LM101 MB&F x H. Moser
The LM101 MB&F x H. Moser is one of two new watches created by these two leading lights of the independent watchmaking scene. Each brand has contributed a sizeable portion of its genes to create a harmonious horological ensemble likely to engender widespread words of admiration.
In the esoteric world of luxury watchmaking there are behemoth brands, which often belong to conglomerates, medium-sized companies, which can still produced tens of thousands of watches per annum, and then there are the independents. Few obsessed horophiles can resist the charms of the independents. These firms are the mavericks of the watch industry, shunning focus groups and frequently making decisions based on gut-feeling.
While the major brands enjoy economies of scale and invariably choose to play it safe with mainstream products, the independents compete with off-piste concepts. Some ideas may prove risky, challenging accepted norms. However, there are moments when extraordinary creations vindicate the brave.
MB&F is a brand with a playful side. Its watches are often the result of wild ideas, distilled into dials, cases and movements. On some occasions I have looked at an MB&F watch smiled, set it down, knowing its not to my taste, but applauding the brand for its courage. On other occasions, it has seduced my soul with a glorious creation I would dearly love to own.
When the brand unveiled its inaugural Legacy Machine, the LM1 with its large balance wheel centre stage and two pure white dials, positioned either side, it looked magnificent. Some watch companies may have decided to sit back, enjoy all the plaudits and take a breath. However, MB&F clearly does not subscribe to this culture, subsequently, releasing the LM2, LM101, LM Perpetual et al.
Now, MB&F has joined forces with fellow independent Maison, H. Moser & Cie. The two companies have revisited the LM101, retaining some of the Legacy Machine DNA while infusing the model with a significant quotient of Schaffhausen mastery. The LM101 MB&F x H. Moser eschews the chaste-white dials of the original, positioning two unassuming leaf-shaped hour and minutes atop the dial membrane. A lone hand, located above 6 o’clock, articulates the available energy stored within the lone barrel.
Consistent with other H. Moser & Cie models, this steel watch is paired with one of the brand’s much-loved fumé dials. Fashionistas are indulged with a choice of vivid Cosmic Green and red dial options, while more conservative types are served with Funky Blue and Aqua Blue toned displays.
One glance at the LM101 MB&F x H. Moser demonstrates the merit of two highly imaginative brands collaborating and, in turn, concocting a delicious cocktail of mouthwatering details.
The brand’s press release (June 2020)
H. Moser & Cie. and MB&F are both independent, human-scale Swiss companies. They are run by two passionate personalities, longstanding acquaintances who both appreciate and respect each other on both a personal and professional level. The brands have in fact been working together for more than ten years, with Precision Engineering AG – a sister company of H. Moser & Cie. – notably supplying MB&F’s balance springs. It is therefore not surprising that MB&F asked Edouard Meylan to take part as a “friend” to help create a Performance Arts piece. The latest aspect of this collaboration lies in its being a two-way street. Maximilian Büsser says: “When I called Edouard to tell him that I wanted to collaborate on a creation, I mentioned that I really liked the double balance-spring, the Moser fumé dials and the Concept watch series. Edouard immediately told me that he would let me borrow these features, but on condition that he could also reinterpret one of my machines. After an initial moment of surprise, I gave it some thought. Being 50% Indian and 50% Swiss, I am firmly convinced that mixing DNA creates interesting results, so why not try the experiment in watchmaking? I therefore agreed and suggested the FlyingT model, which is particularly dear to my heart.” In a spirit of sharing and openness, while cultivating the notion of strength in unity, H. Moser & Cie. and MB&F have thus jointly created two models, available in several versions and issued in 15-piece limited series. This number is a nod to the 15th anniversary of MB&F as well as honouring the 15th anniversary of the relaunch of H. Moser & Cie. By pooling their strengths, these two competing yet friendly brands are working to harness the combined strengths of talented artisans, entirely in keeping with the philosophy adopted by MB&F.
LM101 MB&F × H. Moser
The Legacy Machine 101 distils the very quintessence of mechanical watchmaking: the balance wheel, the power reserve and the passing of time. It is therefore no coincidence that MB&F has chosen to revisit this model – one of the purest and “simplest” in its collection – since it is indeed minimalism that guided the creation of the LM101 MB&F × H. Moser model. Like H. Moser & Cie. and the “back to basics” approach embodied in its Concept watch series, MB&F has chosen to remove its logo and return to its roots and indeed to the very origins of horology, when only the movements were signed. In the same understated spirit, it has abandoned the floating domed subdials to display the hours and minutes as well as the 45-hour power reserve by means of hands placed directly on the main dial. The fumé dials borrowed from H. Moser & Cie. can thus be expressed in complete freedom, also enhanced by a refined bezel. Four fumé dials have been chosen for the LM101 MB&F × H. Moser: Red fumé, Cosmic Green fumé, Aqua Blue fumé and, of course, the famous Funky Blue fumé. Topped with a domed sapphire crystal, the case is made of steel, for only the third time in the history of MB&F.
The mesmerising large suspended balance wheel continues to take centre stage, albeit completely redesigned on the LM101 MB&F × H. Moser in order to highlight the beauty of the fumé dials. This beating heart, which represents the quintessence of watchmaking in the eyes of Maximilian Büsser, has been fitted with a double balance spring produced by Precision Engineering AG. Thanks to this pair of matching balance springs, the displacement of the point of gravity undergone by each spring as it expands is corrected, significantly improving precision and isochronism in a continuous quest for perfection. In addition, the paired balance springs also reduce the friction effect normally encountered with a single balance spring, resulting in optimised isochronism. Through the case back, the curved sapphire crystal reveals the ‘engine’ driving this timepiece. Unlike the base movement of the Legacy Machine 101, of which the finishes were determined by co-creator Kari Voutilainen, the aesthetics of the calibre that powers the LM101 MB&F × H. Moser is more contemporary, with a subtle NAC treatment to enhance its beauty.
Edouard Meylan and Maximilian Büsser are delighted with this rewarding collaborative project, which has achieved results far exceeding their expectations. In addition to the beauty of the models created in tandem, two bodies of expertise and two sets of DNA have been blended and mutually enriched. The two different communities of the two Maisons have also pooled their skills in a wonderful spirit of openness and transparency. This experience leaves Edouard and Maximilian with a keen sense of coming back to a sense of pleasure: the pleasure of working together and of creating.