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The world’s fastest triple-axis regulating mechanism ...

The MB&F Legacy Machine Thunderdome is the culmination of four years of development, an unprecedented collaboration between two of the most admired horological minds today, Eric Coudray and Kari Voutilainen. While the technical construction originated with Coudray, it was Voutilainen who translated the mechanism into the aesthetically refined movement that inhabits LM Thunderdome.

Though the latter task may seem straightforward compared to technical development, it actually entails a far greater level of difficulty than is implied. The complex and delicate relationship between the 413 components of the LM Thunderdome engine makes every micro-adjustment an extended exercise in mechanical reconfiguration. With a movement diameter of only 35mm, proportionate design is exponentially emphasised and there is far less margin for error. A bridge that is even one single millimetre too wide, or a pinion moved just a few micrometres to either side, would immediately stand out, glaringly out of place.

Appearing to hover above the dial plate of Legacy Machine Thunderdome is the ‘TriAx’, a highly sophisticated multi-axis rotating escapement that is completely novel even in Eric Coudray’s unmatched oeuvre of similar mechanisms.

There are three axes rotating at different speeds and on different planes, starting with the innermost axis that makes one complete turn in 8 seconds. The next axis of rotation is canted at right angles to the first, and makes one complete turn in 12 seconds. The outermost axis of rotation is canted at right angles to the second, and makes one complete turn in 20 seconds. This gives LM Thunderdome the distinction of possessing the fastest combined rotation in the category of multi-axis regulating mechanisms.

Additionally, the last axis of rotation is excentric relative to the other two, such that the final motion of the balance wheel, when viewed in isolation, is most precisely described as an orbital tri-axial rotation.

In chronometric context, this means the LM Thunderdome engine has the largest range and fastest rate of balance positional displacement known throughout the history of watchmaking. In a rather more accessible context, this means that LM Thunderdome offers a visual spectacle that the horological world has never seen before.

Existing terminology does not adequately cover the rotating mechanism of LM Thunderdome. The current separation of rotating escapements into tourbillon or karrusel categories does not work here, as Coudray’s creation incorporates key elements of both, such as the split-train energy transmission of the karrusel, and the fixed wheel of the tourbillon. Even so, these elements are configured in ways that are unfamiliar to our conventional definitions of tourbillon and karrusel. Mechanically speaking, Thunderdome stands alone.

The LM Thunderdome is launched in two limited editions:

- 33 pieces in platinum 950, with a light-blue guilloché dial plate;

- 10 pieces in tantalum commemorating the 40th anniversary of Asia-Pacific retail group The Hour Glass, with five pieces bearing a dark-blue guilloché dial and five pieces with an inlaid aventurine dial.


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