For quite some time now, there is a trend of putting balance wheels out in the open. Not only does this add the obvious spectacle to a watch, but it also highlights exactly what makes a mechanical watch so interesting: its beating heart. With their Legacy Machine’s MB&F gave the balance wheel center stage and with the new Split Escapement, this show is elevated to new heights!
The dial of the new MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement is once again a beauty in symmetry. Three subdials tell time, date (with fast correct pusher integrated in the case), and power reserve, like lacquer oasis against a frosted background that we still knew from the LM 101 ‘Frost’ editions. It provides a beautiful decor for the balance wheel, which seems to move in the center of the dial, with no visible connection to the movement itself.
This is also the main treat that the Legacy Machine Split Escapement has in store for us, as the other parts of the escapement, the anchor and escape wheel, are located below the dial. The fact that this is even possible it thanks to Stephen McDonnell, the brilliant watchmaker who also created the Legacy Machine Perpetual.
Normally the parts that make up the escapement of a watch are placed close together to ensure as little interference on its precise timekeeping capability as possible. By splitting the escapement into two parts, MB&F had to resort to other solutions to secure this as well for the Legacy Machine Split Escapement.
It does so by means of a long balance arbour, which MB&F created to be rigid as possible. It furthermore focussed on the stability of the construction, fitting the arbour on both sides with anti-shock jewel bearings, as well as a separate fixed bridge that holds the anchor and escape wheel. Because the balance arbour is longer, it means more mass that needs to be put into motion, which results in a higher use of energy. To compensate for that MB&F fitted the watch with two parallel mainspring barrels, giving the watch a power reserve of 72 hours, while also contributing to the precise timekeeping performance of this Legacy Machine.
MB&F offers the Legacy Machine Split Escapement in four editions. In their press release, they call them “launch editions” which could mean that there are more to come. For now, they only offer the watch with a white gold case, with four different dials, and movement finishes to match. Each is a limited edition of 18 pieces, and priced at $79.000,-