In 2009, MB&F approached Alain Silberstein to create its very first piece of ‘Performance Art’, the result was the MB&F HM2.2 ‘Black Box’. For this new Performance Art series with Silberstein, the creative minds at MB&F have taken the Legacy Machine No.1 and tweaked it resulting in three watches available in a super exclusive limited edition of 12 pieces each —titanium, black titanium and 18K red gold. Alain Silberstein started his career in the French watchmaking industry in 1979 and found his own watch brand in 1990. Silberstein’s watches are known for the signature use of three bright primary colors —red, blue and yellow—, three simple geometric shapes —triangle, square/rectangle and circle— or in three tridimensional forms as a pyramid, cube and sphere. Silberstein was the first to create a watch with a sapphire crystal case and he was a pioneer in making haute horlogerie playful with his use of bright colors and non-traditional materials.
His watch company ceased operations in 2012 but today is being brought back to life with the new MB&F LM1 Silberstein. This new limited edition uses Silberstein's signature three bright colors and shapes: red, blue and yellow; triangle, rectangle and circle for the hands and dial markers; and tridimensionally translated as a cone, cube and sphere for the power reserve indicators.
The new MB&F LM1 Silberstein comes with a 42.5 mm case in 18k red gold, grade 5 titanium or grade 5 titanium treated with black PVD. Engraved on the caseband between the lugs of the new MB&F LM1 Silberstein is a quote from Gustave Flaubert that reads in French: “Le vrai bonheur est d’avoir sa passion pour métier” which roughly translates to: “Making a profession of your passion, is true happiness”. The phrase carries special meaning for both French watch
designer Alain Silberstein and MB&F's founder Maximilian Büsser. The first one left the comfort zone of working in his trained profession as an interior designer to found his own watch brand, while the latter, left the security of being a successful CEO of a well-known established brand to found his own niche creative lab.
Just as if the engraving on the caseband wasn't impressive enough, many colors catch the eye as they contrast against the more subdued movement plate below, but in reality what is the most impressive part, is how the different shapes create a symphony of geometry. However, the slight concave curve of the subdials highlights the artist’s philosophical approach the most.
Naturally, the hands are similarly concave so that they complement the curvature of the dials. The colors and shapes of the concave hands highlight Silberstein’s meticulously practical approach to artistic design. When reading the time, the hour is generally the first bit of information required. Therefore, the hour hands are a bright red triangle, while the minute hands are a thin blue rectangle.
The three primary colors found on the subdials are echoed in the three shapes that form the tridimensional power reserve indicator at 6 o'clock —an upside down blue cone, a red cube, and a yellow sphere, all stacked up one on top of the other.
For the design of the new MB&F LM1 Silberstein, Alain 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 arching bridges of the original LM1 were, they took too much visual attention from the indications. Therefore, the balance bridge is now made of sapphire crystal on this new limited edition. Two years of development were required to create this transparent sapphire crystal balance bridge. Ironically, the elegantly shaped component was essentially designed to become invisible when admiring the dial.
The six-pointed crowns —comprised of two overlapping triangles— also reinforce the collaborative aspect of this Performance Art piece: the shapes and colors of the crown are pure
Silberstein, while the battle-axe logo represents MB&F. Their distinctive six-pointed star shape make winding a tactile pleasure. The crown at 8 o’clock is used for setting the time of the left dial —second time zone— and the crown at 4 o’clock for winding and for setting the time of the right dial —home time.
Powering the new MB&F LM1 Silberstein Limited Edition is the tri-dimensional horological movement developed exclusively for MB&F by Jean-François Mojon/Chronode and Kari Voutilainen. The manual wound movement composed of 279 parts and 23 jewels —in gold chatons with polished countersinks— features a single mainspring barrel, a transparent sapphire crystal balance bridge, a bespoke 14mm balance wheel with four traditional regulating screws floating above the movement and dials and a traditional Breguet overcoil terminating in mobile stud holder. The movement fully visible via the display case back is exquisitely done with a frosted finish and beats at a frequency of 18,000 vph to provide a power reserve of 45 hours.
The MB&F LM1 Silberstein is equipped with a black hand-stitched calfskin strap with double top stitched seams. In the case of the 18K red gold case version, the stitching is black, while in the case of both titanium cases, the double top stitching is red providing perfect harmony along with the red hour hands. The double top stitching is present at the lugs and at the pin buckle.
On the wrist, the MB&F LM1 Silberstein wears true to its size with impressive wrist presence. While at first is somewhat odd to see this much color on an MB&F creation, this is a watch that fuses two bright minds in one colorful and very playful Legacy Machine No. 1, that is nonetheless exceptional. Again, the newMB&F Legacy Machine No.1 LM1 Silberstein is available in a limited edition of 12 pieces for each version.
Sticker Price $83,000 USD for either of the titanium pieces and $92,000 USD for 18K Red Gold. For more info on MB&F click here.