After reinventing high-end watchmaking with a series of men’s timepieces inspired by space ships, robots, rockets and various amphibious creatures, MB&F faced what might have been its biggest creative challenge yet when it debuted its first ladies’ watch in 2019. How do you take these boyhood fantasy motifs—the essence of MB&F—and translate them into a feminine watch?
Founder Max Büsser started with the very person that gave birth to his creativity. “I wanted the LM FlyingT to possess the epitome of femininity as reflected by the women in my life, particularly my mother. It had to combine supreme elegance with tremendous vitality,” he says. “The column-like structure of the flying tourbillon was very important to me, as I feel very strongly that women form the pillar of humanity.”
The design is both ultra-contemporary and high-tech, with its front-and-center escapement perched on top of the dial next to an hour-and-minute dial tilted at 50 degrees. The sapphire crystal is dramatically domed. At the same time, it pays homage to traditional watchmaking with a flying tourbillon escapement. It’s a juxtaposition that is pure MB&F, and although it retains some of the masculine energy of the brand’s 3-D spacecraft aesthetic, it manages to capture both the brand’s futuristic and imaginative DNA while adding a dose of softness in jewels and stones.
The dial of the original version was paved with diamonds that hugged the curved dial plate in a 3-D effect that looked like a waterfall. On the new malachite version ($145,000), the diamonds cling to the steeply cambered bezel and long, curved horns, and another diamond is perched on top of the tourbillon cage, where it rotates with the escapement. Another feminine element is the 18-karat rose-gold rotor sculpted in the shape of a sun motif, a life-giving force symbolic of women, and the hands on the hour dial mimic the sun’s rays. The two-level dial is rendered in malachite, one of the top two hardstones used on watch dials. It follows the lapis dial, which was applied to last year’s version of the LM Flying T.
The case is 18-karat white gold or platinum, and measures a very wearable 38mm. In order to display the time as precisely as possible on the 50-degree inclined dial, conical gears were used to optimize the transmission of torque from one plane to another, a solution used in previous MB&F watches. The movement has an impressive 100-hour power reserve. The band of malachite surrounding the tourbillon and set into the hour disk is a variation on previous models. The original 2019 non-diamond-pavé model had a black lacquer dial plate, and 2020 versions included guilloché, diamond and lapis lazuli dial plate options. No matter which way it comes dressed, it is a striking piece that looks unlike anything else on the market. And with its six-figure price tag, it will belong to the rarefied few.