MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch Watch Releases

With the original Legacy Machine No. 1 watch discontinued (the LM1 Final Edition completed the series), Swiss MB&F now introduces the Legacy Machine Split Escapement, which debuts in four styles. Gone is the numerical naming convention, though the Legacy Machine Split Escapement would technically be the fifth in this sub-collection within the overall MB&F brand. This began with the Legacy Machine 1 (LM1), then the LM2, followed by the LM101, the Legacy Machine Perpetual Calendar, and now the MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement.

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch Watch Releases

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch Watch Releases

MB&F once again worked with the talented watch movement designer Stephen McDonnell for the Legacy Machine Split Escapement. His technical and aesthetic prowess was proven in the MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual Calendar (hands-on here), and the "Split Escapement" system was actually more or less developed in the movement McDonnell created for the Perpetual Calendar. For practical reasons, he needed to separate the balance wheel and hair spring from the anchor on a lot arbor. This has the practical effect of having the oscillating balance wheel on one side of the dial, and the anchor and escapement wheel on the other side.

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch Watch Releases

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch Watch Releases

For aesthetic reasons, this system is now being featured as the main attraction in the new Legacy Machine Split Escapement. In a sense, this watch is a re-imagination of the LM1. I actually don't see the Split Escapement as being an upgrade or a better watch, but rather a more or less lateral move from the LM1 to the Split Escapement. With the LM1 no longer being produced, and a healthy slew of higher-end Legacy Machine models such as the Perpetual Calendar, this strategic move by MB&F makes sense.

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch Watch Releases

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch Watch Releases

The Legacy Machine Split Escapement benefits from aesthetic upgrades to the Legacy Machine introduced only recently and late into the production run of the LM1. This includes things like a polished bezel as well as a rounded and polished design for the balance wheel bridge. MB&F further chose to use their fancy "frosted" dials for these debut Legacy Machine Split Escapement watches. It is a technique we've seen before such as in the LM101 Frost (hands-on here). The frosted faces are an attractive background for the three sub-dials on the the main dial, as well as the suspended 2.5Hz frequency balance wheel mechanism.

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch Watch Releases

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch Watch Releases

Like the Legacy Machine 1, the MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement comes in a 44mm-wide case, but is 17.5mm thick as opposed to the greater thickness of the original LM1. Case material options for the debut models are limited to 18k white gold. However, the frost dials come in four colors including yellow gold, red gold, blue, or ruthenium. It is a matter of taste when considering which Legacy Machine dial you like. I was a big fan of the two big "eyes" on the LM1, whereas the MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement has three opposed sub-dials with a relatively large volume of space in the middle. I've not worn these yet, but I'd be curious to see what the Legacy Machine Split Escapement would look like if the sub-dials were a bit larger and potentially all the same size. Nevertheless, this is once again an attractive and balanced dial on what is easily going to be considered another beautiful Legacy Machine luxury watch product.

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch Watch Releases

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch Watch Releases

The Stephen McDonnell manually wound movement is very nicely finished and, again, operates at 18,000bph with a power reserve of 72 hours. In addition to the large, suspended balance wheel (which is now cleaner-looking as a result of the anchor being on the other side of the watch), the face has a sub-dial for the time, the date, and a power reserve indicator. In a sense, the Legacy Machine Split Escapement feels like a grownup version of the Legacy Machine 101. I do appreciate the power reserve indicator, but of course it is easy to miss the fancy "3D" power reserve indicator of the LM1.

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch Watch Releases

MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement Watch Watch Releases

With the coming of the MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement, we see the Legacy Machine collection settling a bit into a groove as consumers have voiced their preference for a particular style they like. Whereas the Horological Machine collection from MB&F is more interested in sweeping new designs with each ensuing creation, the Legacy Machine collection is in a sense "anti-MB&F" for being more traditional not only in style, but also in its resistance to change. Undeniably, the Legacy Machine Split Escapement is an attractive and compelling product, but I hope it doesn't signal a more static design ethos when it comes to future Legacy Machine products. Price for each version of the MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement is $79,000 USD. mbandf.com

What do you think?
  • I love it! (15)
  • I want it! (6)
  • Thumbs up (4)
  • Classy (1)
  • Interesting (1)
  • Tim Archer

    It’s a stunner, especially in blue.

  • Yan Fin

    One of each color, please

    • Tea Hound

      Could I have the grey dial version?

  • SuperStrapper

    Thisbisbthe watch the LM1 always wanted to be. The dial side is nicer, and more cohesive (to my eye). I do miss the unique level style PR indicator, but it was a fair trade for how everything else turned out. The tidier escapement view and lackof dial text engravings are both big wins. I had an initial concern that the cleaning up of the dial may result in a less dramatic movement appearance but it is beautiful as well, set off in a great way being colour matched to the dial (shame this didn’t happen for the blue iteration).
    I’ll take mine in red gold.

    • Red gold – you? Or maybe that aversion is just for cases?

      • SuperStrapper

        Shhhhhh.

        But yes, that has a lot to do with it. In this setting is is a dial colour and taken differently. I actually also really like the yellow gold variant, and yellow gold might be my least favoured gold colour. Tie with the ruthenium.

        It obviously looks striking in metallic blue (hack that photo and show me the movement in blue!) But blue seems like the easy choice today. Would love to see it all in that colour changing look the dial of the LM2 Ti has, although I believe that is a coating and not a metal treatment.

        I have always wanted to see a desirable watch with case hardening as a decorative element.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/186e5f1ffada6ab5bab87a8474a77335e48bdd74530653e4159e7efa58025634.jpg

  • Tea Hound

    I would like to own at least one of these. Nothing more to say really.

  • IanE

    Wonderful watches, of course, though I am not fond of the rather coarse dial texture as seen in photos – real life (and correct scale) might change my mind! Just think, you could have ten of these in place of that dreadful Alain Prost RM atrocity!

  • Andre Braz

    Fantastic ! Incredible design !

  • Raymond Wilkie

    These are to die for. Incredible piece of machinery. I would love to see this alive and beating on my wrist. Blue for me please. Just fantastic. Everything is so beautifully proportioned, the movement is just…………….. ” Shut up Raymond ! “. ( That’s what i get when i go into watch mode with my friends )

    • Grey for me. Stunning!

    • Marco Sampuel

      It’s time to get new friends

  • MEddie90

    I love how the balance just hangs there and swings seemingly unaided, similar to a full plate pocketwatch. Beautiful execution and finish finished (though I think i’d prefer the frosted finish throughout the movement), plus It’s nice to see modern watchmakers pay such a clear homage to the archaic horology that paved the way to contemporary movement design.

    FP Journe also did something similar with his chronometer series where he put part of the gear train dial side so it appeared as if there was no mechanical link between the barrel and the escapement. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/daab6eee6aab1fcd735317e7a8e18da8af8fe6aac241177fab60c46b01ee3fe2.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5190447a174532be54477f230a6d1dfb02a4c555a0502ca5c4f5eacb242cfeb7.jpg

  • MEddie90

    I love how the balance just hangs there and swings seemingly unaided, similar to a full plate pocketwatch. Beautiful execution and finish finished (though I think i’d prefer the frosted finish throughout the movement), plus It’s nice to see modern watchmakers pay such a clear homage to the archaic horology that paved the way to contemporary movement design.

    FP Journe also did something similar with his chronometer series where he put part of the gear train dial side so it appeared as if there was no mechanical link between the barrel and the escapement. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8a98f9d6e075ca18c67ccd3a24ff745d703d8c01e65cba3d6becf4afd4362fe7.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5190447a174532be54477f230a6d1dfb02a4c555a0502ca5c4f5eacb242cfeb7.jpg

  • egznyc

    Now this is what one should get for this kind of coin. Something beautiful and yet altogether different – other than the beautiful movement finishing. So a great combination of new and old, in a happy marriage.

  • Pete Pete

    well the price seems somewhat reasonable when looking at the dial.
    but to be honest, the movement looks so boring – really underwhelming at this price point – I’d say give it a solid caseback. nothing to see here.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Dear Sir.
      Have you taken leave of your senses ?

      R

      • Pete Pete

        nope (I hope).

    • WINKS

      I see what you mean. You’re thinking Lange…

  • (wipes off a bit of drool from the corners of his mouth)

  • Pete L

    Beautiful work of art. Either the grey or blue would be lovely. How high end should be done imho.

  • IG

    I prefer smooth dials.

  • Love this. My only issue is the size. The LM101 is near perfect on the wrist but the other LMs are just too big for me. But DAMN this is haute sauce

  • Quite lovely (in all of the dial colors). Does occur to me that in order to adjust the balance wheel (screws), the entire movement has to be removed from the case (or the top crystal removed, which usually means again removing the movement).

  • BNABOD

    Damn

  • Ranchracer

    Bowing to the gods of watch goodness. Mr. McDonnell, along with the MB&F design team, are pure genius. Someday I would love to see one of these beauties in the flesh. Ariel, how ‘bout an MB&F watch giveaway? ?

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    A blue and a blue and a ruthenium please.

  • Shinytoys

    I’d like one of each please…

  • Richard Baptist

    I love these. As someone said one of each please. The only thing I worry about is the robustness of the split escapement. I know it’s not a tool watch but it seems you need to be careful wearing this watch. Great points in the article about where MB&F seem to be going.

  • Marius

    Amazing. Considering how much gaudy nonsense is on the market at this price point, it is almost a bargain.