MB&F in partnership with the genius Irish watchmaker Stephen McDonnell, has developed the Legacy Machine Perpetual. This is the brand’s very first Perpetual Calendar timepiece with a complete “in-house” 581-compenent movement. Looking drop dead gorgeous and eliminating the drawbacks of the conventional perpetual calendar movements, this watch might give sleepless nights to some top-tier Swiss houses. And why not? Set in the original Legacy Machine 1 case of 44mm, this is a non-base and non-modular movement. It is controlled by a mechanical processor which has a ground-breaking arrangement to calculate the number of days in each month. Further, after developing such a revolutionary movement, it is only justifiable to show the complication on a dial-less display, with the UFO-like balance wheel hovering over the centre and the sub-dials surrounding it.
The LM Perpetual movement, as mentioned above is like none other. A typical perpetual calendar movement is made up of a modular movement fitted on top of a base movement. The calendar coordination is performed by a big lever mechanism but this mechanism cannot support suspended sub-dials or balance wheel, as required by the LM Perpetual. Also, it assumes 31 days for every month and skips the dates, if the month is smaller than 31 days. But, the problems like jammed gears and movement getting damaged if adjusted during date change have always haunted these watches.
To get rid of all the problems in one go, the LM Perpetual has a system called “Mechanical Processor” made up of superimposed disks. Rather than 31 days, it assumes 28 days per month and adds extra days as required, which eliminates any skipping of days. Further, there is safety mechanism which activates during date changeover and disconnects the pushers.
However, when you see the face of the watch, you realize the enthusiasm and passion poured into not only making the movement practical but stunning, too. Upon closer look, one realizes that the flying balance wheel, the defining element of the collection, is strangely missing out on the escapement wheel. But wait, didn’t we see the escapement on the back of the movement? And that’s when you start appreciating the fact that the escapement on the back of the movement is connected to the balance wheel, by the longest escapement wheel pinion ever made. Additionally, the hand-finishing work on the bridges and plates looks top-notch, the off-centered dial looks sharp and easily readable and the skeletonised sub-dials give you the impression that they are floating mid-air. Also, power reserve and retrograde leap year indicator can be seen at 5’o clock & 7’o clock respectively. And finally, when it all comes together the watch looks more like a blueprint of the futuristic spaceships used in the movie ‘Star Trek’.
I confess, this timepiece is going down in my wish list. Not just because this might be one of the best perpetual calendar that money can buy. But, because MB&F went ahead into unchartered territory which many independent watchmakers fear to enter, and came back thumping with their identity intact, and in the process gained more respect and reputation.
The Legacy Machine Perpetual or MB&F LM Perpetual comes in limited edition of 25 pieces in both 18K red gold and platinum 950. MB&F red gold watch price is $145,000 USD while the MB&F Blue Watch price is $176,000 USD.