MB&F lands the Legacy Machine Perpetual, its most complicated watch to date, in a new habitat: everyday life on Earth. Renowned for its fleet of machines that seem to have flown in from outer space, the more classic Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO consolidates itself as a watch for earthlings to enjoy day in, day out. With a redesigned case made from zirconium, shock absorbers to protect the perpetual calendar movement, an integrated rubber strap and 80m water-resistance, the EVO is robust and ready for action on our Blue Planet. So let’s discover it live, including our video review above!
Let’s be honest. Very few of us would ride a bike in the countryside or go for a run in the summer heat wearing a precious Legacy Machine Perpetual model. Most of the time, these complex horological beauties are stored in safes inside winding boxes and retrieved on special occasions. Well, things have changed and MB&F has decided that its Legacy Machine QP, one of the most innovative and sophisticated perpetual calendar systems to exist in modern watchmaking, has life beyond the safe. By implementing a series of structural changes, the LM Perpetual EVO has been beefed up and is ready for action in real-life situations. OK, we’re not talking saturation diving or volcano boarding, but situations that most rational humans might encounter in their everyday lives.
Legacy Machine Background
The first Legacy Machine appeared in 2011, a radical departure from the more standard SciFi-inspired cases offered by the brand. Here was the brand’s first watch in a round case with a more traditional personality, designed as a tribute to some of the great horological innovations and master watchmakers of the 19th century, with a twist. Founder Max Büsser was obsessed with an idea: “What would have happened,” he mused, “if I was born in 1867, one hundred years before my actual year of birth? What watch would I have conceived with the help of my friends?”
The answer materialised in the Legacy Machine 1, a watch that made history as the first piece to win two prizes in the same year at the 2012 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (Public Choice Prize and Best Men’s Watch). Over the years, we’ve seen the Legacy Machine Split Escapement, a stunning LM Flying Tourbillon designed for women, an LM101 with a Moser fumé dial and the latest LM Eddy Jaquet models with hand-engraved dials inspired by scenes from the novels of Jules Verne.
However, the most complex watch in MB&F’s entire collection is the Legacy Machine Perpetual, a model developed with Northern Irish watchmaking genius Stephen McDonnell in 2015. When McDonnell set out to redesign the perpetual calendar for MB&F, he proposed a system that rethought the entire mechanical basis of the complication. The LM Perpetual uses a “mechanical processor” consisting of a series of superimposed discs. This revolutionary processor takes the default number of days in the month at 28 — because, logically, all months have at least 28 days — and then adds the extra days as required by each individual month. This ensures that each month has exactly the right number of days, and removes the possibility of the date jumping incorrectly. An inbuilt safety feature disconnects the quickset pushers during the date changeover so that even if the pushers are accidentally actuated whilst the date is changing, there is no risk of damage to the movement.
The EVO has Landed
The first obvious change is the material used for the case. Unlike other Legacy Machines, housed in gold, platinum and titanium cases, the case of the new LM Perpetual EVO is crafted from zirconium, a lustrous silver-grey metal with properties surpassing steel and titanium. Lighter than steel and more durable than titanium, zirconium is volatile in powder form and can ignite making it dangerous to machine. Not often used in watchmaking, the hypoallergenic and anti-microbial benefits of zirconium outweigh the risks though, making it an ideal lightweight companion for an active lifestyle.
Although the case dimensions have not altered – 44mm x 17.5mm – several features of the case architecture have. The new EVO case design dispenses with the bezel and fuses the domed sapphire crystal directly to the case. Increasing the aperture on the dial offers an even more engaging view of the engine components and the hovering balance wheel, but it also meant that the sapphire crystal had to be reconfigured and then thermally bonded to the zirconium case.
Another change is the substitution of the circular pushers for larger double-sprung oblong actuators. In addition to facilitating adjustments, the pushers do not protrude so much from the case and are less likely to be activated by accident. But perhaps the biggest step in EVO’s robust new design is the incorporation of a screw-down crown – a first for MB&F – safeguarding the new 80m water-resistance of the case. To eliminate the risk of over-winding the mainspring barrel, the débrayage of the winding stem disengages the crown from the winding mechanism when it is pushed in and tightened. The lugs, which have been slightly hollowed out, underscore the sportier architecture of the case.
born to be worn
McDonnell’s perpetual calendar movement is as spectacular as it is complex. Thanks to McDonell’s mechanical processor and the openworked sub-dials for the calendar functions, practically the entire QP movement is on display, crowned by the spectacle of the flying balance wheel.
To protect the engine from life’s daily knocks and blows, MB&F has incorporated an annular steel dampener between the case and movement, a shock-absorbing device that imparts exceptional robustness to the 581 parts of the perpetual calendar. In fact, the FlexRing dampener, which is machined from a single block of stainless steel, makes this the most robust machine in MB&F’s line-up.
The reverse side of the case reveals other parts of McDonnell’s fully integrated, manual-winding perpetual calendar movement with its mechanical processor and inbuilt safety mechanism. The escapement is clearly visible as are the double barrels providing the movement with 72 hours of autonomy. In keeping with its 19th-century spirit, the hand-finishes are superlative with internal bevelled and polished angles, large gold chatons, Geneva waves on the bridges and hand-engraved surfaces.
Colour in your life
The Legacy Machine Perpetual Evo is available in three different dial-plate colours: atomic orange, blue and black. Atomic orange is a brand new colour for MB&F and, like the blue and black dial/plates, is obtained using a PVD (physical vapour deposition) treatment. PVD or CVD (chemical vapour deposition) treatments were originally used as protective layers to extend the longevity of mechanical parts. Using these processes for decorative purposes came later, and dark PVD coatings are now used extensively in watchmaking. However, to obtain a PVD coating in yellow, orange or red is devilishly difficult, which makes this atomic orange shade something of a novelty in PVD/CVD coatings and in the realm of watchmaking.
The final touch is the application of luminescent material on all the hands and on the hours and minutes sub-dial at 12, the day of the week sub-dial at 3, the months at 6, and the date at 9 o’clock. All three models are presented on integrated rubber straps with a titanium folding buckle.
Availability and Price
The Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO comes in three dial-plate colours, each limited to 15 pieces and available as of now at retailers. The price will be CHF 152,000 (excl.tax), USD 167,000 (excl. tax) or EUR 142,000 (excl. tax).
More information at mbandf.com.