftsmanship to ensure the uniform desired matte finish.
The cool frosted look provides an exquisite backdrop to compliment the superb mechanism that is the heart of the timepiece. Juxtaposed to the frosting are two immaculate off-center white dials that display the hour/minutes and power reserve — all with blued gold hands. This classic elegance regally sits beneath the incredible are suspended balance wheel and mainspring. There are two versions of the LM 1010 Frost watch: 33 pieces will be created in 18-karat 5N rose gold; 18 pieces of this visually decadent watch will be made in yellow gold. This marks the first time that MB&F works in yellow gold.
As is the case with MB&F — Max Busser and Friends — many “friends” were brought in to achieve this piece. Kari Voutilainen –well known watch expert who has worked with MB&F on the aesthitecs and finishing of all the Legacy Machines — brought in artisan Jose Labarga to achieve the frosting.
While the front of this timepiece is so alluring, the back leaves nothing to the imagination. Such details of historical integrity involve the countersunk gold chatons (typically seen in pocket watches) and blued steel screws. The Legacy Machine movement contains 229 components, complete with 23 jewels — all of which sit inside the well-sized 40mm casing guarded by a seemingly invisible domed sapphire crystal. This limited edition frosted majestic masterpiece rings in at a cool $64,000 and is a true horological complication for the future, inspired from the past.
Three-dimensional movement developed in-house by MB&F Movement aesthetics and finish specifications: Kari Voutilainen Manual winding with single mainspring barrel
Power reserve: 45 hours
Balance wheel: Bespoke 14mm balance wheel with four traditional regulating screws floating above the movement and dials
Balance spring: traditional Breguet curve terminating in mobile stud holder
Balance frequency: 18,000 bph / 2.5 Hz
Number of components: 229 components
Number of jewels: 23
Chatons: gold chatons with polished countersinks
Fine finishing: frosted mainplate, superlative hand finishing throughout respecting 19th century style; internal bevel angles highlighting hand craft; polished bevels; hand-made engravings
Functions: Hours, minutes and power reserve indicator. Large suspended balance wheel over dial
Case – Available in 18k red gold (33 pieces) or 18k yellow gold (18 pieces) Dimensions: 40 mm wide x 16 mm high
High domed sapphire crystal on top and box sapphire crystal on back with anti-reflective coating on both sides.
Concept: Maximilian Büsser / MB&F
Product design: Eric Giroud / Through the Looking Glass Technical and production management: Serge Kriknoff / MB&F Movement design and finish specifications: Kari Voutilainen R&D: Guillaume Thévenin and Ruben Martinez / MB&F
Wheels: Jean-François Mojon / Chronode
Balance wheel bridge: Benjamin Signoud / AMECAP
Balance wheel: Yann Le Martret / μdec
Plates and bridges: Rodrigue Baume / Damatec
Hand-engraving of movement: Sylvain Bettex / Glypto and Eddy Jaquet
Hand-finishing of movement components: Jacques-Adrien Rochat / C-L Rochat
Frosted finishing: José Labarga / Labarga S.A.
Movement assemblage: Didier Dumas, Georges Veisy, Anne Guiter and Emmanuel Maitre / MB&F In-house machining: Alain Lemarchand / MB&F
After-Sales service: Florian Courbat / MB&F
Quality Control: Cyril Fallet / MB&F
Case : Fabien Chapatte and Riccardo Pescante / Les Artisans Boitiers
Buckle: Erbas S.A.
Hands: Pierre Chillier, Isabelle Chillier and Félix Celetta / Fiedler
Sapphire crystals: Martin Stettler / Stettler
Strap: Olivier Purnot / Camille Fournet
Presentation box: Olivier Berthon / ATS Développement
Production logistics: David Lamy and Isabel Ortega / MB&F