After working for nearly 45 hours without a break – all at peak performance – it’s been a long tiring day and energy levels are low. While it was relatively easy to sit up straight at the start of the day, fatigue has now set in, back languidly bends, head hits lap. ‘Mr. Up’ has become ‘Mr. Down’. But before Mr. Down shuts off completely, an invigorating influx of energy lifts his head, straightens his back and brightens his spirits. Mr. Up has been brought back to life!
Welcome to the world of Legacy Machine N°1 Xia Hang. Welcome to the world of Mr. Up and Mr. Down, a collaboration between MB&F and Chinese artist Xia Hang.
Legacy Machine N°1 Xia Hang (LM1 Xia Hang) retains all of the 19th century pocket watch-inspired features of the original LM1, including the majestically suspended slowly oscillating balance wheel and dual time indications that can be set completely independently, but with a twist: the power reserve is indicated by a miniature, highly-polished aluminium man, designed by talented Chinese sculptor, Xia Hang. The man sits up straight when the movement is fully wound (Mr. Up) and gradually slumps over as the power diminishes (Mr. Down).
“I call these little men ‘comma men’, and their distinctive shape comes from a selection of art I created from 2005 to 2008. Commas do exist in Chinese writing and for me the ‘comma man’ represents a chubby boy.” Xia Hang
Xia Hang and MB&F share much in common. While MB&F create serious works of time-telling kinetic art, they don’t take themselves too seriously. Similarly, Xia Hang believes the world of art is often too serious; he likes it to be playful, and wants his sculptures to entertain and make people smile. And just like MB&F, Hang calls his kinetic sculptures ‘machines’.
“I was first introduced to Xia Hang a few years ago by a Chinese art collector friend, and visited him on the outskirts of Beijing in his workshop. I was like a child in a toy factory!”
The in-house movement powering LM1 Xia Hang bears testimony to the enormous talent of its creators. Jean-François Mojon and his team at Chronode developed the LM1 calibre, which features the world’s first vertical power reserve and allows completely independent setting – including minutes – of both time displays. Acclaimed independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen was responsible for the aesthetic design and for strictly ensuring the utmost respect for tradition and Legacy Machine N°1 was conceived when Maximilian Büsser started fantasising: “What would have happened if I had been born in 1867 instead of 1967? In the early 1900s the first wristwatches appear and I would want to create three-dimensional machines for the wrist, but there would have been no Grendizers, Star Wars or fighter jets for my inspiration. But I would have had pocket watches, the Eiffel Tower and Jules Verne, so what might my 1911 machine look like? It has to be round and it has to be three-dimensional: Legacy Machine N°1 was my answer.”
The aspirations of BMW Motorrad with regard to future generations of boxer-powered roadsters take concrete, emotionally charged shape at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2014 in the form of the BMW Concept Roadster. Last year BMW Motorrad presented the BMW Concept Ninety here - a modern interpretation of a classic BMW motorcycle with boxer engine that demonstrated just how emotional a retrospective on 90 years of BMW Motorrad can be. "By contrast, the contemporary emotional appeal of the BMW Concept Roadster shows that, as far as BMW is concerned, motorcycling is much more than just perfect function," explains Edgar Heinrich, Head of BMW Motorrad Design.
Classic values interpreted in modern style.
The BMW Concept Roadster is a typical BMW roadster with a powerful 2-cylinder boxer engine, single-sided swing arm with cardan drive and a light tubular space frame. It interprets these classic elements in the most state-of-the-art, dynamic form. "The BMW Concept Roadster is exciting to look and at least as exciting to ride," says Ola Stenegard, Head of Vehicle Design BMW Motorrad, of the BMW Concept Roadster.
The BMW boxer engine has always promised impressive performance and supreme power delivery across the entire engine speed range. In its latest generation it generates 92 kW (125 bhp) at 7,750 rpm from 1,170 cc with a maximum torque of 125 Nm at 6,500 rpm. The engine is also visually mid-point of the BMW Concept Roadster. The compact proportions with low front and high rear form a wedge-shaped silhouette around it which accelerates the bike even when stationary. The crouching posture with a powerful focus on the front wheel and the very short rear promise agile, light-footed handling. Split colouring makes for a visual separation of the dark engine area below and the light seating area above with the fuel tank and rear section. The dark bottom section moves the BMW Concept Roadster visually closer to the road surface, thereby emphasising a road-oriented riding experience. Meanwhile the lighter coloured upper section conveys lightness and a low visual centre of gravity.
The headlamp presents a modern, dynamic interpretation of the classic circular headlamp. Matted LED light banks in full LED technology shape the distinctive "face" of the BMW Concept Roadster, giving it an extremely technical look. What is more, the LED technology makes the headlamp mask flat and very light-looking from the side perspective. Behind it, a reduced instrument panel provides all the relevant information in exclusive, high-end style.
Emotional surface configuration.
The interplay between the fuel tank, seat and radiator is modelled to perfection in flowing style. The experienced hands of the BMW modellers have given the surfaces an emotional quality that no computer would be capable of recreating. The surfaces provide a detailed reflection of the characteristics of the BMW Concept Roadster: the sculpturally designed fuel tank in Sparkling Light White expresses the forward-looking orientation and dynamic performance of the BMW Concept Roadster with its precise modelling. Its shape also provides an ergonomically perfect knee grip for optimum handling. A cover made of matted stainless steel adds a high-end yet robust accentuation at the centre of the fuel tank.
Light and finely wrought - the aluminium rear.
A striking highlight develops out of the fuel tank: the steep rear section made of gloss milled aluminium. The self-supporting rear structure is fashioned from a single piece, thereby enabling a very reduced and finely wrought rear element. The deliberately visible milling marks create a rough, almost industrial look which contrasts with the painted and anodised surfaces. The expressively modelled surfacing on the top and bottom of the rear element finely translates the emotional aspirations of the BMW Concept Roadster. The integrated single seat is borrowed visually from motor racing - a stylish interpretation of the bike's dynamic ambitions. Meanwhile a Neon Yellow accent in the lower area of the seat cushion adds a bold dash of colour contrast underneath the perforated Alcantara leather. Additional colour accents in Neon Yellow are to be found on the valve covers and on the cooling ribs inside the air inlets of the side trim, further breaking up the overall view from the side. The tubular space frame provides a visual highlight as a load-bearing element in Sparkling Racing Blue, a highly expressive finish that lends a touch of modern sporty style to a traditional element of a boxer-powered BMW roadster. With the interplay of the typical BMW Motorrad white on the fuel tank along with the radiant blue, the tank and frame present a characteristic yet also contemporary interpretation of the traditional BMW Motorrad colours.
Premium-quality milled aluminium parts.
In addition to the rear structure, there are other milled aluminium parts which underscore the technically sculptured look from the side perspective. The most prominent features here are the lateral air intakes. They are also made of gloss aluminium with milling marks and are shown to excellent effect against the black surfaces of the radiator. They trace a triangle open to the front which is formally based on the "gill" elements of the BMW supersports motorcycles. Performing the function of channelling air to the radiator, they also emphasise the dynamic gesture of the side. The cooling ribs in Neon Yellow inside them are only seen on closer inspection.
One particular detail is the valve covers made of milled aluminium: their three-dimensional shaping lends a forward orientation to the fuel tank surfaces, giving the BMW boxer engine a highly athletic look. In addition, a protection pad on the valve covers indicates that the BMW Concept Roadster can and should be taken round bends at an extreme banking angle. Inspired by the knee pads of a racing suit, it gives the BMW Concept Roadster a touch of motor racing flair. An accent in Neon Yellow further underscores this radical element.
Innovation in form and function - the engine spoiler.
Form and function are innovatively combined in the future-oriented engine spoiler. In the BMW Concept Roadster, it not only performs an aerodynamic function but also incorporates the entire front silencer. Along with the short, steep tailpipe of the exhaust system, the engine spoiler concentrates form and function around the engine. In doing so it emphasises the compact, dynamic statement of the side as well as the short rear. Over and above the high-end milled parts, the BMW Concept Roadster comprises nothing but the very best quality high-performance components. The fork tubes, rear shock absorber and brakes are elegantly set apart by their anodized colouring, giving the BMW Concept Roadster an exclusive touch of sporty flair.