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An Afternoon at the Palace (Baselworld 2016 continued...)

My horology beacon drew me over to the palace where complexity was at its finest and where some of the most impressive yet strangest compilation of watches and clocks were on display.

The amount of genius in that room could only have been topped if Da Vinci’s studio had been centre stage.

As with most who visited the palace, the first port of call was to MB&F where it is more machine than timepiece. Their pursuit of precision and the spectacular is virtually unmatchable, many have tried and come close but you really can’t get more MAD than an MB&F.


It is more than just the aesthetics with this Legacy Machine as it houses the first ever fully developed in-house movement from MB&F, a wonderful and fulfilling achievement for any watch maker. In an age where movement manufacture is becoming increasingly important, hats off for achieving where so many others have failed.
Having said that out of all the machines they had on show my favourite had to be the Legacy Machine 101. Beautifully crafted with the floating balance over a shimmering blue dial it really stood out to me as wearable Haute Horology. It has a very clear display considering half is covered by the balance, with the Hour and minute dial at two and the power reserve indicator at 6, both easily legible as they are brilliant white with Blued gold hands.

One of the most stand out pieces on display was from Ressence Type 3. From a distance this looks like a novelty digital watch. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Up close this is a wonderful example of innovative watchmaking and ultimate craftsmanship. With 6 independently rotating disks to make up the ever changing landscape of the dial, each flowing as smooth as the next due to the 35.7ml of oil flooded into the top half of the watch.

To display cleanly the following functions is hugely impressive; Time, Day Date, AM&PM indicator, Seconds and Temperature. The top half of the watch is completely sealed off from the movement and winding mechanism underneath.

The watch is wound using the sapphire crystal case-back this is also used to set the time and other components. When I say the two halves are completely sealed off, I mean completely. All the information for the hands etc. is transmitted between the two halves by a series of magnets either side of the grade 5 titanium plate separating them; these are not even 1mm across. The magnets cause no problem for the automatic calibre housed underneath making this a true feat of Horology.

To say that this watch could change the face of watchmaking could be taking this too far, although if this style of movement and display catches on we could see some other major players in the industry trying to emulate such innovative thinking in the future.

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