The MB&F’s rEVOlution of sports watches started in 2020 with the launch of the Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO. Using an ingenious shock absorbent element and a redesigned inner case, the independent was able to bring its super QP as a “sports” watch. This year’s edition of Geneva Watch Days witnessed the third and latest model of EVO in the shape and form of the MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement EVO.
MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement EVO
The latest watch from MB&F continues the sportier line EVO started with the LM Perpetual EVO (Zirconium and Titanium), which continued with the crazy chronograph Legacy Machine Sequential Evo only to bring this autumn the unexpected Split Escapement EVO. Why unexpected? Since a/the Split Escapament, especially as interpreted by Max Büsser and Friends does not strike as a sporty watch complication, but instead, as a not restrained elegant watch. One can see himself wearing it while driving a Rolls or smoking a cigar…
And since we talk about Max here and we all know the story behind EVO, the real question raised is why not wear the MB&F LM Split Escapement and drive a supercar on the way to the pool to enjoy a cigar with the friends, in the pool? And since we are all firing our spirit of adventure, why not go biking, hiking or whatever without leaving the precious behind? That is why EVO was born, to offer the freedom of enjoying your fabulous MB&F wristwatch almost everywhere.
Why almost? There are good reasons for it… First, it is a mechanical watch and leaving the tool watches aside (moon watches, dive watches, pilot watches and other high-performance tool machines), the “normal” wristwatches are limited in the beating that they can handle. Second, the outer construction includes a kind of huge crystal dome that one should not wish to hit the rocks with it by climbing. And so on… Take the EVO with a grain of responsibility.
The LM Split Escapement EVO
The MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement EVO was launched five years ago, in 2017. But the first Split Escapement suspended design comes from the outstanding horological mind of Stephen McDonnell, that used it in the 2015’s launched Perpetual Calendar. The LM Perpetual EVO was launched two years ago… Hmmm do we recognise a time pattern here?!? Regardless, the genius of McDonnell was again well put to use.
The exterior was kept in the same 44 mm diameter and 17.5mm thickness, so does not reveal in a visible way the potential, the new “powers”. The difference from the original is how the crown and push button are positioned. The entire movement was translated clockwise. Although the time sub-dial is not placed in the top 12 o’clock position, the actual layout with the power reserve in the 6 o’clock position seems more natural to me (especially with the new crown position). It also made me wonder if the new position of the bridges brings something in the way the watch can take the “hits” in a normal wear.
That mesmerising dial
The LM Split Escapement Evo comes with a beautifully rounded sun-rays brushed baseplate dial with an open sky, pastel blue shade. This technique is seen in many dials of MB&F and permits mesmerising results with shades depending on the surrounding world, almost in a chameleonic way. Even in my pictures can be seen two distinct shades: the darker blue obtained with the 5600K flashes inside the photo tent and the lighter shade on the video and wrist shots in the daylight’s shadow. Following social media with live pictures of the watches with this dial type, one can be amazed by the various shades encountered.
The star of the show is hanging by the longest balance stuff in the world (17.8 mm) – the 14mm flying balance wheel: four double arms with weighting/timing screws fixed with a classic stem antishock system and overcoil hairspring. But where is the escapement? – one might ask… That is the idea behind the “split escapement”: the escape well and its anchor are not hidden behind the dial but well visible on the back of the movement (visually separated). So basically, the escapement has the entire movement and dial in between its main components.
Due to the clockwise translation, the time is displayed in the approx. 1:30 o’clock position. The date ring dial is now placed at 10 o’clock while the 72 hours power reserve is at the bottom of the dial. The indications are pointed by arrow hands with a SuperLuminova treatment on the arrow’s tip.
Traditional watchmaking finishes
MB&F is always bragging about the 19th-century style adorning style used for their movements. And they are well entitled to do so… Exceptional finishes everywhere with a touch of modernity added by the materials and colours obtained with high-tech processes.
The first detail we notice is the dark appearance of the movement, a usual view for the independent. Two large barrels tend to take most of the space inside the split escapement movement. The traditional escapement can be finally studied.
But besides the bevelled internal angles highlighting handcraft, the polished bevels on the bridges, gears and screws, the wide Côtes de Genêve and the hand-made engravings, there are still some very powerful details: the highly polished sinks and most important, the deep and polished sinks of the gold chatons.
The importance of EVO
MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement EVO is a watch that reveals the adventurous side of the gentlemen. Sporting only date and réserve de marche as complications, the watch face is very balanced and leaves enough estate to enjoy the huge balance wheel dancing above everything else.
But let’s say you want to rest your adventurous side at home and just enjoy a day without worries. You can still do your office work, relax afterwards at the pool or enjoy a bike ride without the fear of ruining your precious watch. The flex ring opens new dimensions in the world of MB&F, ideas and opportunities that could not be followed, now are realities. So I would humbly say that the EVO flex ring is one of the most important additions to the MB&F universe.
MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Evo Technical Specifications
Legacy Machine Split Escapement EVO is available in two versions:
– Ti version: grade 5 titanium case with pastel blue baseplate and dark grey dials.
– Beverly Hills edition: limited edition of 25 pieces in grade 5 titanium case with black baseplate and blue dials.
- Movement developed for MB&F by Stephen McDonnell.
- Split escapement with the balance wheel suspended above the dial and the anchor under the movement.
- Manual winding with double mainspring barrels.
- Bespoke 14mm balance wheel with traditional regulating screws visible on top of the movement.
- Superlative hand finishing throughout respecting 19th-century style; bevelled internal angles highlighting hand craft; polished bevels; Geneva waves; hand-made engravings.
- FlexRing: an annular dampener fitted between case and movement, providing shock protection along the vertical and lateral axes.
- Super-LumiNova on numerals and hands.
- Screw down crown.
- Power reserve: 72 hours
- Balance frequency: 2.5Hz / 18,000bph
- Number of components: 298
- Number of jewels: 35
Functions & indications
- Hours, minutes, date and power-reserve indicators.
- Push-button next to the date dial for quick adjustment of the date.
- Material: grade 5 titanium
- Dimensions: 44 x 17.5mm
- Number of components: 52
- Water resistance: 80m / 8ATM / 270 feet
- Sapphire crystals on top and display back treated with anti-reflective coating on both faces.
Strap & buckle
- Integrated rubber strap with titanium folding buckle.