MB & F – Legacy Machine Thunderdome

by Chamath Gamage

MB&F has collaborated for the first time with legends Eric Coudray and Kari Voutilainen to bring us a world-first for watchmaking. These two watchmakers are notoriously known for their unorthodox, jaw-dropping complications along with perfectionism of the traditional craft of watchmaking. 

MB&F’s direct task for Eric Coudraw was to initially “make a watch with the craziest and most cinematic three-axis tourbillon ever.”  This free reign to create was how the two profound watchmakers came up with the fantastic timepiece: The Legacy Machine Thunderdome. 

The name Thunderdome comes from how a thunderbolt is created and the raw power it possesses. Storms and freak atmospheric conditions are created in situations where cold and warm currents meet. In a similar fashion, when two designers with different styles meet, you can expect some sparks to fly, with the result being a truly beautiful masterpiece. 

On the blue guilloche dial, there is somewhat of spherical chaos, with gears, pinions and cages all coming together. This is the proprietary new “TriAx” mechanism which is a world-first in that it features three axes revolving at different speeds on different planes. The triple-axis rotating escapement is mesmerising with its three-axis -tow cage configuration that allows the viewer to see the full extent of Thunderdomes heart. 

Another marvel to this piece is the use of a fixed escape wheel ps the Potter escapement. Escape wheels control the rate at which energy escapes from the barrel where virtually all modern escapements are mobile escape wheels. The use of a Potter escapement (fixed escape wheel) allows for higher rotational speeds, which seems like it’s required in such a complex piece like the Legacy Machine Thunderdome. 

A Potter escapement with a tri-axial rotating mechanism in one watch is definitely a world first. Combining these two is needed; however, as the high-speed rotation spends energy quite fast. The inner cage on the tri-axial mechanism completes one turn in 8 seconds; the intermediate cage completes one rotation in 12 seconds with the outer cage doing a single rotating every 20 seconds. 

The actual watch dial on the Legacy Machine Thunderdome is at a slightly slanted angle so that it won’t interfere with the tri-axial escapement. Having dial at a slight angle also allows for better viewing when worn on the wrist. The case-back of the watch is equally as stunning as the front of the watch. The triple barrel manual winding movement thought out by Eric Coudray has been creatively visualised by Kari Voutilanen.  Between the rounded bridges, sharp hand-bevelled angles and mirrored curves, countless sessions between the two watchmakers passed before they were able to come to these finishing touches. 

A closely guarded secret in Kari Voutilanen’s workshops, he has applied his proprietary style of finish on the ratchet wheels. This finish adds a serpentine shimmer to the circular surface, which when catching light appears in sigmoid waves. This type of finishing requires years of practice and specialised tools to create. 

The Legacy Machine Thunderdome is a real masterclass eye-opener even for those true watch connoisseur who has a deep understanding of multi-axis tourbillons. The Legacy Machine Thunderdome is faster, showcased like never before and also large in size thanks to the arch of the sapphire crystal dome. 

MB&F have released the Legacy Machine Thunderdome in two limited edition variants. The first is thirty-three pieces in Platinum 950 that comes with a light-blue guilloche dial plate. The second release is ten pieces in tantalum celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Asia Pacific retail group; The Hour Glass. Five pieces from this ten-piece release have a dark-blue guilloche dial while the other five will get an inlaid aventurine dial. 

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