MB&F is not known for doing things by halves, and when it comes to their more “traditional watch” styled Legacy Machine models, this is no exception. With two models currently in their EVO sports line, the Perpetual EVO and Sequential EVO, it’s no surprise they are expanding this by giving the 2017 LM Split Escapement the EVO treatment!
MB&F quietly launched the LM Split Escapement EVO as a limited edition for the UAE’s 50th anniversary last year, available exclusively at the MB&F M.A.D.Gallery in Dubai. Off the back of its success, they have decided to make the LM Split Escapement EVO available worldwide, in a different execution, with an icy-cool light blue dial plate that is finished with a spiral sunburst design and grey sub-dials.
In addition, MB&F is also releasing a limited edition of 25 pieces reserved for their MB&F LAB opening soon in Beverly Hills. With a black dial plate and metallic blue subdials, this version is almost a reverse of the standard LM Split Escapement EVO, with the darker dial perfectly contrasting with the white strap in rubber.
MB&F say this is the first of a series of limited editions reserved exclusively for MB&F LABs, a new retail format building on the success of MB&F’s M.A.D.Galleries, but adapted to spaces not quite large enough to host a full-fledged gallery. This year they plan to open MB&F LABs in Paris, Singapore and Beverly Hills.
Prior to developing the EVO line, the Legacy Machines, whilst works of art and mechanically stunning, were less robust and not really designed for outdoor activities. A realisation that Max Busser came to when not being able to take his LM swimming. From this, the LM EVO line was born in 2020 in the form of the LM Perpetual EVO, featuring 80 metres of water resistance, a screw-down crown, an integrated rubber strap, Super-LumiNova on display and a bezel-free design.
But the EVO concept goes deeper: inside the case, the movement is suspended thanks to a world-premiere, shock-absorbing “FlexRing” system, dampening the kind of vertical and horizontal shocks that come with real-life adventures. Following on from this, the EVO case now appears further in the Legacy Machine collection: most recently with MB&F’s first-ever chronograph, the LM Sequential EVO.
Whilst the EVO line keeps the heart and essence of the original LM models, the colours, integrated rubber strap and movement modifications really set them apart, and this continues in the new LM Split Escapement EVO.
In addition to the EVO treatment, the LM Split Escapement EVO features another modification compared to the original LM Split Escapement: the entire mechanism is rotated clockwise by 30 degrees, radically changing the symmetry of the watch and giving it a new character. At first glance, the asymmetrical configuration may take some off guard, but it works, with the main dial set to the right, drawing the eye to it with the bridges of the flying balance wheel framing it nicely.
Whilst some MB&F Legacy Machines can be quite busy and not as easy to read, such as the LM Perpetual – a marvel and work of art in its own right, the LM Split Escapement EVO is clean, good looking and easy to read at a glance – which is exactly what a sports watch should be. The other nice design aspect is the screw-down crown positioned at 4 O’Clock, rather than 3, stopping it from rubbing or digging into the back of the hand like some watches tend to do.
Under the hood (or dome in this case), The LM Split Escapement EVO has a manual-wind movement, comprising of 298-components. The Stephen McDonnell calibre is driven by double barrels providing 72 hours of power reserve and features a user-friendly, foolproof rapid date-changing system.
Flipping the watch over, you will find a special darkened treatment on the movement side, creating heightened contrast between the wheels, the rhodium-plated barrels, and the rose gold details. This, according to MB&F, symbolically echoes the contrast between the active, contemporary nature of the EVO collection and the traditional finishing of the movement. Interestingly, MB&F is one of only a handful of artisanal brands that continue to finish components painstakingly by hand, making the view of the movement as mesmerising as the dial. And based on the first photos released, it does not disappoint.
Both versions are finished in grade 5 Titanium, combining polished and brushed surfaces with an integrated rubber strap, spiral sunburst dial and asymmetrical main and sub-dial layout. Each pays homage to the MB&F Legacy Machine line but with a clean, sporting look that is both complex and subtle at the same time.
The retail price of the LM Split Escapement EVO and limited Beverly Hills Edition (this being sold exclusively in that location) is $75,000 CHF + VAT or around $112,000 AUD with the current exchange rate.*