Round cases, white lacquer dials, movements classically finished with Geneva stripes and polished chamfers, and - above all - an eye-catching suspended balance, characterized MB&F’s Legacy Machine collection since their debut in 2011.
The six years since the double time-display Legacy Machine N°1 was released have seen another four distinct series of Legacy Machine emerge, making five in total. The Legacy Machine N°2, with its two regulators, premiered in 2013. The Legacy Machine 101, featuring MB&F’s first in-house movement, came a year later while the high-complication Legacy Machine Perpetual arrived in 2015.
While remaining the technical constant that defines every single watch in the MB&F Legacy Machine collection, in the just presented Legacy Machine Split Escapement the suspended balance wheel is raised to a new level thanks to a different construction.
Just below the highest point of the domed dial crystal, the balance of the Legacy Machine Split Escapement (LM SE) still slowly beats at 2.5 Hz (18,000 vph) but, unlike most of the other suspended balances in the Legacy Machine collection, it seems to oscillate on its own, without any visible intake of energy.
The essential remaining parts of the escapement, which provide the driving impulse – anchor and escape wheel – are concealed on the opposite side of the movement, almost 12 mm below; hence the name ‘Split Escapement’.
This solution requires an unusually long balance arbour, which runs through the centre of the movement. A longer arbour increases the likelihood of disrupting influences on the oscillator, as well as the potential distorting effects of a long axle under continuous torsion.
To increase stability, the balance arbour of the Split Escapement is fitted at both ends with anti-shock jewel bearings, and the bridge that holds the anchor and escape wheel is separately fixed for optimal fine adjustment.
Because a longer balance arbour has a higher mass, which potentially detracts from the amount of energy ultimately transmitted to the oscillator, the LM SE engine is driven by two barrels in parallel, which allows up to 72 hours of optimal timekeeping.
Under the balance and its arched bridge, the triple-dial design of LM SE gives the time at 12 o’clock, the power reserve indication at 4 o’clock and the date at 8 o’clock. The date can be quickly and easily adjusted thanks to a push-button on the side of the case, next to the date dial.
In terms of finishing, the LM SE features the micro-textured “frosted” finish that is so closely associated with antique pocket watches of the 18th and 19th century; this traditional technique was presented by MB&F for the first time in the LM 101 ‘Frost’ editions.
The full beauty of frosting - here obtained by manually burnishing a metal surface with a wire brush - is brought out in Legacy Machine Split Escapement, with four launch editions housed in 44 mm × 17.5 mm white gold cases.
Each edition, limited to 18 pieces, is distinguished by frosting of a different shade obtained through PVD treatment:
- Blue frosted finish paired with rhodium-plated movement for the most classically elegant version;
- Ruthenium frosting with similarly darkened movement to put the focus on the white lacquer dials;
- Red gold frosting and movement finish to emphasise the intense hue of the blued hands;
- Yellow-gold frosting and movement finish to remark the link to the era which inspired the Legacy Machine collection.
The price of the MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement is Swiss Francs 79,000 plus local taxes. mbandf.com