Hands-On: MB&F’s Legacy Machine 1 M.A.D. Dubai

2011 was a big year for MB&F. The independent brand opened its first M.A.D. Gallery (Geneva), and launched the Legacy Machine 1, which introduced the world to the new (at the time) Legacy Machine collection. Since that time MB&F has introduced several Legacy Machines, but today the brand is revisiting the LM1 with a limited edition model, which will be sold exclusively through the recently opened M.A.D. Gallery in Dubai. It’s called the Legacy Machine 1 M.A.D. Dubai, and it has one of the most beautiful watch dials we’ve ever seen.

We're in the process of applying for a loan. The reason sits right in front of you.

We’re in the process of applying for a loan. The reason sits right in front of you.

Before we get into the watch, we’d like to give you a little more background about the Legacy Machine collection. Prior to the launch of this family, Maximilian Büsser and his eponymous brand focused exclusively on creating watches with striking and futuristic designs – these pieces fell under the Horological Machine (HM) umbrella. In contrast, the LM family was introduced as a result of Büsser’s desire to create watches with more traditional designs but with the same flair that the world of horology had come to expect from the brand.

Getting back to the Legacy Machine 1 M.A.D. Dubai, it’s a significant piece for Dubai – and the Middle East – for a number of  reasons. The ‘F’ in MB&F stands for friends, and Büsser wanted to create a horological ‘thank you’ for his UAE-partner Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, because of their tireless commitment to his vision of MB&F, which began before the first watch was even produced. That relationship has grown over the years, and most recently culminated in the opening of a M.A.D. Gallery in Dubai (our story here).

Büsser was on hand for the launch of the new Legacy Machine at the M.A.D. Gallery Dubai.

Büsser was on hand for the launch of the new Legacy Machine at the M.A.D. Gallery Dubai.

If you’re wondering whether MB&F does this sort of thing often, the answer is no. To date MB&F has created a limited edition run of watches for only one other retail partner in its 11-year history. In fact, until now, the brand has never ever created a run of watches exclusively for any of its other M.A.D. Gallery locations. Büsser also told us that the LM1 M.A.D. Dubai edition will be the only Legacy Machine 1 to ever feature a grade five titanium case.

That last point is sure to whet regional customer appetites – there are a number of MB&F collectors in Dubai, and the broader Middle East, that want a Legacy Machine 1 but, at the same time, don’t want to or cannot wear watches with precious metal cases. Those preferences rule out pretty much every Legacy Machine to date (white- and rose-gold cases are staples of LM watches), with the exception of the premium-priced, limited edition platinum watches. We have it on good authority that several watches have already been spoken for (certain members of the Seddiqi family have been keen on adding a LM1 to their collection), and given that Büsser will soon be retiring the LM1 completely, the collectability and desirability of this particular timepiece is significant.

The home time dial is on the right, and features Hindi Arabic numerals.

The home time dial is on the right, and features Hindi Arabic numerals.

The original Legacy Machine 1 went on sale a couple of years before this site was launched, so we’ve never actually spent a meaningful amount of time with MB&F’s first LM. That changed this week, as we were given the opportunity to sample the Legacy Machine 1 M.A.D. Dubai first hand, ahead of its official launch in Dubai.

As you may know, the LM1 is a dual time watch but unlike any other dual time piece we’ve encountered, the Legacy Machine 1 allows you to set hours and minutes on each white lacquer dial independently. The watch even has two crowns (at the four and eight o’clock positions) to facilitate this, however only the right crown allows you to wind the watch’s beautifully finished hand-wound calibre (more on this later).

Note the battle axe on the crown and the purple color of the dial in this particular picture.

Note the battle axe on the crown and the purple color of the dial in this particular picture.

From an overall design and functionality standpoint, the LM1 M.A.D. Dubai is identical to earlier Legacy Machine 1 models. There are, of course, a few significant differences in terms of aesthetics and how wearable it is. As we mentioned earlier, this timepiece boasts a titanium case and because there’s also a titanium pin/buckle rather than a clasp, the watch feels light on the wrist – certainly lighter than any of the other Legacy Machines that we’ve briefly encountered. The case size remains unchanged at 44mm, and while this size may not be to everyone’s tastes, we found the watch sat comfortably on our wrist, and could be coaxed under a shirt sleeve with little effort.

The party piece on this new LM1 is the element that you notice immediately (and that we intentionally made you wait for, since it’s the best feature) – that magnificent dial plate. It’s green when you look at it straight-on but the second you start moving your wrist, you’ll notice the color change from that beautiful green to dark blue and even purple – it feels like you’re getting three dials for the price of one. Rather than try to explain the dial further with tons of words and pictures, check out the short video below to find out exactly what we’re on about.

Büsser tells us that this particular dial color does not exist anywhere else in watchmaking, and we’re inclined to agree with that statement – we’ve certainly never seen anything like it. The dial’s stunning green finish is achieved with a chemical vapor deposition (CVD), rather than the more standard physical vapor deposition (PVD). Büsser told us that the choice of color was left up to members of the Seddiqi family – the other choice was a purple CVD. We think they made the right call going with the green option, and we don’t mind admitting that this titanium/green dial combination is now our new favorite Legacy Machine combo (sorry Legacy Machine Platinum). Incidentally, Büsser also revealed that the green dial/titanium case combination could resurface in the future, in the same way that platinum Legacy Machines always have blue dials. We can’t wait.

The dial, as a whole, is clean and uncluttered and presents as perfectly symmetrical – you have the oversized 14mm balance wheel beating away at 2.5Hz sitting dead centre, the two time dials flank it on either side (at the three and nine o’clock positions) and, at the six o’clock position, you’ll find the power reserve indicator. As before, the indicator resembles a sextant – when the watch is fully wound the indicator stands almost vertical, and then gradually diminishes as the mainspring unwinds.

If the Legacy Machine 1 M.A.D. Dubai doesn't get you noticed, you must be invisible.

If the Legacy Machine 1 M.A.D. Dubai doesn’t get you noticed, you must be invisible.

Although the balance wheel slightly overlaps both of the miniature white dials, it doesn’t really stop you from working out the time with just a quick glance. Speaking of the dials, on this particular Legacy Machine 1, the second time zone dial (left dial) bears the name of the brand (on other Legacy Machine 1 models the brand’s name was on the right dial) and Roman numerals, while the home time dial (right dial) features Hindi Arabic numerals. The Hindi Arabic numerals are a nice touch, and is something that we’ve not seen on any other MB&F timepiece.

The brand’s trademark hour and minute hands make a return, and as before, the hour hand has an arrow on the end of it – while this makes it easy to differentiate between the hour and minute hand, we would like to see slightly longer minute hands.

Its been five years since the LM1 first broke cover, and the dial is still as dramatic as ever.

Its been five years since the LM1 first broke cover, and the dial is still as dramatic as ever.

Flipping the watch over, a familiar yet still striking sight awaits. The LM1’s calibre sits unchanged since it was first introduced but it’s still a thing of incredible beauty. Büsser turned to Jean-François Mojon to design the movement, and enlisted Kari Voutilainen’s expertise to give it superlative finishing. We’ve heard that the original Legacy Machine 1 is the first timepiece that Kari Voutilainen lent his expertise to, outside of his own watches.

The movement features a single barrel and a power reserve of 45 hours, when it is fully wound. Examining the movement closely, you’ll find dollops of handwork including Geneva waves on the bridges, hand beveled edges, gold chatons with polished countersinks, and perlage finishing on the movement’s baseplate (visible between and around the calibre’s bridges). It’s a thing of beauty, and it put us in one heck of a spot because we couldn’t decide which side of this incredible timepiece we liked better. We reckon that’s a good problem to have.

It doesn't matter how often you see a Legacy Machine's calibre, it'll take your breath away each and every time.

It doesn’t matter how often you see a Legacy Machine’s calibre, it’ll take your breath away each and every time.

The MB&F Legacy Machine 1 M.A.D. Dubai carries a retail price of approximately US $85,000, and is limited to 13 pieces only. It will be sold exclusively through the M.A.D. Gallery Dubai in Al Serkal Avenue. Check out their website here.

To learn more about MB&F, click here.

Our thanks to the MB&F and M.A.D. Gallery Dubai team for arranging for HME to spend some time with the Legacy Machine 1 M.A.D. Dubai.

Howdy! Want to discuss something? Leave us a comment.