Introducing the MB&F LM Thunderdome Timepiece

By Paul Joseph

MB&F has built its brand identity on uniting some of the world’s most inventive independent watch artisans, and the new Legacy Machine Thunderdome, which was unveiled late last year, is no exception.

Not only does the unconventional timepiece feature a world-first, proprietary tourbillon device, but it also marks the first collaboration between watchmakers Eric Coudray and Kari Voutilainen.

The heart of the latest piece in the popular Legacy Machine series - offered in two limited editions in either a tantalum or platinum case - is the so-called TriAx tourbillon mechanism designed by Coudray.

It replaces the traditional but more cumbersome system, which links one tourbillon cage with each rotating axis, with a three-axis, two-cage configuration that allows for maximum visibility of the tourbillon escapement’s beating heart - all under a large domed sapphire crystal that gives the model its sci-fi nickname.

Off-center at 6 o’clock is an analog subdial with Roman numerals on which the watch tells the time with two blued hands.

To control the rate of energy escaping from the movement’s barrel, MB&F and Coudray opted for a so-called Potter escapement, named after 19th century watchmaker Albert H. Potter, which is notable for its use of a fixed escape wheel rather than the more common, mobile wheel.

This combination of a fixed wheel within a tri-axial mechanism, has never been used in watchmaking before. It allows for higher rotational speeds for the cages - the innermost completing a turn every 8 seconds, the intermediate one every 12 seconds, and the outermost cage making its full orbit every 20 seconds.

All of this makes for a visually dynamic horological tableau on the dial side of the watch, aided by the hemispherical balance, which wraps around the helical hairspring.

The LM Thunderdome, with a 44-mm case and a blue hand-stitched alligator strap, is available in two limited editions: 33 pieces in platinum 950, with a light-blue guilloché dial plate; 10 pieces in tantalum; 5 pieces bearing a dark-blue guilloché dial; and 5 pieces with an inlaid aventurine dial.

The retail price of the platinum edition is €215,000.

By Paul Joseph