MB&F is an ingenious concept where friends come together and build spectacular watches. Let me present you Max Büsser´s next horological milestone…
Those of you who followed my daily Baselworld 2013 reports already know who Max Büsser is and what he stands for with his company MB&F.
I interviewed my friend Max and I took a lot of photos of his exceptional watches. If you missed my report please click first HERE to get the information right away and please only then read this new report about the MB & F Legacy Machine No. 2.
So you saw the photos I took from Max’ Legacy Machine No.1. For me this watch is one of the most exceptional contemporary timepieces. Just stunning! If you know Max you know that he would never stop being creative, so it was just a matter of time until he and his friends would present a Legacy Machine No. 2.
Today I finally received all the material I was waiting for and I am now able to share this next stunning MB&F with you.
Let me now by a virtual Q&A scenario present you Max’ new watch…
What are Legacy machines?
Legacy Machines are wondrous reinterpretations of significant horological inventions by the greatest watchmakers in history. So the contemporary look endowed by the otherworldly appearance of Legacy Machine No. 2’s dual flying balances, suspended high above the dial from four gracefully arcing arms, may at first appear paradoxical. But make no mistake; Legacy Machine No. 2 is a timepiece tracing its lineage back over 250 years to three of the greatest watchmakers who ever lived: Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747 – 1823), Ferdinand Berthoud (1727 – 1807) and Antide Janvier (1751 – 1835).
Who developed the Legacy Machine No. 2?
The movement of Legacy Machine No. 2 was developed to MB&F’s specifications by award-winning watchmaker Jean-François Mojon (Best Watchmaker at the 2010 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève) and his team at Chronode. Acclaimed independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen ensured that the movement’s aesthetic style was consistent with high-quality traditional timepieces of the 19th century and for specifying the superlative hand- finishing.
Immaculate Geneva waves, gold chatons, mirror-polished bevels and bridges designed with deliberate internal bevelled angles (which cannot be finished by machine) showcase the movement’s peerless fine finishing. Consistent with MB&F’s spirit of transparency, the names of the two men responsible for the movement are hand engraved on the back.
Two and a half centuries after three of the world’s greatest watchmakers put two balance wheels into their movements, MB&F celebrates their pioneering works by creating Legacy Machine No. 2, a timepiece with two balances hovering outside the movement.
How many executions will be available?
Legacy Machine No. 2 is available in 18 carat red gold, 18 carat white gold and a limited edition of 18 pieces in platinum 950 that features a striking sky-blue dial.
What about the historical background of dual regulator timepieces?
Even today with computer aided design programs (CAD) and ultra-high-precision machines CNC machines, the sheer complexity of high-end mechanical watch movements requires skilled assembly and regulation to achieve good timekeeping over a range of positions. Whether the watch is laid flat, vertical (on its edge), crown up or crown down, slightly affects the components inside – and the balance in particular – which in turn slightly changes the timing rate.
In the 18th century, higher manufacturing tolerances coupled with low-quality oils meant that it was virtually impossible to regulate a movement to the high precision we have come to expect today. So it should come as no surprise that the greatest horologists of the period experimented with a wide variety of mechanisms to improve timekeeping.
While Ferdinand Berthoud averaged his two regulators mechanically, Abraham- Louis Breguet and Antide Janvier both created double regulator timepieces using the phenomena of resonance to average the rate of the two balances, It should be noted that the majority of dual regulator timepieces, especially those using resonance to couple the two systems, had two complete movements rather than just two regulators.
The fact that these horological geniuses made such a limited number of clocks and watches with double regulators (just a few each), indicates that they doubted that the reward was worth the effort.
Have there recently been dual regulator timepieces been produced?
Nearly 100 years later, in the 1930s a few of the very best students at the Watchmaking School of the Vallée de Joux made double regulator pocket watches with the rates of two balances averaged by a planetary differential. The students usually made two pieces each – one for themselves and one for the school – and it is thought that 10 such timepieces exist.
Philippe Dufour, an independent watchmaker based in the Vallée de Joux saw one of these pocket watches and was inspired to create his Duality. Launched in 1996, the Duality was the first known wristwatch to feature two balances joined by a differential. And while there have been a (very) few other double balance wristwatches coupled via differentials.
The advantage of using a planetary differential is that the two balances beat at their natural rate, with the differential supplying the average of the two completely independent frequencies. Other mechanisms when coupled have one balance slowing down or speeding up the other to achieve an average rate and this induces slight stresses in the system.
However, the rarity of all dual regulator movements is testimony to the difficulty in their realization and regulation.
What are the particularities of the new Legacy Machine No. 2?
This short HD-film will help you to understand the concept of the watch…
While superficially Legacy Machine No. 2 may look like a traditional round watch, its three-dimensional architecture offers visual treats on multiple levels. What looks at first glance to be the main dial is actually the top plate of the movement, which has been finely engraved, plated (or blued for the platinum model) and then hand-engraved with Legacy Machine below the differential.
Slightly raised above the surface is the hour-minute sub dial, its fine gold circumference highlighting the pure white of the stretched lacquer dial, which is created by applying and heating multiple layers of lacquer, causing them to stretch tightly over the surface of the dial. The white contrasts superbly with the bright blued 18k gold hands. The hands are slightly curved to follow the slightly convex surface of the sub dial. To ensure aesthetic purity of the dial and its traditional Roman numerals, a sophisticated fixation underneath negates the necessity of visually obtrusive screws.
The planetary differential also sits proud of the surface, supported by a stunning double-arc mirror-polished bridge inset with three large jewels. The complex differential is the key element in the double regulator system and raising it just above the movements enables the mechanism to be better appreciated.
Suspended above both the sub dial and the differential are the two oscillating bespoke balance wheels. The dual balances feature Breguet overcoils, inset with four fully functional timing screws. The two balances are mirror images of each other so that they react differently to different forces. The distance between the balance wheels has been carefully and deliberately calculated to avoid resonance, as this would negatively interfere with regulation.
Those elegant majestically curved arms suspending the flying balances are sculptural works of art in themselves. The elongated triangular cut out section could not be created by the usual method of wire electro erosion, but necessitated the creation of an electrode precisely shaped to the form of the cut out section.
What exactly was Kari Voutilainen responsible for?
Independent master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen assumed responsibility for ensuring the historical accuracy of the style and finishing of the Legacy Machine No. 2 movement. A finely engraved sun-ray pattern on top of the movement plate (dial side) subtly catches the eye at certain angles without distracting attention from the pure white sub dial, flying balances and raised differential. But it is in the style and finish of the bridges and plates visible through the display on the back of the movement that Voutilainen has excelled in providing exquisite historical fidelity, both the shape of elegantly curved bridges and the traditionally wide spaces between the bridges and between the bridges and the case.
On the back of the movement, over-sized ruby jewels set in highly-polished countersunk gold chatons provide striking visual counterpoints to the Geneva waves traversing the sensually curved bridges. While providing historical links with the large jewels seen in high- grade antique pocket watch movements, the ruby bearings have a practical application in reducing wear by accommodating large diameter pinions and holding more lubricating oil.
The technical data’s & the functions of the watch
Manual winding with single mainspring barrel
Power reserve: 45 hours
Differential: Planetary differential comprising 3 gears and 5 pinions
Balance wheels: Two bespoke 1 mm balance wheels with four traditional regulating screws floating above the movement and dials
Balance spring: traditional Breguet curve terminating with stud holder
Balance frequency: 18,000 A/h (= 2,5 Hz)
Number of components: 241
Number of jewels: 44
Chatons: gold chatons with polished countersinks
Fine finishing: superlative hand finishing throughout, respecting 19th century style; polished internal bevel angles highlighting handcraft; polished bevels; Geneva waves; hand-made engravings.
Hours and minutes
Planetary differential transmits the average rate of the two regulators to the single gear train.
And last but not least let me present you a list of all the companies and people who worked together to create the Legacy Machine No. 2. Usually this kind of information is not available. As you know almost all manufacturers tend to hide everything behind big secrets when the question “who did what” is asked… In the end they always try to make you believe that everything was done in-house. Of course this is mostly NOT possible.
So, Max chapeau for this ruthless candor!
Concept: Maximilian Büsser / MB&F
Product design: Eric Giroud / Eric Giroud Design Studio
Technical and production management: Serge Kriknoff / MB&F
Movement development: Jean-François Mojon / Chronode
Movement design and finish specifications: Kari Voutilainen
R&D: Guillaume Thévenin / MB&F
Wheels: Jean-Marc Naval / Rouages SA
Balance wheel bridge: Benjamin Signoud / AMECAP
Balance wheel: Yann Le Martret / μdec
Plates and bridges: Rodrigue Baume / Damatec
Hand-engraving of movement: Eddy Jaquet and Sylvain Bettex / Glypto Hand-finishing of movement components: Jacques-Adrien Rochat / C-L Rochat
Movement assemblage: Didier Dumas, Georges Veisy, Bertrand Sagorin-Querol / MB&F
Case: Bertrand Jeunet and Dominique Mainier / G&F Chatelain
Buckle: Erbas S.A.
Dials: François Bernhard and Denis Parel / Natéber
Hands: Pierre Chillier, Isabelle Chillier and Félix Celetta / Fiedler
Glass: Martin Stettler / Stettler