by Martin Green
Redefining a category is something that many watch brands aim for yet so few achieve. It is all about finding a balance between pushing the limits while still presenting something recognizable enough that people can easily connect with.
Maximilian Büsser, the founder of MB&F, is all too aware of that. While most of the creations that he makes with his “friends” – the “F” in “MB&F” stands for “Friends” – are meant to push the envelope in a technical and/or aesthetic sense, some have indeed become landmark pieces and perhaps even references in their categories.
There is however one increasingly significant genre that MB&F hadn’t yet ventured into until now: the mystical realm of ladies watches!
The quicksand of creating a ladies watch
Creating a proper, high-end mechanical ladies watch is something even the best of brands struggle with. Some simply take a men’s watch, make it a bit smaller, add some diamonds or mother-of-pearl, and call it a day. Others create what they think women would like (but are not quite sure).
With few exceptions, the vast majority of the ladies watches that have gained legend status are crafted by brands that also have a significant position in the world of jewelry. This already tells us something quite important: that a successful ladies watch should not be created as a functional tool that looks beautiful, but rather as a piece of jewelry with a function.
From a design perspective, Büsser tackled this challenge together with his “Friend,” designer Eric Giroud. This is not Giroud’s first time contributing to an MB&F creation; he has intimate knowledge of the brand’s “DNA” including the Legacy Machine collection.
While the Legacy Machine family resemblance is clear, the case alone qualifies it as a completely new creation: the curves are far more elegant, while the case diameter is also more modest at 38.5 mm.
Legacy Machine FlyingT: creating mechanical art
What is not so modest is the Legacy Machine FlyingT’s domed sapphire crystal, which while ostensibly there to protect from the elements, can only be described as mechanical art. Gears are stacked on top of each other at the center of the dial, topped off by a flying tourbillon like a lighthouse of horological art; a diamond is placed on the top of the tourbillon cage.
Thanks to the tourbillon’s constant motion, the brilliant-cut diamond does what these stones do best: reflect scintillating fiery light.
The beauty of the FlyingT is that it takes the technical aspect of a mechanical watch and sculpts it into an aesthetic one. This is a very important aspect because many women (and men) aren’t so interested in the technical details of how the movement functions, but do put a strong emphasis on the refinement of the overall result.
While watching the mesmerizing tourbillon would be enough for most people, the Legacy Machine FlyingT is still a watch and fulfilling that function is beautiful, small dial placed at 7 o’clock, crafted in either white or black lacquer, displaying the time by means of two elegant, flame-blued serpentine hands.
This dial is like a picture frame, placed at a 50-degree tilt so that it can easily be seen without rotating the wrist.
The movement of the Legacy Machine FlyingT was developed in-house by MB&F’s own technical team. It combines its vertical architecture with a 60-second central flying tourbillon, four-day power reserve, and automatic winding.
The winding is achieved by what is quite easily one of the most beautiful oscillating weights in watchmaking: a sun sculpted from red gold.
MB&F offers three different launch editions of the Legacy Machine FlyingT, all combining an 18-karat white gold case with diamonds.
The black lacquer edition features 168 diamonds for a pleasant balance between its technical appeal and jewelry side.
The pavé diamond-set edition goes all in on the precious stones, utilizing 558 of them with brilliant cuts and transforming the Legacy Machine FlyingT into a bona-fide haute joaillerie creation.
While the edition featuring baguette-cut diamonds has more than double the carat weight of the pavé diamond-set edition, it somehow manages to look slightly more restrained. Nonetheless, there’s no denying its precious appearance.
The same can be said of the Legacy Machine FlyingT itself, an amazing creation adding something new to the world of ladies watches, highlighting once again that MB&F is the “starfleet” of the watchmaking world, boldly going where no watch brand has gone before!
For more information, please visit www.mbandf.com/en/machines/legacy-machines/lmflyingt.
Quick Facts MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT
Case: 38.5 x 20 mm, white gold, set with brilliant-cut or baguette-cut diamonds
Movement: automatic caliber with three-dimensional vertical architecture, central flying 60-second tourbillon, four-day power reserve, 2.5 Hz/18,000 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes
Price: CHF 108,000 (black lacquer dial); CHF 135,000 (pavé diamonds); CHF 298,000 (baguette-cut diamonds), all prices excluding sales tax