Review: MB&F LM1 Silberstein Watch
When you think about a timepiece like the LM1 Silberstein, concerns about instant gratification are rendered meaningless. The appeal here is personal.
With Alain Silberstein, we are acutely aware that space-time is indeed three-dimensional so a collaboration with MB&F – masters of kinetic time sculptures – is unsurprising. Of all things though, the timepiece in question is an interpretation of the LM1 called the LM1 Silberstein. MB&F has two basic lines as far wristwatches go, the Horological Machines (designation HM) and the Legacy Machines (designation LM). Silberstein has already collaborated with MB&F with a HM so in a way, going with an LM for the new watch is maybe just the thing to do.
If you need to catch up here, take at the LM1 and the HM2.2 Black Box. The later was what MB&F calls Performance Art and is also where the LM1 Silberstein sits. Returning to space-time for a moment, Silberstein is famed for bringing playful geometric designs to watchmaking, including three-dimensional elements such as pushers and crowns in square, triangular and round shapes. These shapes confront watch lovers with the truth of space-time being far beyond the two dimensions of typical watch displays. Equally important was his use of color-blocking in his own line of Silberstein Creations watches (which sadly ceased operations in 2012), which brought a sense of play to time we enjoyed tremendously.
Performance Art and the LM1 Silberstein
At BaselWorld this year, we were shown the LM1 Silberstein but like everyone else, were given a strict embargo on talking about it publicly. Well, watchmaking is not quite at the see-now-buy-now paradigm that high-end fashion is exploring. When you think about a timepiece like the LM1 Silberstein, concerns about instant gratification are rendered meaningless. The appeal here is so personal – and it really does grow on you – that we can’t imagine conventional marketing methods working well. If you’ve even read this far into the article, you already understand this.
Ok, time for some quick basic facts then. If you took some time to look at the MB&F LM1 again you’ll have noticed that LM1 Silberstein has much the same functions and this is correct. Gold star for you! Basically, it is a dual timezone watch, with distinct displays for each one. The movement remains the Chronode-produced calibre realized by Jean-François Mojon and Kari Voutilainen. Now, try to spot the differences between this watch and the LM1. If you are anything like me then you will appreciate looking for all the changes yourself.
One key change that you can’t spot easily though is the concave curve of the two subdials. Silberstein wanted this to contrast with the convex curve of the sapphire crystal, which acts to shield the mechanical parts from the elements. The concave subdials are meant to be inviting, like the warm frosted finishing beneath. This of course means that the hands are concave too. The visual effect of this is something only the wearer will enjoy, like a secret pleasure if you will. Yes of course the sapphire bridge obviously calls attention to itself and even casual observers will notice it. Before we get to that, a few words from the press release from Silberstein himself.
“I resonated with LM1 because by highlighting the balance – the mechanism that splits time into miniscule increments – it highlights how man converts eternal time into something he can use.” Apparently Silberstein felt so strongly about the balance – the star attraction of the LM1 – that he convinced Max Busser that a sapphire crystal balance bridge would be a nice touch. Well, MB&F says it took two years to develop said bridge and that is a lot of effort, as the press release notes rather wryly, for a component that is meant to be invisible. Honestly, we can’t think of another example of a similar kind of balance bridge but we’ll find out and update the story accordingly.
On a final note, you will of course have noticed that case band has some words engraved on it. This is a paraphrased quote from Gustave Flaubert (he of Madame Bovary fame): “Le vrai bonheur est d’avoir sa passion pour métier”. This translates roughly as ‘Making a profession of your passion is true happiness.”
- Dimensions: 42.5mm (diameter) 17mm (height)
- Functions: Hours minutes, two completely independent time zones, vertical power reserve indicator
- Power Reserve: 45 hours
- Movement: Manual winding, single mainspring calibre developed for MB&F by Jean-François Mojon/ Chronode and Kari Voutilainen
- Material: 18k red gold, grade 5 titanium, PVD treated grade 5 titanium
- Water Resistance: 30 meters
- Strap: Calfskin
Limited edition of 3 x 12 pieces in each material listed above