MB&F Legacy Machine LM101
The third MB&F Legacy Machine LM101 timepiece is this LM101 model, which represents not only a smaller case size but also a new and more “affordable” price. Let’s be clear, MB&F watches have been, and will continue to be high-end luxury products, but the new Legacy Machine 101 comes in with a new accessible price that is over $30,000 less than the LM1, and over $100,000 less than the LM2. So let’s see just where this new Legacy Machine fits in with the overall product range.
As you may know, MB&F vacillates between producing new Horological Machine (HM) and Legacy Machine (LM) products. One collection looks into the future while the other looks into the past. The LM101 continues in the same direction as the previous Legacy Machine models, but is meant to be a simplified model taken down to its most basic level. MB&F wanted to include only those key elements that makes the Legacy Machine, a Legacy Machine.
So, in simplifying the LM101 what did they do? If you recall, the first Legacy Machine LM1 (hands-on here) had two dials for the time and a neat “vertical” power reserve indicator. Going much higher-end, the Legacy Machine LM2 (hands-on here) featured a much more complex movement with dual balance wheels. So how is that all simplified? The LM101 has just one dial for the time, one balance wheel, and a more traditional power reserve indicator.
Of course, the major dial element of the Legacy Machine will continue to be the towering balance wheel which dominates the face with its 14mm wide diameter and impressive arching bridge. It looks fantastic as ever and even larger, given the smaller dimensions of the case. The dial now features a new a asymmetric layout, which nevertheless does its best to appear balanced. Having said that, the gorgeous symmetry of the LM1 and LM2 are difficult to forget given their very successful dial designs.
MB&F continues to find success with the brushed and striped face upon which the complications are placed. The large, domed sapphire crystal is an amazing design element which is imbued with a generous amount of anti-reflective coating. While proportions of the case are different given its smaller size, the overall effect of the Legacy Machine design continues to be impressive, especially compared with other available classic yet avant-garde-designed luxury timepieces.
So how much smaller is the MB&F Legacy Machine LM101 compared to the LM1 or LM2? The previous models arrived in 44mm wide cases, while the LM101 is just 40mm wide. That is easily the smallest MB&F watch ever made, and it is difficult to consider that MB&F produced it without pressure from clients who wanted something smaller in size. While we felt that the Legacy Machine 1 was a wonderful daily wear for most wrist sizes, if your wrists are on the smaller side then the LM101 might be a better bet.
Personally, I continue to be impressed by massively interesting LM2 and the very beautiful LM1–which continues to be by far my favorite of the Legacy Machine models. So yes, I have a favorite. Not only do I like the larger size of the LM1, but I also prefer the symmetrical dial. MB&F couldn’t just offer a reduced size LM1, so the LM101 is really the logical option given that with a new size they also needed a new movement and dial design.
While visually very similar, the LM101 has a totally new movement that has been completely designed in-house by MB&F. Having said that, you’ll notice that the movement lacks the name of Jean-Francois Mojon (as the LM1 and LM2 have) but retains the name of Kari Voutilainen. What does that mean? Mojon’s name is absent because MB&F themselves designed the movement, while Kari’s shop is still in charge of their beautiful decoration and finishing.
The manually wound movement has a power reserve of 45 hours and once again operates at 2.5 Hz (18,000). The reason for this more moderate movement frequency is that it allows for a more attractive view of the large balance wheel’s operation. In addition to the balance wheel being on the dial, the LM101 also has the anchor and escapement there.
Notice that the power reserve indicator moves in the opposite way than most people are accustomed. The white lacquer dials and blue steel hands of both dials are as nice as ever and make for a lot of legibility, even though they are partially covered by the balance wheel (especially the dial for the time). For this LM101 model especially, the bridge for the balance wheel is impressively polished with thick round arms.
MB&F will once again offer this Legacy Machine model in two different gold metals. There will be an 18k red gold version as well as an 18k white gold model. Each will have a slightly distinct face color as well as matching strap (brown alligator for the red gold model and black alligator for the white gold model). Build quality, as well as fit and finish are simply top notch (as always) for an MB&F product.
There are two different ways to look at the Legacy Machine 101. The first is as being the first affordable (or wearable) MB&F watch that perhaps you’ve been waiting for, given their slew of amazing, but rather large or loud timepieces. However, existing MB&F fans might see the LM101 from a different angle, as being an effort to be more mainstream by MB&F and find less appeal here than some of their more elaborately conceived models. True enough, as MB&F has matured they have attempted to supplement their more wild products with those that have more immediate marketability.
At perfectwrist.co, we prefer to see the LM101 as a product aimed at a new market versus something existing MB&F fans will want to gobble up with immediacy. What is also interesting is that Urwerk, a high-end Swiss brand MB&F is very friendly with and has worked with before (they produced the C3H5N3O9 brand together) also released a very similarly priced “entry-level” product this year with the UR-105M (hands-on here). So there must be something to this price point.