We’ve been admirers of MB&F from the very early days, that said, when our eyes first glanced at the price it would cost to own one of these gorgeous machines – I think it is easy to say we were a little taken aback. It was only when you delved into what makes MB&F watches extraordinarily special did it become apparent exactly the time, effort and craftmanship that went into each timepiece created. As The Beatles said in one of their most well-known songs; “I get by with a little help from my friends” and this is a philosophy that Max Busser has built his business on – hence the F that proceeds MB&.
Max Busser is known for his rather outlandish watch designs but the introduction of the Legacy machines back in 2011, perhaps brought a more sensible and practical side to his designs but with technical flair. The Legacy Machine Perpetual was first introduced in 2015 and since its launch the LM Perpetual has been crafted in yellow-gold red-gold, platinum, white-gold and titanium. And just over a week ago it was announced in a new palladium case with a striking aquamarine dial, that now joins the series: in a limited edition of 25 examples.
The shape of the LM Perpetual is in-keeping with the original design, one born from the inquisitive question from Max of what he’d design if he were born in the 19th century, however, what makes the LM Perpetual special is of course the movement – which in my humble opinion is a technical work of art. The classical cues of the Legacy Machine provide the perfect platform for a perpetual calendar.
So, beginning with a blank sheet of paper, MB&F enlisted the help of independent Irish watchmaker Stephen McDonnell to completely reinvent the most traditional of horological complications: the perpetual calendar. The result is the LM Perpetual, featuring a visually stunning in-house movement – developed from the ground up to eliminate the drawbacks of conventional perpetual calendars. But what makes the LM Perpetual even more impressive is that the complication can be fully appreciated dial-side, which is just one of the many benefits afforded from rethinking a complicated design.
The LM Perpetual features a fully integrated 581-component calibre − no module, no base movement − with a revolutionary new system for calculating the number of days in each month. And it holistically reinterprets the aesthetics of the perpetual calendar by placing the full complication on the dial, displayed underneath the suspended balance. It’s quite well-known that traditional perpetual calendar complications can be quite finicky and fragile, i.e. dates skipping or damaging the movement trying to correct it while the date is moving. However, this fully integrated, purpose-built movement of Legacy Machine Perpetual has been designed from scratch for trouble-free use – thus eliminating this fragility.
LM Perpetual is anything but traditional and reinvents the wheel by using a “mechanical processor” instead of the conventional grand levier. The mechanical processor utilises a default 28-day month and adds extra days as required. This means that each month always has the exact number of days required; there is no fast-forwarding or skipping redundant days. Additionally, the LM Perpetual makes use of a dedicated quickset pusher to adjust the year, thus negating scrolling through up to 47 months – something you’d need to do on traditional perpetual calendars.
The open dial of the LM Perpetual reveals the full complication and suspended balance that hovers above the entire dial is connected to the escapement on the back of the movement by a long balance staff. Using an innovative system developed especially for Legacy Machine Perpetual, the skeletonised sub dials appear to “float” above the movement with no visible attachments. At 12 o’clock we see the hours and minutes nestled between the elegant arches of the balance; day of the week at 3 o’clock, power reserve indicator at 4 o’clock, month at 6 o’clock, retrograde leap year indicator at 7 o’clock, and date at 9 o’clock above the stark blue base of the dial. All packed into a 44m Palladium 950 case, which adds a nice classical element, on a brown alligator strap.
The MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual in Palladium 950, is limited to just 25 pieces and is priced at €165,000. For more information on this exquisite timepiece, visit the MB&F website.