The Legacy Machine N°1 was the first creation in a new collection 10 years ago; MB&F took what could have been considered a risky move, by introducing their first round case – the rest is history.
In 2011, the LM1 joined the existing Horological Machine line-up, providing a second interpretation of how time could be read; both were individually unorthodox Machines in their own ways and with very different design styles.
MB&F have created (and built) 8 new movements since the birth of the first Legacy Machine 10 years ago and with each new creation, comes evolution.
The LMX reincarnates elements of the original LM, using some very familiar characteristics in design and style, but brings it up to date with the later Legacy Machines, by having more of the movement on display on the dial side and utilising angled time dials, rather than flat.
Not only does the LMX celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the first LM, but the X in it’s name could also have subconscious reference to other meanings:
The LMX returns to the earliest encounter with the Legacy Machine collection, utilising the same expression comprising a central flying balance wheel and two dials, although everything else is different. But X is more than an ancient alternative to the Arabic numeral 10. In algebra, X is the unsolved variable; in cartography, X is the desired destination. X represents the indescribable, the unexplainable and the uncategorisable; it symbolises everything we do not know – yet.
Face & case
The LMX Brass & Steel is the 3rd case material and colour configuration released by MB&F. As in it’s previous versions, this LMX is presented in a 44mm, 27 part case, however, this version is in polished stainless steel. The same high domed sapphire crystal, with anti-reflective coating on both sides, encapsulates the dial and 3D movement, taking it’s thickness up to 21.4mm at the centre.
The face of the watch is made up of a symmetrical assortment of aesthetic and moving components, all arranged at different levels on a brass plate, which has a frosted finish. The end result is a very gold appearance; it appears to glitter and shine as the angle of light change the reflections on the dial.
In the centre, it is impossible to miss the 13.4mm balance wheel that appears to be levitating in mid air. It is aided by polished bridge arms, which curve back down in a “V” shape to the dial plate at where 11 and 1 o’clock would be on a traditional dial – they have been finished by hand, with a curved profile on their upper surfaces, following the downwards curve of the domed crystal.
Between the two polished “arms” of the balance bridge, there is an openworked hemi-sphere which breaks through the dial at 12 o’clock, whose top almost reaches the underside of the spinning balance wheel. It has a futuristic architectural look, with polished surfaces. Both sides can be seen through and it serves as a dual function indicator, which can be rotated to the wearer’s preferred position of view. On one side it has a weekday view, whilst on the other side, it shows a 7 day power reserve indication. Both are indicated by a heat blued, double sided pointer. Fans of MB&F may recall the LM1 had the world’s first vertical power reserve indicator, so clearly a reminiscent “nod” to that.
On the opposite side of the dial, where 6 o’clock would traditionally be found, there are a few beautifully finished components on display between the two dials; specifically, the common seconds wheel and just above it, the battle axe shaped escapement bridge and gear-train components.
Moving up and around the dial shape, there are 2 stretched lacquer dials tilted at an angle, taking up about a quarter of the space under the dome; both are independent of each other and can display 2 completely different times. The dials are bright white, with polished brass frames and have black, hand painted roman numeral hour markers, minute marker dots and MB&F on the 3 position on the left and LMX at the 9 position on the right dial.
Having the dials at this angle requires the transfer of energy from horizontal to vertical planes; this is achieved with the use of conical shaped gears.
The remaining space on the dial plate (at 10 and 2 o’clock), is filled with another 2 wheels, one next to each of the 2 crowns, which are set in motion when setting the time on the corresponding time display. The crown at 10 o’clock is for setting the left dial and the crown at 2 o’clock is for setting the right dial and winding the movement.
Both crowns are quite flat, with good grips for easy use; the crown on the left is engraved with a globe (second time zone) and the crown on the right is engraved with the brand’s familiar battle axe.
From the side, there is a deep engraved ridge running down the centre of each from lug to lug.
Turn the watch over and the symmetry continues through the open, screw down caseback. It has a thin frame, giving the opportunity to show off the beautiful finishing; this time it’s in 2D, rather than the multiple layers of complexity visible from the front.
Everything is shiny. Geneva wave stripes cover the areas of brass surrounding the mechanical parts and shine out from the centre, as if it were sunrays. Most of the parts have polished or brushed surfaces, however, there are hints of heat blued components; gold chatons with diamond countersinks are also visible. All have been hand finished, including internal bevel angles, polished bevels and hand-made engravings.
As in all legacy machines, MB&F describe the movement as an “engine”. The LMX features a hand wound, 3D horological movement, which was developed exclusively in house.
It is made up of 367 components, including 41 jewels and 3 mainspring barrels; the 13.4mm elevated balance wheel, beats at 18,000bph/2.5Hz. 2 time zones are displayed on 2 independent dials and the movement is almost perfectly symmetrical on both dial side and the movement side.
Owners should expect around 168 hours (7 days) power reserve.
The strap is in dark brown alligator, with dark brown leather lining; all hand stitched together with matching brown stitching.
A stainless steel folding buckle, with both polished and brushed surfaces fastens it together, the brand’s familiar battle-axe is embossed in the centre, with an aperture to either side of it.
The LMX was originally released in 2021 to celebrate MB & F’s 10th Anniversary of the Legacy Machine. There were 2 launch editions of the LMX, in the following configurations:
– 18 pieces in polished 18K 5N+ red gold with black NAC treatment on plates and bridges;
– 33 pieces in polished grade 5 titanium with green CVD treatment on plates and bridges;
This 3rd version was released in 2022 and only 33 pieces were made.
Stunning. That is probably the most accurate adjective that could be used to describe the MB&F LMX Steel and Brass.
Regular readers will know I am a big fan of MB&F and this piece does nothing but add fuel to my fire of enthusiasm for everything the brand seems to imagine and create.
The 44mm case sounds like it should be too big for this type of watch. Due to the number of components and aesthetics of the dial, it has to be that big, however, on the wrist it looks more like a 41-42mm, which is my ideal case size. I think that the domed sapphire crystal that encapsulates the dial actually creates the illusion of a smaller dial.
At 21.4mm, it is quite thick in the centre, but this tapers away relatively quickly and the fact it is so smooth means that there will not be too many wrestles with cuffs expected.
It is apparent that everything about the LMX has been considered from not only a microengineering level, but how that fits into the overall aesthetics and then everything is executed to the highest standard. I am not usually one to go for these types of colours either, but I do think the white on brass and slightly eccentric layout of the dials and 3D movement are messing with my taste!
With a price tag of 108,000 CHF, only 33 pieces will be made. It would have definitely not be attainable to most, however, as usual for MB&F, all pieces were sold out on release.
Sincere congratulations to the exclusive Tribe Members who managed to secure one and I look forward to the next 10 years of MB&F creations. How will the Legacy Machines and Horological Machines evolve; or perhaps a new third type of Machine will be born?