Thursday, November 5, 2015

28 is the new 31 - Legacy Machine Perpetual by MB&F

As we all know by now, the latest incarnation of the Legacy Machine is perhaps one of the most beautiful perpetual calendar around. And with all things MB&F, there is always a lovely story behind how this came about.

The LM Perpetual was four years in the making but the collaboration went back nine years when Max started MB&F and was working on the HM1. As Max would tell you, they were facing some very uncertain future as the movement maker had backed out. With the help of Peter Speake-Marin, they managed to round up some independent watchmakers amongst which was a "relatively" unknown but talented Stephen McDonnell. The team went on to complete the HM1, made deliveries and the rest they say is history.

Fast forward five years and Max is now is much better shape and it was time to payback a favour. In all of MB&F's timepieces, regardless whether it was the HM or LM series, they always started with Max having a particular vision of wanting to create something close to his dreams. But with the LM Perpetual, that was a different story altogether. Irish born and Oxford educated McDonnell was given the free reign to design and develop the timepiece - when asked what he wanted to create, he knew immediately the perpetual calendar was what he had wanted to do.

Max explained that in "traditional" perpetual calendars, the number of days in the month is controlled primarily by using modules built on top of the base movement. However, Stephen McDonnell had devised a new mechanism (patent pending). He argued that no matter which month and regardless of whether it was a leap year or not, every single month has 28 days. From this point when the mechanical processor is activated, it will guide the date to 29, 30 or 31 depending on the month in question. Here is Max explaining the processor...

Four years later, the "baby" was born and the result a stunning perpetual calendar named LM Perpetual. 25 each will be made in Platinum and Rose Gold every year and according to Max, 90% of the first year's production has been snapped up!

The layout of the perpetual calendar is somewhat "usual" with the sub-dials but has every hallmark of the Legacy Machine with the overhead balance wheel. And in this case, the escapement had to be at the rear of the movement. One of the pain points was how to "connect" the balance wheel with the escapement. And the result was a 12mm long steel shaft just 0.16mm in diameter. But what I really like about the LM Perpetual is the legibility of the sub-dials.

The balance wheel if you are curious is 14mm in diameter.

Max also explained that the built in pushers, which are found on the side of the case are done in such a way that they will not be activated during the "sensitive" time between the hours of 10pm and 4am. Pushing those pushers will not jam the movement.

The dome sapphire gives the LM Perpetual a different feel and gives it a three dimensional look too.

On the movement side, another magnificent movement - one of the best finished movements around.

The double barrel provides 72 hours of power reserve and the movement consists of 581 components. Movement beats at 18,000 BPH and the movement is signed Stephen McDonnell.

What I like about the LM series is the dial - super glossy finished dial. And MB&F partner Serge Kriknoff told me that it is not enamel, not even lacquer but a for of "stressed varnish". A trade secret but it gives the LM the signature "Glossy Lacquer" finish on every LM dial.

And every piece comes with a deployment buckle with the signature MB&F logo.

Truly a beauty - well proportioned and definitely legible. The "lack" of a dial gives the timepiece that raw look... definitely a plus for me. Shows the mechanism in full view and not hidden below a dial. The blue brushed base lends a classy feel to this platinum piece.

There are perpetual calendars and then there are Perpetual Calendars... LM Perpetual qualifies as a must have (if pocket is deep enough) and the other is the Moser Perpetual One. So if money is no object, make sure you book your LM Perpetual soon. Available exclusively in Singapore to The Hour Glass.

Pictures taken with iPhone 6S. Thanks to the folks at the Hour Glass for the invite.