The big news from MB&F this year was the release of the Legacy Machine 101, a timepiece that pays tribute to the great horological inventors of the 18th century. Haute Time recently had the chance to speak with Maximilian Büsser, and asked him about his latest creation.
The Legacy Machine 101 is the smallest (at 40mm) and most affordable MB&F timepiece ever made. Can you tell us about the motivations behind those decisions?
Simplifying is much more difficult than complicating. The challenge was to extract the essence of our Legacy Machine series. The LM101 (seen below) is a sort of prequel. It should have been the first Legacy but finally only came third in line. It is the purest form of what a Legacy should be: Hours, minutes, power reserve and a flying balance wheel. Simple, elegant, impactful. It will fit the smallest wrist, and still engage with this enormous balance wheel slowly oscillating high over the dial. It’s the purest form of watchmaking for us.
The LM 101 also boasts the first hand finished movement conceived, designed, and developed entirely in-house by MB&F. Many consider this feat as the biggest stepping-stone in a brand’s history. Would you agree with that, now that’s you’ve realized this achievement?
Actually it is a big step and it isn’t at the same time. We never set out to develop our movements in-house, as the whole idea of MB&F is to develop our concepts with outside talents who are all credited for their work. So developing our own movement was basically about integrating that talent. The step is not that big, and at the same time, on an emotional level it is gigantic. Developing in house does not mean the quality will be better or worse than outside, but it gives a sense of wholesomeness to the company and the team. From now on, we will do both: continue developing movements outside but also our own in house projects. With a bit of chance – and a lot of money, energy, enthusiasm – we will in this way manage to come out with two calibers per year!
Just like the first Legacy Machine, the LM 101 is a collaborative effort between three men: Yourself, designer Eric Giroud, and independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen. It’s not the first time Mr. Voutilainen contributes to an MB&F, and it’s obvious you enjoy surrounding yourself with great talents, but what would you say is the greatest benefit of working in teams.
Some of the greatest artists, craftsmen, watchmakers are ferociously independent – and would never work as an employee in a company. Working with them not only enhances enormously the quality of the craftsmanship, but also brings new ideas to the creation. Creativity is not a democracy and at the end of the day, I will be pretty much a dictator on everything which touches on the aesthetics of the product, but working with these great people enriches incredibly the final result.
The LM 101 is the latest addition to your Legacy Machine line, which is inspired by historical timepieces. However, you also boast a very avant-garde line in the Horological Machines collection (seen below, the HM5). Does it feel like you are embarking on two very different paths, or are you finding out many similarities in the watchmaking process of these timepieces?
I have become totally schizophrenic since we embarked on the Legacy adventure. Half of our creations relate to my childhood, mixing the 70’s era, science fiction heroes and other influences from those times (the Horological Machines); and the other half to the 18th and 19th centuries where I try to imagine what I would have loved to create then (the Legacy Machines). It is a pretty weird and very intense creative process which sends us continuously back and forth – so for sure some elements get mixed up! What actually links both types of Machines is the quality of the engineering, finishing and watchmaking. Be it modernistic or traditional, our pieces benefit from the most amazing artisans and highest quality.
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