Max Busser is a master at what he does. Every piece to come out from his MB&F brand is a masterpiece…the question is only if its a major masterpiece or a a mere masterstroke. This BaselWorld 2015, he announced not only the new clock called Melchior (review coming soon), but also a new watch…rather a variation of the MB&F LM101 Frost…the tagline Frost is descriptive, and refers to the new watch being a variant of the base LM101 we reviewed here.
MB&F LM101 Frost
So what’s new? The watch is a variant the entry level MB&F watch (lowest retail price, and point of entry for a MB&F wristwatch): the LM101. But this release carries a premium price over the regulat LM101, retailing at S$95,000 instead of S$82,500. Needless to say, it is every bit an MB&F: and is the result of the collaboration with Eric Giroud for product design and Kari Voutilainen for movement aesthetics and finishing. What’s new is the finishing of the base plate. Now a powerful visual impact of the two brilliant white subdials hovering over the frosted movement top plate. The blued gold hands display the hours and minutes and a 45 hour power reserve indicator is also present, and provide not only the ability to tell the time, but also visual contrast to the gold frosted top plate, and the prestine white subdials. Of course, the most dominant feature of the dial side is the suspended balance wheel, now rhodium plated for aesthetics.
The frosted finish, known as finition grenée in French is credited to A.L. Breguet in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The method to create the frosting was by treating the material to dangerous acids, and was intended to protect the dials and movements from oxidation. Today, however, the finish is executed by use of a wire brush, which physically compacts the surface. The new technique is medically and environmentally safer, but requires great skill in order to obtain an uniform, non-polished surface. This hand worked method is understandably laborious and time consuming and requires a skilled craftsman. The industrial alternative is to bead blast the surface, but this creates a finish which is often too uniform and lacks visual impact.
Over this intricate dial, is a massive high domed sapphire crystal with anti reflective coating on both sides to show off the case. We think from the side, it adds visual drama to the watch.
As is expected with Kari Voutilainen providing the input for movement aesthetics and finishing specifications, the result is a movement which is a classical lepine style movement with all the grace and fluidity that such a style affords. Note the harmonious nature of the bridges as it visually flows around the wheels. And the contrast between the matt finish bridges, the shiny anglage on the edges and the polished flying barrels.
The watch measures only 40mm in diameter and with the full high domed crystal on the front a height of 16mm, and wears rather nicely on the wrist, even smaller ones.
Price is S$95,000 Singapore retail inclusive of GST.
MB&F LM101 Frost
Three-dimensional movement developed in-house by MB&F
Movement aesthetics and finish specifications: Kari Voutilainen
Manual winding with single mainspring barrel
Power reserve: 45 hours
Balance wheel: Bespoke 14mm balance wheel with four traditional regulating screws floating above
the movement and dials
Balance spring: traditional Breguet curve terminating in mobile stud holder
Balance frequency: 18,000 bph / 2.5 Hz
Number of components: 229 components
Number of jewels: 23
Chatons: gold chatons with polished countersinks
Fine finishing: frosted mainplate, superlative hand finishing throughout respecting 19th century
style; internal bevel angles highlighting hand craft; polished bevels; hand-made engravings
Hours, minutes and power reserve indicator.
Large suspended balance wheel over dial
Available in 18k red gold (33 pieces) or 18k yellow gold (18 pieces)
Dimensions: 40 mm wide x 16 mm high
Number of components: 35
High domed sapphire crystal on top and box sapphire crystal on back with anti-reflective coating on
STRAP & BUCKLE
Dark or light brown hand-stitched alligator strap with gold tang buckle to match case.