Kermit the frog once said, “It ain’t easy being green.” As much as I feel for Miss Piggy’s beleaguered lover, I fear he was bereft of good counsel. Perhaps he should have asked the MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Titanium Green how it makes wearing a verdant hue look so incredibly effortless.
But let’s face it. The MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement is a watch well-accustomed to dressing up in different shades, so it’s not surprising it was able to make the industry’s most up-and-coming color sing on a dial that is as interesting as it is beautiful. The experience that led to the confident execution of a CVD-coated green dial was earned back in 2017, with the release of four frosted dials in a variety of colors. There was a serene blue, a moody ruthenium, a trendy rose gold, and a classic yellow gold to choose from. And now we have this awesome shade of emerald green, colorizing a sun-ray dial.
The immediate focal point of this watch is the massive flying balance wheel, which sits on an incredibly long balance staff, giving it the appearance of being separate from the mechanism visible through the sapphire case back. This movement was designed by Northern Ireland’s Stephen McDonnell, who is perhaps best known for the creation of the MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual Titanium. As well as being one of watchmaking’s most inventive minds, McDonnell is also a standup bloke, whose humble amiability is refreshing in an industry often suffocated by egos.
What McDonnell enjoys is solving a complicated problem in a straightforward way. And despite his obvious passion for the technical aspects of movement design, there is clearly an artistic streak that runs through everything he does.
On the other side of the dial, attached to the arbor of the balance staff as you would expect, a rotor table and impulse jewel engage with the pallet fork of the escapement and perform their regular duties without any fuss whatsoever. The beauty of the MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Titanium Green Watch lies in this optical trickery and its triumph in the resulting simplicity.
With a languid operating speed of 18,000vph, this is a connoisseur’s watch made to be appreciated (not dragged through the rigmarole of daily wear). Of course, the price ($68,000 + VAT) totally reflects that, but unlike many five-figure watches, this one is exceptionally comfortable in its own (green) skin. It is a simple watch in terms of functionality, with just the time (on the sub-dial at 12 o’clock), the date (on the sub-dial at eight o’clock), and the power-reserve indicator (on the sub-dial at four o’clock, indicated by way of a hand). The only interruptions to an otherwise neutral case silhouette are the crown at 2 o’clock (likely relocated to make wearing the undeniably hefty 44mm by 17.5mm case a little more comfortable) and the quick-change date slider at 8 o’clock. It is elegant and academic, and, in my opinion, exactly the kind of piece for which MB&F should be most revered. Learn more at mbandf.com.