MB&F is less a watchmaker, more a collaborative workshopping exercise. They bring together serious experts in the field on ground-breaking projects like most brands launch re-issues. It’s almost unfair. Their latest is no exception in that it’s one of the most impressive watches we’ve seen in the last few months.
Welcome to the Legacy Machine Thunderdome: two watchmakers enter, one watch leaves.
The Thunderdome is obviously a piece of mechanical genius. Developed by horological virtuoso Eric Coudray, the core of the watch is the new TriAx tourbillon. As the name suggests, this is a tourbillon that works across three axes, turning in three directions at once, all at different speeds. It takes 8 seconds for the innermost revolution; 12 seconds for the middle and 20 seconds for the outermost ring, making it a record-breaker.
There have been a few multi-axis tourbillons over the last 15 years, be that double tourbillons or even gyrotourbillons. None have left quite the impression of MB&F’s TriAx confugiration, and especially not at this speed.
Fortunately we don’t need to try and interpret the turnings of the tourbillon to read the time as the entire thing is translated onto a simple white enamel dial at what I guess you’d consider 6 o’clock. The dial is slanted to allow easy reading without obstructing the whirring cage behind it.
It’s one hell of a sight, all the more so when placed against the serpentine blue waves of the guilloche dial. If that dial looks familiar, it’s because it has another horological icon behind it: Kari Voutilainen. The master of finishing it a nice counterbalance to Coudray’s technical approach to watchmaking and makes for a spectacular-looking timepiece.
The finishing on the reverse is just as beautiful, with Voutilainen’s proprietary serpentine finishing covering pretty much every flat surface.
The entire thing is enclosed in a huge sapphire dome, giving full view of the phenomenal TriAx complication and flooding it with light, while the case is available in two variations. The first, with a light blue dial is in 950 platinum, limited to 33 pieces worldwide.
The second is heavyweight tantalum, limited to 10 pieces – 5 with a dark blue guilloche dial, 5 with aventurine. This particular limited edition has been built to commemorate The Hour Glass, the retail group that helped build MB&F into what they are today. We tip our collective hat to them.
Regardless of which version you plump for, this is a watch like no other. Not only is it a ground-breaking mechanical marvel, but it’s the first time industry legends Coudray and Voutilainen have signed a watch together. Let’s hope it won’t be the last.
Price & Specs:
Model Name: MB&F LM Thunderdome
Ref: 06.PL-BL (platinum); 06.TAL.BLG (tantalum)
Case/Dial: 44mm diameter x 22.2mm thickness, platinum or tantalum, light blue dial (platinum) or dark blue (tantalum)
Water Resistance: 30 metres (3 bar)
Movement: LM Thunderdome engine, manual-winding, triple-barrel
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power Reserve: 45h
Functions: Hours, minutes, power reserve, central exposed 3 axis regulating mechanism
Strap: Blue alligator with matching folding buckle
Price: $280,000, limited to 33 pieces (platinum) and 10 pieces (tantalum) in partnership of watch retailer The Hour Glass.
More details at MB&F’s website.