For Maximilian Büsser and MB&F, creative energy comes in seven-year cycles. It was in MB&F’s seventh year that the Legacy Machine collection was born, that the first M.A.D.Gallery opened in Geneva and opened the door to the MB&F co-creations. Even the most unpredictable and audaciously led lives, when observed from a distance, form patterns and fall into cycles. This is a fundamental truth that underlies all human existence, whether individual or collective. The 14th year of MB&F unveiled a new avenue of horological exploration, an evolution of creative horizons for founder and company alike: the Legacy Machine FlyingT, first launched in 2019, is the first of MB&F’s three dimensional horological art pieces dedicated to women. A round case in gold or platinum, with a steeply cambered bezel and slender, elongated lugs, often fully set with diamonds. A high, extravagantly convex dome of sapphire crystal rises from the bezel. Beneath the dome, a subtly curved dial plate in various finishes: liquidly black with layers of stretched lacquer, guilloche, sparkling in lapis lazuli, or glittering with blazing white diamonds.
An asymmetric ventricular opening in the dial plate frames the heart of the LM FlyingT engine – a cinematic flying tourbillon that beats at a serene rate of 2.5Hz (18,000vph). The tourbillon projects high above the rest of the engine, a kinetic, dynamic column that stops just short of the apex of the sapphire crystal dome. Affixed to the top of the upper tourbillon cage is a single large diamond that rotates simultaneously with the flying tourbillon, emitting the fiery brilliance of the very best quality stones. At the 7 o’clock position – another reference to the numeric theme that runs throughout LM FlyingT – is a dial of black or white lacquer (or lapis lazuli) that displays the hours and minutes with a pair of elegant serpentine hands. The dial is inclined at a 50° tilt so that the time can be read only by the wearer, an intimate communication that highlights the personal nature of LM FlyingT. On the reverse, the automatic winding rotor takes the shape of a three-dimensional red gold sun with sculpted rays, providing LM FlyingT with four days of power reserve.
The design of Legacy Machine FlyingT is replete with associations drawn from the feminine and maternal influences in Maximilian Büsser’s life. Says Büsser, “I wanted LM FlyingT to possess the epitome of femininity as reflected by the women in my life, particularly my mother. It had to combine supreme elegance with tremendous vitality. The column-like structure of the flying tourbillon was very important to me as I felt very strongly that women form the pillar of humanity. At the same time, there is another layer of meaning coming in from the sun-shaped rotor, which incorporates the element of life giving, a source of sustenance which we gravitate towards and around.” Legacy Machine FlyingT was first launched in 2019 in three editions, all in white gold and set with diamonds: black lacquer dial plate with case set with brilliant-cut diamonds; dial plate and case both fully set with brilliantcut diamonds; and dial plate and case both fully set with baguette-cut diamonds.
In 2020, LM FlyingT added three new references, first shedding its diamonds with limited editions in red gold and platinum, featuring guilloche dial plates; and now back in an 18k white gold case adorned with diamonds, with a new dial plate in deep blue lapis lazuli. The creative process behind Legacy Machine FlyingT started four years ago, when Maximilian Büsser began thinking about making something inspired by the feminine influences in his life. Says Büsser, “I created MB&F to do what I believe in, making three-dimensional sculptural kinetic art pieces that give the time. I was creating for myself, which is the only way we could have made all these crazy and audacious pieces over the years. But at some point there came a desire to create something for the women in my family. I’ve been surrounded by their influence all my life, so I gave myself the challenge to do something for them.” Inspiration came from the combination of seemingly incompatible qualities that characterised the greatest feminine figures in Maximilian Büsser’s life. Elegance was key, but so was an infectious energy that could captivate an entire roomful of people. The lines and composition of Legacy Machine FlyingT epitomise these qualities, being as refined and pure as any other Legacy Machine, but with the dynamism and exuberance of a central flying tourbillon. The intimate and personal nature of LM FlyingT led to the ultimate placement of the time indication at the 7 o’clock position on the dial plate, with the dial tilted 50° to face the wearer. The message is subtle but clear – that whoever the owners and wearers of Legacy Machine FlyingT may be, their time belongs to them and no one else. UNLOCKING THE FEMININE SIDE OF MB&F “The last thing I wanted to do,” says Maximilian Büsser, “was to take a masculine timepiece, resize it, put a different colour on it and call it a ladies’ watch.” Each MB&F creation is drawn together in a complex process that is equal parts original Max Büsser concept, design finesse by Eric Giroud, and mechanical ingenuity by the in-house technical team.
Aesthetic and philosophical coherence is essential to the final result, from the adventurous Horological Machine N°5 “On The Road Again” to the high-complication, technically ambitious Legacy Machine Perpetual. To bring out a different level of refinement for the feminine LM FlyingT, the Legacy Machine case was completely redesigned. Case height and diameter were reduced in order to shift the focus to the highly convex sapphire crystal dome. The lugs were slimmed down, their curves were emphasised, and deep bevels were introduced to create a more elegant profile. Harsh or particularly defined lines have been tempered throughout LM FlyingT, such as in the example of the hour and minute hands, which take on an undulating shape – echoed in the rays of the sun-shaped automatic winding rotor. Asymmetry is highlighted in the design of LM FlyingT, from the positioning of the time display at 7 o’clock to the ventricular dial-plate aperture that frames the emerging tourbillon. Even the tourbillon cage itself embraces asymmetry, opting for a cantilevered double-arch upper bridge instead of the symmetrical battleaxe which has topped all other MB&F tourbillons. Woven throughout Legacy Machine FlyingT are subtle references to the aspects of femininity that resonate strongest with Max Büsser, such as the solar motif of the automatic winding rotor and the column construction of the tourbillon, which introduce concepts of life-giving and support.