Insider: MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement. Hands-on with All Four Different Models.

Released a little bit over a week ago, the new MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement is the latest and greatest addition to the Legacy Machines lineup. Available in four versions and in a highly exclusive 18-piece limited edition for each version, this new watch is simply stunning in person. In the new MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement, this feature is not only highlighted, but raised to another level of achievement.

Unlike most of the other suspended balances in the Legacy Machine collection or any other balance outside of MB&F, the 14 mm wide balance of LM Split Escapement seems to oscillate on its own without any visible escapement wheel and anchor. Since the escapement and its components are concealed on the opposite side of the movement, almost 12 mm below; this nee timepiece has been named ‘Split Escapement’.

The Dial & Case

With the balance wheel taking the center stage, the triple-subdial design of the new MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement features a very well balanced look with time indication at 12 o’clock, power reserve indicator at 4 o’clock and date indicator at 8 o’clock.

In a generous 44 mm 18K white gold case, each edition is distinguished by frosting and movement finish of a different shade. Additionally, the date can be quickly and easily adjusted thanks to a pusher on the left caseband. This rectangular pusher is automatically deactivated around midnight, when adjustments should not be made to avoid damaging the movement.

The Frosted Finish

But what also makes the new MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement more special is the natural evolution of its design. More visibly, Legacy Machine SE features the micro-textured “frosted” finish that is so closely associated with antique pocket watches of the 18th and 19th century. This traditional technique was presented by MB&F for the first time in the Legacy Machine 101 ‘Frost’ editions.

Since the inspiration of the Legacy Machine collection lies in the era of frosted movements, smooth round watches and glossy white dials, it was only a matter of time before the frosted finish made another appearance at MB&F. Antique watches featuring a frosted finish used acid baths to achieve this effect, but modern methods of replicating a frosted finish involves manually burnishing a metal surface with a wire brush.

The different versions are as follows: Blue Frosted with rhodium-plated movement, Ruthenium Frosted with similarly darkened movement, Red Gold Frosted and movement with a subtle pink gold sheen and Yellow Gold Frosted with matching movement finish.

The Movement

The Split Escapement was first developed by Stephen McDonnell for the previous Legacy Machine Perpetual. This Split Escapement allows for MB&F's signature flying balance wheel to exist in its purest form, floating high above the dial, while the rest of the escapement —anchor and escape wheel— is located on the opposite side of the movement. The movement provides a power reserve of 72 hours while beating at a frequency of 18,000 vph. This manual wound movement is composed of 314 parts, 35 jewels and it features the longest escapement shaft in watchmaking that is almost 12mm long.

On the Wrist & Pricing

On the wrist, the MB&F LM Split Escapement wears true to its size and just like all other iterations of this watch, its suspended balance wheel is simply incredible. However, for this particular iteration the high polished arches seem more prominent thanks to the stunning backdrop that the four different frosted finishes provide. As far as looks, prepare yourself to have one of the most amazing horological creations on your wrist. The new MB&F Legacy Machine Split Second is available in a limited edition of only 18 pieces for each version. All watches except the blue one, are supplied with a brown hand-stitched alligator strap —the blue one features a black alligator strap— with 18K white gold folding buckle.

Sticker Price $79,000 USD. For more info on MB&F click here.