Today, MB&F unveiled the newest Legacy Machine, the Split Escapement (LM SE) watch. We will be taking a much closer look at this watch this weekend, when we will have it on our wrists and we will bring you a video about it at that point in time. For now, we bring you a first look at the newest MB&F LM SE.
As with all of the MB&F Legacy Machine watches, the key technical element is the suspended balance wheel that sits beneath the high domed sapphire crystal — visible above the dial. In the new LM SE, that balance wheel remains suspended just below the highest point of the domed crystal, but this balance has the appearance of oscillating on its own because MB&F has relocated the driving impulse, anchor and escape wheel to the opposite side of the movement, concealing it from view. With this reconfigured design, comes the name Split Escapement.
By transporting the impulse, anchor and escape wheel to the opposite side and hiding it from visibility, MB&F heightens the visual impact of the suspended balance,. The concept is derived from the Legacy Machine Perpetual, the first MB&F watch to use a split escapement. Now, the LM SE brings the full concept of that split of the balance and impulse, anchor and escapement, into focus.
Overcoming Challenges In the Making of the MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement
Of course there were a number of challenges inherent in this split of the escapement — including the concept of how to separate the components that allow the stored energy of the mainspring to deliver regular controlled impulses instead of totally unwinding at once. To move the impulse jewel, anchor and escape wheel so they are now visible via the case back, MB&F had to develop an unusually long balance arbor that runs through the center of the movement and projects through the dial to support the oscillator. This accomplishment is a feat of micro-mechanical mastery and technical prowess.
A longer balance arbor — in this case 11.78mm in length — naturally has a higher mass, which could impact the energy being transmitted to the oscillator. However, MB&F engineers found the perfect blend of rigidity and inertia to ensure chronometric integrity. They fitted both ends of the balance arbor with anti-shock jewel bearings, and separately fixed the bridge that holds the anchor and escape wheel, for fine adjustment. Finally, they equipped the LM SE engine with two barrels, enabling 72 hours of continuous power.
Aesthetic Details of the MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement
While the suspended balance of the Split Escapement draws the eye in, let’s not forget that the watch does have a function: indicating time. On this watch, time is indicated via three white sundials, one each at 12:00 (time), 8:00 (date), and 4:00 for power reserve indication.
Other design features inspired by previous Legacy Machines include the arched balance bridge found in the LM Perpetual, a highly distinctive micro-textured “frosted” finish that was first presented in the LM 101 ‘Frost’ editions. The frosted finish inspired by antique pocket watches is achieved by manually burnishing the metal surface with a wire brush section by section — a time consuming technique. The surfaces were then PVD treated in order to attain different hues.
Four editions in white gold — each built in a limited quantity of 18 pieces — will be built and each of those four editions will feature a different shade of frost and colored movement combination. The options include blue frost finish with rhodium-plated movement, Ruthenium frosting with darkened movement, red gold frosting and movement, yellow gold frosting and movement. Each Legacy Machine Split Escapement watch retails for $79,000.
Technical Specifications of the MB&F LM SE
4 white gold launch editions limited to 18 pieces each, with a frosted dial plate in blue, ruthenium, red gold or yellow gold.
Movement developed for MB&F by Stephen McDonnell.
Split escapement with the balance wheel suspended above the dial and the anchor under the movement.
Manual winding with double mainspring barrels.
Bespoke 14mm balance wheel with traditional regulating screws visible on top of the movement.
Superlative hand finishing throughout respecting 19th-century style; bevelled internal angles highlighting hand craft; polished bevels; Geneva waves; hand-made frost and engravings.
Power reserve: 72 hours
Balance frequency: 2.5Hz / 18,000bph
Number of components: 314
Number of jewels: 35
Functions & indications
Hours, minutes, date and power-reserve indicators.
Push-button next to the date dial for quick adjustment of the date.
Material: launch editions in 18K white gold
Dimensions: 44mm x 17.5mm
Number of components: 49
Water resistance: 30m / 90′ / 3ATM
Sapphire crystals on top and display back treated with anti-reflective coating on both faces.
Strap & buckle
Black or brown hand-stitched alligator strap with white-gold folding buckle.