August 29, 2022
Many high horology pieces are first and foremost created to be showcases of their respective brand’s ingenuity and craftsmanship, rather than designed as watches that are actually intended to be worn daily and stand up to the rigors of everyday use. With that in mind, when MB&F first introduced its EVO case design with the launch of the LM Perpetual EVO back in 2020, it marked the arrival of a new breed of MB&F Legacy Machine watches that combined the brand’s avant-garde horology-driven designs with practical sports watch resilience. In the years since its introduction, the EVO case has appeared on a couple other MB&F models, including a 10-piece limited edition LM Split Escapement EVO that was quietly released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates, and which was only available from the brand’s M.A.D.Gallery in Dubai. However, MB&F has just unveiled two new Legacy Machine Split Escapement EVO watches in grade 5 titanium, with one version released as a standard-production model, and the other as a 25-piece “Beverly Hills” limited edition.
The MB&F LM Split Escapement EVO Beverly Hills Edition watch marks the first of a series of limited edition models that will be reserved exclusively for the MB&F LABs, which are a new retail format that expands upon the brand’s M.A.D.Galleries to bring MB&F’s pieces to smaller spaces that wouldn’t be conducive to hosting full-fledged galleries. This year, the brand plans to open MB&F LABs in Paris, Singapore, and Beverly Hills, with this new Split Escapement EVO Beverly Hills Edition being the very first limited watch from the series. Designed exclusively for the MB&F LAB located at Westime in Los Angeles on Rodeo Drive, the MB&F LM Split Escapement EVO Beverly Hills Edition features Westime’s company colors of blue and black, and it will be the only MB&F LAB edition watch released this year.
Although the colors and production numbers will be different between the two new MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement EVO watches, their overall technical specifications will be identical, and both models feature cases crafted from grade 5 titanium that measure 44mm in diameter by 17.5mm-thick (including the heavily domed sapphire crystals sitting above their architectural dials). The case itself follows a bezel-free design and features a screw-down winding crown located at the 4:30 position, which helps provide the LM Split Escapement EVO with 80 meters (270 feet) of water resistance. Protecting the movement from shocks and impacts is MB&F’s FlexRing system, which is a monobloc shock-absorbing dampener that suspends the movement within the case and provides protection along both the vertical and lateral axes. The caseback of the LM Split Escapement EVO is fitted with a secondary sapphire crystal that features anti-reflective treatment to offer an unobstructed view of the movement within, Meanwhile, the watch itself is completed by an integrated rubber strap that has a matching titanium folding clasp. Although MB&F’s EVO case undeniably offers a number of sports watch features, it isn’t overtly sporty in its overall design, meaning that it can easily exist within more refined and formal settings, despite having more than enough water resistance to accompany you to the beach.
The dial of the MB&F LM Split Escapement EVO follows an overall design similar to the original Legacy Machine Split Escapement model with a trio of elevated sub-dials that display the hours and minutes, along with the date and power-reserve indicator each appearing on their own separate register. Sitting center stage in the middle of the dial is the watch’s signature flying balance wheel that is attached by a large V-shaped bridge. However, unlike the original LM Split Escapement model, the EVO edition features all of its internals rotated clockwise by 30 degrees to create a noticeably different overall aesthetic. The standard-production version of the MB&F LM Split Escapement EVO features an ice blue main dial plate with raised registers in gray, while the Beverly Hills limited edition is fitted with a black main dial paired with metallic blue registers. Additionally, since the EVO edition models are intended to be more sports-oriented versions of their original Legacy Machine counterparts, both versions of the new MB&F LM Split Escapement EVO feature Super-LumiNova on their numerals and hands for improved low-light legibility.
Powering the MB&F LM Split Escapement EVO is a proprietary 298-component movement that was developed for MB&F by Northern Irish master watchmaker Stephen McDonnell. Manual winding with double mainspring barrels, the split escapement movement features its balance wheel suspended above the dial’s surface, while the rest of the escapement including the anchor and escape wheel are located on the underside of the movement nearly a full 12mm below it. The 35-jewel caliber runs at a frequency of 18,000vph (2.5Hz) and it offers users a 72-hour power reserve, along with featuring a small push-button located on the side of the case near the sub-dial for the date. This button allows for rapid adjustment of the date display along with a foolproof design that prevents the user from inadvertently damaging the movement while adjusting the calendar complication. Additionally, the components of the movement itself are hand-finished in a manner that pays tribute to 19th-century watchmaking with polished bevels, Geneva stripes, and various other engravings that are performed by hand, along with a darkened treatment on the bridges to create a striking contrast between the golden color of the gears and the rhodium-plated barrels.
MB&F describes its Legacy Machines collection as timepieces that the brand would have created 100 years ago, and although the models from the range are still highly technical and unconventional in their overall designs, they are significantly more paired back and better suited for everyday wear compared to the ultra-fanciful Horological Machines that also resided within the brand’s catalog. That said, the MB&F models with EVO cases represent some of the absolute most practical and wearable timepieces that the brand has ever put forward, with enough water resistance to survive a day at the beach and added impact protection to keep the advanced split escapement movement safe during all of life’s adventures. Both new versions of the MB&F LM Split Escapement EVO are accompanied by an official retail price of $80,000 USD, and while the standard model will be produced as an unlimited edition and available through all of MB&F’s official retail partners, the Beverly Hills Edition will be limited to just 25 pieces worldwide, and the model will exclusively be sold at the MB&F LAB located in Los Angeles on Rodeo Drive. For more information, please visit the manufacturer’s website.