Alain Silberstein is a character. He used to have his own brand of watches, always with his whimsical look at horology. The company making watches in his name is now no more. But two years ago, he collaborated with RJ Romaine Jerome to create Subcraft. And this year, as the post-Basel treat from MB&F: The LM1 Silberstein.
Engraved on the case band between the lugs of LM1 Silberstein is a paraphrased quote from Gustave Flaubert:
“Le vrai bonheur est d’avoir sa passion pour métier”
which translates roughly as, “Making a profession of your passion is true happiness”. A phrase which we feel aptly describe the duo or Alain Silberstein and Max Büsser. And they put their creative heads together to come up with this Silberstein-ed interpretation of the LM1. This is not the first time the duo have worked together. In 2009, Alain had put his signature of primary colors and use of bold but simple shapes in the watch in the HM2.2 Silberstein. This was the first of the “Performance Art” series on MB&F. A series founded on using the MB&F models as a base, and reinterpretation by a list of external artists and designers. Another LM1 which has received the “Performance Art” touch is the LM1 Xia Hang which we reviewed here.
The MB&F LM1 Silberstein
What has changed from the regular LM1?
First, the use of the Silberstein signature colors of red, blue and yellow and the use of the simple geometric shapes of the triangle, the rectangle and circle. The hands and dial use these artistic elements. The hour hands on both dials are red triangles. The hour hands are blue rectangles and the power reserve is now a stick in three colors, moving in a vertical arc to indicate the up/down state of the mainspring barrel.
Second, the two dials, which on the original LM1 were membranes pulled tight over the convex dial surface, are now concave. The 12/3/6/9 markers are in yellow. The hands are also concave to follow the curvature of the dial.
Third, the bridge from which the balance wheel suspends from is now in a transparent sapphire glass. Silberstein felt that the original dual arching bridges on the LM1 was taking visual attention away from the balance. And he wanted to spotlight the balance as the “beating heart” of the watch. Hence the sapphire crystal bridge. This bridge is convex and echoes the huge convex sapphire crystal over the dial. Both these convex structures provide a contrast and counterpoint to the now concave dials.
The overall effect is rather stunning. For our eyes, except when viewed from the side, it looks like the entire face of the watch is flattened. This is in contrast to the regular LM1 which gives the impression of a fuller and perhaps fatter face, though the crystal covering the dial has not changed.
Fourth, the six pointed stars on the two crowns are now formed by overlapping two triangles. This can be felt as one uses the crown to wind or to set the time of the watch. Very tactile.
What has not changed?
The movement, the LM1 Engine is a joint development by Jean-François Mojon and Kari Voutilainen exclusively for MB&F has not changed. The beautiful and sensually shaped bridges still remain.
As are the technical specifications. One mainspring barrel providing 45 hours of power reserve, huge 14mm balance wheel with four regulating screws suspended over the dial. And an up/down vertical power reserve indicator.
On the wrist the LM1 Silberstein remains rather comfortable. The huge curvature of the sapphire crystal does not seem to take anything away from wearing it. And at 42.5mm wide, and 17mm high, it fits under the more generously proportioned cuff.
The price is now CHF 79,000 + VAT for the titanium and black titanium editions and CHF 88,000 + VAT for the red gold edition. This compares interestingly and very quite favorably with the original red and white gold versions were CHF 79,000 + VAT. The LM1 Xia Hang limited edition was CHF 92,000 + VAT, and the Platinum limited edition was CHF 98,000 + VAT.
LM1 SILBERSTEIN – TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
Limited editions of 3 × 12 pieces in red gold, titanium, or black PVD-treated titanium.
Three-dimensional horological movement developed exclusively for MB&F by Jean-François Mojon/
Chronode and Kari Voutilainen
Manual winding with single mainspring barrel
Power reserve: 45 hours
Balance bridge: transparent sapphire crystal
Balance wheel: bespoke 14mm balance wheel with four traditional regulating screws floating above
the movement and dials
Balance spring: traditional Breguet overcoil terminating in mobile stud holder
Balance frequency: 18,000bph/2.5Hz
Number of components: 279
Number of jewels: 23
Chatons: gold chatons with polished countersinks
Fine finishing: superlative hand finishing throughout respecting 19th-century style; internal bevel angles
highlighting hand craft; polished bevels; hand-made engravings; frosted finish
Hours and minutes; completely independent dual time zones displayed on two dials; unique vertical
power reserve indicator
Crown at 8 o’clock for setting time of left dial; crown at 4 o’clock for setting time of right dial and winding
Available in 18k red gold, grade 5 titanium or grade 5 titanium treated with black PVD
Dimensions: 42.5mm wide × 17mm high
Number of components: 41
Water resistance: 30m / 3atm / 90’
High domed sapphire crystal on top and sapphire crystal on back with anti-reflective coating on both
sides; balance wheel bridge in sapphire crystal.
STRAP & BUCKLE
Black hand-stitched calfskin strap with black topstitched seams with red gold case, or red topstitched
seams with both titanium cases.