The Legacy Machine Turns Ten: The MB&F LMX

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Back in January we brought you news of MB&F’s newest watch in their ongoing Horological Machine series, the HM9 “Sapphire Vision,” an expression of their uniquely shaped wrist watch with a case made primarily of sapphire glass. The reaction on our Instagram feed was, well, filled with emojis of a certain purple vegetable. And that’s fine. MB&F’s watches are certainly created with a sense of whimsy and good humor, and the Horological Machine line in particular lends itself to certain flights of fancy. They’re imaginative, avant-garde, and often intentionally provocative. The Legacy Machine series, however, is a little different. While still experimental at their core, these watches look more like watches, and are perhaps a little easier understood. The latest Legacy Machine, the LMX, celebrates ten years of the product line, and serves as an interesting counterpoint to the HM9. 

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While the Horological Machine aesthetic can be summed up as “anything goes” as long as it doesn’t resemble a traditional watch, the Legacy Machine watches are fundamentally different. We’re dealing with circular cases and time telling through a traditional dial design that’s mounted in a peculiar way, alongside the Legacy Machine’s trademark, a central flying balance wheel. The small Legacy Machine dials, balance wheel, and other components are visible under a highly domed, bubble-like crystal that gives these watches a truly distinctive profile. Throughout the years, the Legacy Machine has served as a basis for a variety of complications and dial designs, and it’s exciting to see what MB&F comes up with from within the LM framework. 

The LMX is a dual time Legacy Machine displaying completely independent reference times on inclined dials. Each dial can be set independently of one another, which as anyone who has ever played with a traditional GMT watch will recognize is not a common feature by any stretch. The tilting of each dial is a necessity for easy readability, but is also a subtle flex on the part of MB&F, as the transfer of energy from a horizontal to vertical plane requires specially made conical gears designed specifically for use in the Legacy Machine. 

As is typical of the Legacy Machine, movement components are visible on the dial side, including the large balance wheel that hovers over everything. The gear at 6:00 doubles as a running seconds indicator, and at 12:00 you’ll find the power reserve indicator, which is where this Legacy Machines’ party trick comes into play. The power reserve shows time in two formats, days of the week on one side, and numbered days on the other. This module can be rotated by the wearer while the watch is on the wrist through a function in the crown system, allowing for the seven day reserve to be displayed in the format of their choosing. While this might not be the most useful, tool-like feature we’ve seen on a watch, there’s a charm to it, and it nicely shows off the brand’s engineering and design prowess, as well as calling attention to an impressive store of power when fully wound. 

Two versions of the LMX will be made, and both are limited editions. A total of 33 pieces will be available in titanium at a cost of $112,000, and 18 pieces in red gold at $128,000. While certainly out of reach for almost everyone, the watch can still be enjoyed from afar, simply by knowing it exists, and gawking at the impressive photos you’ll find on MB&F’s site and, shortly, throughout certain corners of Instagram. 

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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