The Delicate Sound of Thunder – MB&F World’s Fastest Triple-Axis Escapement


MB&F`s new Legacy Machine Thunderdome features a world-first, proprietary tourbillon device and also marks the first collaboration between watchmakers Eric Coudray and Kari Voutilainen.

The heart of the latest piece in Bussser`s popular Legacy Machine series is the so-called TriAx tour-billon mechanism designed by Coudray, developer of, among other standout high complications, Jeager-LeCoultre`s Gyro-tourbillon. It replaces the traditional but more cumbersome system, which links one tourbillon cage with each rotating axis, with a three-axis, two-cage configuration that allows for maximum visibility of the tourbillon escapement`s beating heart – all under a large domed sapphire crystal that gives the model its cinematic, sci-fi nickname. Off-center at 6 o`clock is an analog subdial with Roman numerals on which the watch tells the time with two blued hands.

To control the rate of energy escaping from the movement`s barrel, MB&F and Coudray opted for a so-called Potter escapement, named after 19th century watch-maker Albert H. Potter, which is notable for its use of a fixed escape wheel rather than the more common, mobile wheel.

This combination of a fixed wheel within a tri-axial mechanism, has never been used in watchmaking before. It allows for higher rotational speeds for the cages – the innermost completing a turn every 8 seconds, the intermediate one every 12 seconds, and the outermost cage making its full orbit every 20 seconds. Despite the dizzying, hypnotic effect that the front of the watch offers, the rear side of the movement, visible throught the clear caseback, is where you`ll find the signature finishing style of  Voutilainen on proud display. (The delicately applied circular guilloche patern on the blued front dial is also Voutillianen.) The LM Thunderdome, with a 44-mm case and a blue hand-stitched alligator strap, is available in two limited editions: 33 pieces in platinum 950, with a light-blue guilloche dial plate and 10 pieces in tantalum, with five pieces bearing a dark-blue guilloche dial and five pieces with an inlaid aventurine dial. The retail price of the platinum edition is CHF 270.000 + VAT ($280 000+tax)

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