MB&F LM Thunderdome 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.

MB&F LM Thunderdome

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.

MB&F LM Thunderdome

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.

MB&F LM Thunderdome Caseback

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.

MB&F LM Thunderdome

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.

MB&F LM Thunderdome

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.

MB&F LM Thunderdome

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.