Engraved in French 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”.
The phrase carries special meaning for both French watch designer Alain Silberstein, who left the safety of working in his trained profession as an interior designer to found his own watch brand, and MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser, who left the security of being a successful CEO of a well-known brand to found his own niche creative lab.
In 2009, MB&F had called on Silberstein to create its very first piece of ‘Performance Art’ – reinterpretations by external art- ists and designers of existing MB&F Machines. The result was the HM2.2 ‘Black Box’, followed by a long list of collabora- tions with other creators.
For this new Performance Art series, Silberstein has taken MB&F’s classic Legacy Machine No.1 and imbued it with his unique flair for the unconventional. His use of his signature three bright colours and shapes: red, blue and yellow; triangle, rectangle and circle for the hands and dial markers; and three-dimensionally translated as a cone, cube and sphere for the power reserve, catch the eye as they contrast against the more subdued movement plate below.
However, it is the concave curve of the subdials that highlights the artist’s philosophical approach most. While the convex sapphire crystal dome and balance bridge offer protection from outside forces, the concave subdials attract and welcome the “eternal time” of the universe into the movement, where it is transformed and displayed as two completely independent time zones. Naturally, the hands are similarly concave so that they seamlessly complement the curvature of the dials. Silberstein felt strongly that, as the balance is the “beating heart” of the timepiece, nothing should break the view of the dial side regulator or block “eternal time” from reaching the time indications. He also thought that as graceful as the dual arcing bridges of the original LM1 were, they took too much visual attention from the indications. Two years of development were required to create the transparent sapphire crystal balance bridge to the incredibly tight tolerances required to support the balance wheel. And all of that work for an elegantly shaped component that is essentially designed to be invisible. Even the two crowns are steeped in Silberstein magic: their distinctive six-pointed star shapes formed by overlapping two triangles make winding a tactile pleasure.
LM1’s ingenious three-dimensional movement was specifically developed for MB&F from Maximilian Büsser’s sketches by Jean-François Mojon and his team at Chronode together with independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen. The balance wheel and spring at the very heart of any mechanical watch movement are responsible for regulating timekeeping accuracy. It is in the style and finish of the bridges and plates visible through the sapphire crystal window on the back of the movement where Kari Voutilainen has excelled in providing exquisite historical fidelity; both in the shape of the elegantly curved bridges, and the traditionally wide space between the bridges and between the perimeter of the bridges and the case. On the back of the movement, oversized ruby jewels set in highly-polished countersunk gold chatons provide striking visual counterpoints to the frosted, sensually curved bridges. While providing historical links with the large jewels seen in high-grade antique pocket watch movements, the ruby bearings have a practical application in reducing wear and increasing longevity by accommodating large diameter pinions and holding more lubricating oil.
The MB&F Legacy Machine 1 Silberstein, can be found in 3 different versions, 18K Red Gold, Grade 5 Titanium and Grade 5 Titanium treated with Black PVD, each one being a limited edition of 12 pieces.
Retail Price: $92,000 USD for the Rose Gold Edition, $83,000 USD for the Titanium and Black Titanium. For more info. on MB&F, Click Here.