When avant-garde independent watchmaker MB&F debuted its first Legacy Machine watch in 2011, founder Max Büsser considered its conventional case shape and more traditional layout a risk. The brand, established in 2005, had made its name creating highly complicated, other-worldly designs that looked unlike anything else on the market.
But despite their more classical leanings, the Legacy Machine watches still looked like something plucked from outer space. And they opened a new realm for the brand as a more wearable offering for those not quite ready to take a plunge on out-there pieces like the spaceship-style case of the HM4 Thunderbolt or the flying saucer-shape of the HM1. The LMs were a success not just with clients, but with the industry at large. Büsser and his collective of mad scientist watchmakers won four Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève awards (the Oscar’s of watchmaking) for the mechanical marvels.
To celebrate a decade of its more earthly inhabitant, MB&F created the LMX (Legacy Machine 10), which marks the company’s sixth fully conceived in-house movement. It employs the same central flying balance wheel and double dials as the early LMs, but this time around they are tilted at an angle like more recent versions such as the brand’s recent collaboration with fellow indie H. Moser & Cie. Both in white lacquer, the dial on the right is set by the crown at the 2 o’clock position (which also winds the piece), while the second crown at 10 o’clock sets the second time zone present on the left dial.
Also in keeping with later models, like the LM Perpetual, LM FlyingT (Robb Report‘s Best of the Best winner last year for Best Women’s Watch of the Year) and LM Thunderdome, the dial plate exposes more of the engineered fireworks beneath the sapphire crystal dome. Visible on the wrist is the battle-ax-styled escapement bridge, gear-train components, and three large wheels (two of which are set in motion when setting the time and the other, at 6 o’clock, moving in conjunction with the common seconds function). What’s brand new is the 13.4 mm bespoke balance wheel with inertia block instead of traditional screws, offering greater accuracy, and polished arms on the straight bridges that have been finished to create a curved profile on their surface.
But one of the coolest new features, which even untrained horological eyes can appreciate, is the unique power reserve display (visible at what would be 12 o’clock on a conventional timepiece), which builds on the world-first vertical indicator of the LM1, but pumps it up with a 3-D display to showcase a massive 168 hours of run time. Depending on how you look at the watch on the wrist, you can read the indication two ways: If you’re wearing the piece and reading the two white lacquer dials to tell the time then you can read the power reserve in days-of-the-week markers via a blued marker. But if you’re viewing it from the top (the left side of your wrist if you wear the watch on your left hand) the reserve is read in a scale of one to seven for the number of days until the power runs out.
But that’s not all. The entire power reserve display rotates so that the owner can choose to wear the display to the orientation of their choosing. That means, if you prefer the number of days to be more visible, facing towards the white lacquered dials instead, you can simply continue to wind the battle-ax crown after the power reserve has been replenished and the entire indicator will rotate to the desired location. As far as horological toys go, that’s one hell of a party trick.
For those that also like to show off the flip side, the sapphire-crystal caseback reveals three barrels, arranged in the center, surrounded by a sunray Côtes de Gèneve finishing.
As you might imagine, given the nature of this showpiece, you should add about five more Xs to the LMX name when factoring in price. It comes in an 18-karat 5N red-gold case with a black NAC dial (limited to 18, $128,000) and a grade 5 titanium case with a blue-green CVD dial (limited to 33, $112,000). You can find them both online now at MB&F’s e-shop, but you will have to put your name on the waitlist first before you are approved for purchase.