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<< Back to Robb Report, December 2013

Design Portfolio: Two-Timing

James D. Malcolmson

The word traditional is not the first descriptor that comes to mind when considering the Legacy Machine No. 2, a watch that has twin balance wheels beating beneath a raised set of flying buttresses. Yet Maximilian Büsser & Friends (www.mbandf.com), better known as MB&F—a young Swiss brand distinguished by radical, futuristic designs—presents its latest timepiece as a paean to watchmaking ideals of the past. After all, the timepiece ($190,000 for the limited-edition platinum version and $156,000 for the white-gold and rose-gold versions) may embody the company’s unconventional attitude toward watchmaking, but the concept of employing two balance wheels for better accuracy originated with the 18th-century masters. Abraham-Louis Breguet, Ferdinand Berthoud, and Antide Janvier each built a clock or watch with two balances.

The noted movement constructor Jean-François Mojon developed MB&F’s version of the dual-balance arrangement with assistance from the independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen, who dictated the use of ruby bearings set in gold chatons. Voutilainen also called for the plates to be designed with numerous corners and angles, to showcase the finishing techniques that were employed. These constructions are set beneath cathedral-like arches and a sapphire-crystal dome, a treatment that demonstrates the brand’s reverence for the dual-balance concept.