Once again, Swiss luxury watch maker MB&F joins hands with French watch designer Alain Silberstein to create a limited edition collection.
In 2009, MB&F had called on Silberstein to create its very first piece of ‘Performance Art’ – reinterpretations by external artists and designers of existing MB&F Machines. The result was the HM2.2 ‘Black Box’, followed by a long list of collaborations with other creators.
For this new Performance Art series, Silberstein has taken MB&F’s classic Legacy Machine N°1 and imbued it with his unique flair for the unconventional. His use of his signature three bright colours and shapes: red, blue and yellow; triangle, rectangle and circle for the hands and dial markers; and three-dimensionally translated as a cone, cube and sphere for the power reserve, catch the eye as they contrast against the more subdued movement plate below.
However, it is the concave curve of the subdials that highlights the artist’s philosophical approach most. While the convex sapphire crystal dome and balance bridge offer protection from outside forces, the concave subdials attract and welcome the “eternal time” of the universe into the movement, where it is transformed and displayed as two completely independent time zones. Naturally, the hands are similarly concave so that they seamlessly complement the curvature of the dials.
Silberstein felt strongly that, as the balance is the “beating heart” of the timepiece, nothing should break the view of the dial side regulator or block “eternal time” from reaching the time indications. He also thought that as graceful as the dual arcing bridges of the original LM1 were, they took too much visual attention from the indications. Two years of development were required to create the transparent sapphire crystal balance bridge to the incredibly tight tolerances required to support the balance wheel. And all of that work for an elegantly shaped component that is essentially designed to be invisible.
Even the two crowns are steeped in Silberstein magic: their distinctive six-pointed star shapes formed by overlapping two triangles make winding a tactile pleasure.
Engraved in French on the case band between the lugs of LM1 Silberstein is a paraphrased quote from Gustave Flaubert:”Levraibonheurestd’avoirsa passion pour métier” – which translates roughly as, “Making a profession of your passion is true happiness”.
LM1’s ingenious three-dimensional movement was specifically developed for MB&F from Maximilian Büsser’s sketches by Jean-François Mojon and his team at Chronode together with independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen. The balance wheel and spring at the very heart of any mechanical watch movement are responsible for regulating timekeeping accuracy. Büsser has long been fascinated by the large slowly oscillating balance wheels of antique pocket watches–18,000 bph compared with the 28,800 bph common today – so it was no surprise this was the starting point from which to let his fertile imagination roam free. What was surprising, though, is just how radically he re-interpreted tradition by relocating the balance wheel from its more usual position hidden at the back of the movement to not just the top of the movement, but floating above the dials.
While the location of Legacy Machine N°1’s regulating organ may be considered avant-garde, ‘tradition’ is upheld by the large 14mm diameter balance wheel with regulating screws specifically developed for MB&F, balance spring with Breguet overcoil, and mobile stud holder.
Another very special feature of the LM1 movement is the ability to set the two time zones completely independently. The vast majority of dual time zone movements only allow the hours to be independently adjusted, a rare few offer setting to the half hour. Legacy Machine N°1 allows both hours and minutes of each dial to be set to whatever time the user wishes.
The world’s first vertical power reserve indicator on LM1 is driven by an ultra-flat differential with ceramic bearings allowing for a slimmer complication and a more robust and longer-wearing mechanism.
LM1 Silberstein is a limited edition of 3 x 12 pieces in red gold, titanium, or black PVD-treated titanium.
Model: LM1 Silberstein
Limited editions of 3 x 12 pieces in red gold, titanium,or black PVD-treated titanium.
Three-dimensional horological movement developed exclusively for MB&F by Jean-François Mojon/Chronode and Kari Voutilainen
Manual winding with single mainspring barrel
Power reserve: 45 hours
Balance bridge: transparent sapphire crystal
Balance wheel: bespoke 14mm balance wheel with four traditional regulating screws floating above the movement and dials
Balance spring: traditional Breguet overcoil terminating in mobile stud holder
Balance frequency: 18,000bph/2.5Hz
Number of components: 279
Number of jewels: 23
Chatons: gold chatons with polished countersinks
Fine finishing: superlative hand finishing throughout respecting 19th-century style; internal bevel angles highlighting hand craft; polished bevels; hand-made engravings; frosted finish
Hours and minutes; completely independent dual time zones displayed on two dials; unique vertical power reserve indicator
Crown at 8 o’clock for setting time of left dial; crown at 4 o’clock for setting time of right dial and winding
Available in 18k red gold, grade 5 titanium or grade 5 titanium treated with black PVD
Dimensions: 42.5mm wide x 17mm high
Number of components: 41
Water resistance: 30m / 3atm / 90’
High domed sapphire crystal on top and sapphire crystal on back with anti-reflective coating on both sides; balance wheel bridge in sapphire crystal.
Black hand-stitched calfskin strap with black top-stitched seams with red gold case, or red topstitched seams with both titanium cases