Unique MB&F Melchior joins Only Watch 2015 auction

When MB&F announced Melchior earlier in the year, it said that it was creating 99 pieces of the roboclock for customers, and that it would create, and donate, the 100th piece to a charity. True to its word, MB&F has just announced the Melchior unique piece for the Only Watch 2015 charity auction.

This is the 100th Melchior roboclock that MB&F talked about briefly, earlier in the year.

This is the 100th Melchior roboclock that MB&F talked about briefly, earlier in the year.

What you can expect at SIHH 2016

The 26th edition of the annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) will take place in Geneva, kicking off on January 18, 2016, and will run until January 22. The big news is that nine independent brands will be joining the event, though one brand is also renouncing its participation.

SIHH 2015 took place from January 19 to 23 and marked the 25th anniversary of the Geneva based trade show.

SIHH 2015 took place from January 19 to 23 and marked the 25th anniversary of the Geneva based trade show.

Speake-Marin announces Only Watch 2015 participation

Speake-Marin is joining the sixth edition of the Only Watch charity auction, and will be donating a unique timepiece, the Resilience “One Art”. Only Watch is a biennial event that raises money to finance research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a neuromuscular disease that primarily affects young boys. This year, a total of 40 watch brands are joining the fight against DMD.

Speake-Marin joins other independent brands in supporting Only Watch this year.

Speake-Marin joins other independent brands in supporting Only Watch this year.

MB&F’s HM6 Space Pirate gets a gold makeover

When MB&F released its Horological Machine 6 Space Pirate back in 2014, it caused quite a stir. To some (like us), it was a staggering display of mechanical mastery and to others, it was an oddball that they didn’t understand. Recently however, fresh validation for the HM6 came from the Red Dot Design Awards, where MB&F walked away with a big win. The validation prompted a celebration, and thus the HM6 Space Pirate RT was unleashed with a rose-gold case.

If you love the original HM6 Space Pirate but titanium is a little too plain for you, there's a new rose-gold option on the table.

If you love the original HM6 Space Pirate but titanium is a little too plain for you, there’s a new rose-gold option on the table.

Legacy Machine 101 receives a touch of frost

MB&F has just made the already desirable Legacy Machine 101 even more attractive by lavishing it with a finishing style that was popular on pocket watches in the 18th and 19th century. The result is the drool-inducing Legacy Machine 101 Frost.

The frost finish is bound to make the timepiece a treat to admire under different lighting. This is the red-gold Legacy Machine 101 Frost.

The frost finish is bound to make the timepiece a treat to admire under different lighting. This is the red-gold Legacy Machine 101 Frost.

The exquisite frosting work that you see on MB&F’s latest circular reference isn’t the first time that owner and creative director, Maximilian Büsser, has turned to the past. In fact, the Legacy Machine family was born because, according to MB&F, Büsser asked: “What would have happened if I had been born in 1867 instead of 1967? In the early 1900s the first wristwatches appear and I would want to create three-dimensional machines for the wrist. There are no Grendizers, Star Wars or fighter jets for my inspiration but I do have pocket watches, the Eiffel Tower and Jules Verne. So what might my early 20th century machines look like? They had to be round (tradition) and three-dimensional (MB&F Machine): Legacy Machines are the answer”.

As you know, the Legacy Machine One was released in 2011, followed by the Legacy Machine Two in 2013, and the original Legacy Machine 101 (LM101) premiered in 2014 (read our original story here). Of the three, the LM101 is the most classically styled piece because although it is still an exquisite piece of haute horology, it featured a smaller, more traditional 40mm case. It was therefore a strong option for MB&F to add even more classic aesthetic touches to it, namely the frost finishing that many early pocket watches featured.

We have no doubt the LM 101 Frost will sell out in no time. It's gorgeous in both rose-gold and yellow-gold (pictured).

We have no doubt the LM 101 Frost will sell out in no time. It’s gorgeous in both rose-gold and yellow-gold (pictured).

This is 2015 however, so while the classic frosting finish is beautifully presented on the LM101 Frost, the technique MB&F uses to create this finish is a bit more modern. Frosting on early pocket watches was created by subjecting the components to a special acid mixture, and then heating it on an open flame. As you can imagine, this is an incredibly dangerous process not only for the craftsman but for the environment. The results however were stunning, you were left with a silvery-white effect that looked similar to frost, and this finish while aesthetically pleasing was deployed more to protect surfaces from oxidation, as watches and clocks in those days were not water resistant at all.

As the years rolled on, watchmakers realised the hazards of that earlier process, and explored alternative methods to creating the same finish and quality. The solution was to very carefully brush the surface with a wire brush, however this approach made it very difficult to achieve a uniform result because too much pressure could ruin the target finish with an uneven polish.

The LM101 movement boasts an incredible finish. The top of the movement's main plate also serves as the dial of the watch. Ingenious!

The LM101 movement boasts an incredible finish. The top of the movement’s main plate also serves as the dial of the watch. Ingenious!

Even today creating frosted finishing is a challenge, there are very few craftsman who have the skills and experience to do the work. The most modern way to create brushed frosting is to burnish the surface (compress the metal without removing material), and this creates a finish so hard that it is impossible to hand engrave.

As you can see from the pictures, the frosted finish on the LM101 Frost is exquisite and really pops because MB&F has encircled the dial (which is actually just the top of the movement’s plate) within a high-polish bezel. Even the top of the beautifully curved lugs are finished with high-polish, whereas the sides of the case and lugs are brushed.

Domed sapphire crystal protects the floating balance wheel and the drool-inducing dial.

Domed sapphire crystal protects the floating balance wheel and the drool-inducing dial.

As with the original Legacy Machine 101, you get two slightly domed information dials; one that shows the watch’s power reserve (six o’clock position) and the other that displays minutes and hours. The dial itself is, despite that magnificent frosting work, is still dominated by the Legacy Machine calling card – the suspended balance wheel. The in-house LM101 makes a return on the LM101 Frost, and – as before – its drop dead gorgeous thanks to the joint talents of MB&F and Kari Voutilainen.

The Legacy Machine 101 Frost is offered in 18K red-gold and 18K yellow-gold, limited to just 33 pieces each. Both carry a retail price of US $64,000.

To learn more about MB&F, click here.

MB&F has a Space Pirate in its midst

Shiver me timbers! MB&F has just reinforced its position as one of the preeminent independent brands when it comes to mechanical art, and it’s all thanks to its new Horological Machine 6 (HM6) Space Pirate. It’s unlike anything that we (and we’re sure the watch world at large) has ever seen before, it’s well finished, and brilliantly executed by the brand that laughs in the face of normalcy.

It took us a while to believe it but, yes, it's a wristwatch and it tells the time.

It took us a while to believe it but, yes, it’s a wristwatch and it tells the time.