Less than a year ago, aBlogtoWatch debuted the MB&F LM101 watch, the brand’s new entry-level Legacy Machine watch model, and for 2015, MB&F continues the LM101 family with a new model called the MB&F LM101 Frost – which also happens to include MB&F’s first timepiece offered in an 18k yellow gold case.
While the prominence of 18k rose/red/pink gold is not surprising, I am curious as to why yellow gold seemed to fall out of favor with so many brands. It isn’t that you can’t get 18k yellow gold watches (Rolex has a few nice ones), but they are much less common compared to alloys like rose gold. Anyhow, the limited edition MB&F LM101 Frost comes in either 18k red gold or yellow gold.
The “Frost” name of the MB&F LM101 Frost refers to the particular finishing technique applied to the dial. MB&F points out that the dial of the MB&F LM101 Frost watch is actually the back of the movement’s mainplate. “Frosted” surfaces are a texture you don’t seen very often on today’s watches, but movements are where you would normally see it. In rare instances, you’ll find frost-finished surfaces such as on watches from Roger Smith like this George Daniels 35th Anniversary Watch.
MB&F doesn’t apply frost-finishing to the movement but, rather, to just the dial. Come to think of it, I can’t think of any other watches that have dials with this finishing. I wonder if there are others out there. For watch collectors, the design is reminiscent of antique pocket watches from the era of Abraham-Louis Breguet. I’ve seen this finishing on his watches as well as those on pocket watches and other timepieces from some of his contemporaries. MB&F makes a very literal “legacy statement” for the MB&F LM101 Frost by applying this finishing to the dials.
The dials/movement plates are in 18k gold as well, and meant to match the case material of the watch. This adds a new harmonious looks to the MB&F LM101 Frost that did not exist with the previous models. It changes the nature of the watch, and these are certainly a bit more “blingy,” being gold on gold. I wouldn’t call them gaudy, though, as they take on a more traditional look which calls attention more in the sense of visual fascination versus pure status items. I think the MB&F LM101 Frost watches add an interesting look to the brand, even though they aren’t what I would call “traditionally MB&F designs.” In my opinion, the popularity of the Legacy Machine watches added a new tangential personality to the MB&F brand which is distinct and in some ways separate from its Horological Machine (HM) personality.
MB&F uses the LM101 movement inside of the MB&F LM101 Frost watches which was totally designed by MB&F and is produced and finished with the oversight of watchmaker Kari Voutilainen – whose work we rather adore. The beautiful movement design uses a lot of attractive hand-finishing and is meant to really emphasize some of the features in classic movements collectors enjoy such as gold chatons, large ruby stones, dramatically curved and beveled bridge edges, and blued steel screws.
The movement operates at 18,000 bph (2.5Hz) with a large 14mm-wide balance wheel operating in the center of the dial and held above the main dial with an elevated bridge. The movement is manually wound with 45 hours of power reserve. The face of the watch offers a lot of space to enjoy the frosted surfacing, with a power reserve indicator dial at 6 o’clock as well as an off-center dial for the time.
Given the exposed escapement and balance wheel, the dial has a lot of visual beauty and movement. While I still like the MB&F LM1 the best, the LM101 offers an interesting and balanced, albeit asymmetrical dial design. It is worth noting that the frost dial is hand finished. While various techniques have been used in the past to attain a similar look (some of them quite toxic), the MB&F LM101 Frost dial is made using a metal brush tool which is used to carefully create the dial. The challenge in this hand-made approach is getting the entire dial to look even.
Unlike the larger 44mm-wide LM1 or LM2 watches, the MB&F LM101 has a smaller case size of 40mm wide – making it still the smallest MB&F timepiece available. With that said, it doesn’t wear too small because of the thickness of the case, which is 16mm, thanks to the impressively domed sapphire crystal over the dial. The elegant curves of the LM1 and LM2 case continue to look good when scaled down to this smaller size.
It took a while of looking at these watches, but I’ve come to really enjoy the MB&F LM101, especially because of the MB&F LM101 Frost models. At first, the LM101 was a bit too simple for me and I wasn’t a huge fan of the asymmetric dial, but when done properly as with these gold MB&F LM101 Frost models, I think it is a very engaging and attractive model for perhaps even formal attire – that isn’t something you can easily say about most MB&F watches.
Each of the MB&F LM101 Frost watches is attached to a dark or light brown alligator strap, depending on the gold color. As limited editions, MB&F will product 33 pieces of the MB&F LM101 Frost in 18k red gold and just 18 pieces in 18k yellow gold. Price for each is $64,000. mbandf.com