Last year MB&F released the LM Perpetual EVO, an all-terrain version of its sophisticated Legacy Machine Perpetual. Originally launched in 2015, the Legacy Machine Perpetual is fitted with a revolutionary QP movement developed with master watchmaker Stephen McDonnell. Although McDonnell’s movement was designed to eliminate the fragility and drawbacks of conventional perpetual calendars, I can’t imagine that many lucky owners of the watch contemplated taking it off-piste or even for a bike ride. By beefing it up to handle an active lifestyle, the LM Perpetual EVO was free to roam at large undeterred by terrestrial boundaries. Riding on the wave of last year’s successful LM Perpetual EVO edition in zirconium cases, MB&F presents a titanium version with a vibrant green dial.
Brief Background on the LM series
The maiden voyage of the Legacy Machine collection was in 2011. Marking a radical departure from the brand’s signature spaceships and out-of-this-world time vessels, the Legacy Machine came in a round case with classical features like Roman numerals and elegant lacquered sub-dials. 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?” Max Büsser’s tribute to some of the great horological inventions and Grand Master watchmakers of the 19th century, the Legacy Machine 1 bore a signature MB&F 3D twist with a spectacular flying balance wheel suspended mid-dial. Without reviewing all the incarnations of the Legacy Machine over the past ten years (see here for an in-depth review), the model that interests us today, the LM Perpetual, marked MB&F’s voyage into the upper strata of Haute Horlogerie.
Recently revisited in palladium, the LM Perpetual is MB&F’s most complex model in the Legacy Machine family with a fully integrated, revolutionary QP movement made by Northern Irish watchmaker Stephen McDonnell. Instead of the space-consuming grand levier architecture of traditional QPs, McDonnell equipped his movement with an innovative “mechanical processor”. Another feature of McDonnell’s movement was that unlike the default setting of the 31-day month of traditional QPs that delete superfluous dates for months with fewer days, McDonnell’s mechanical processor uses a default 28-day month, adding extra days as required with the aid of superimposed discs. There is no skipping over redundant days, resulting in a fool-proof system that protects itself from incorrect manipulation. Another advantage of McDonnell’s movement is that the leap year has a dedicated quickset pusher (using a planetary cam) instead of the scrolling system (up to 47 months) found on more traditional QPs. Furthermore, an in-built safety feature disconnects the quickset pushers during the date changeover so that even if the pushers are accidentally actuated while the date is changing, there is no risk of damage to the movement. What is also amazing is how McDonnell managed to place all 581 components of the movement in virtually the same-sized case as the LM1.
Naturally, the hallmark 14mm balance wheel of the Legacy Machine family had to play a starring role and was incorporated centre stage on the dial hovering on top of the impressive mechanics.
EVO STANDS FOR EVOLUTION
The first evolutionary change of the LM Perpetual Evo in 2020 was the choice of case material. Lighter than steel and more durable than titanium, zirconium was a resilient yet lightweight choice for the debut models of this sportier version of the QP. Today, the latest model, which shares the 44mm case diameter and 17.5mm thickness of the original 2015 Perpetual calendar, appears in a grade 5 titanium case, another exceptional lightweight yet resistant material with properties that surpass stainless steel. Like the earlier EVO editions, the lugs are slightly hollowed, giving the case a sportier profile, and the watch is fitted with a sleek black rubber strap that is closed with a titanium folding buckle.
The circular pushers used to adjust the perpetual calendar on the original LM Perpetual models were replaced with more ergonomic double-sprung oblong actuators. The fact that the pushers are larger and do not protrude from the case means that they are sportier looking, easier to activate and less likely to get knocked around accidentally.
However, the biggest evolution in the EVO’s robust design is the screw-down crown. Marking a first for MB&F, the screw-down crown ensures the 80m water-resistance of the case. To avoid overwinding the mainspring barrel, the winding stem (débrayage) disengages the crown from the winding mechanism when pushed in and tightened.
Shock absorbers in the form of a FlexRing – an annular dampener between the case and movement – protect the vertical and lateral axes from shocks. The dampener is machined from a block of stainless steel to impart additional robustness to the 581 parts of the perpetual calendar.
EMERALD GREEN DIAL
Another evolution is the no-bezel construction with the domed sapphire crystal fused directly to the case. By increasing the aperture on the dial, the view of the movement is even more engaging, but it did mean that the geometries of the sapphire crystal had to be reconfigured to achieve strength and decrease its height-to-diameter ratio. The sapphire crystal over the dial and on the caseback is treated with anti-reflective coating on both sides.
A lovely emerald-green dial plate provides a vivid background for the perpetual calendar functions, practically all the QP movement and the flying balance wheel with traditional regulating screws placed in the centre of the dial and held in place by the V-shaped bridge. The intense green colour is obtained using a chemical vapour deposition (CVD). Despite a large amount of information and mechanical activity on the dial, it remains surprisingly legible.
The hours and minutes are relayed in a black galvanic disc at noon with luminescent-tipped hands and numerals. The days of the week are at 3 o’clock on a black ring, the months are at 6 o’clock and the date at 9 o’clock, all with luminescent-tipped hands and markings – something you would not find on a classic LM Perpetual. At 5 and 7 o’clock there are two small, rounded tracks: the one on the left indicates the leap year, and the one on the right is the power reserve indicator.
While the dial offers a stunning view of Stephen McDonnell’s manual-winding perpetual calendar movement, the reverse side has its fair share of horological treats. The escapement and the double barrels providing the movement with 72 hours of autonomy are clearly visible. The finishings, done by hand, are impeccable and reflect the beautiful 19th-century decorative flourishes that MB&F wanted to incorporate on the movement: internal bevel angles and polished bevels, large gold chatons, Geneva waves on the darkened bridges and handmade inscriptions.
Availability & Price
The price of the MB&F LM Perpetual EVO titanium is CHF 152,000, USD 176,000 or EUR 142,000 (all excl. tax). The watch is available now from retailers worldwide, and some pieces will also be available from the brand’s online boutique here.
For more information, please visit MB&F’s website.