Editors Pick Watches

Watch of the Week: MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement

We can’t help but love the Legacy Machines. They might not have the varied levels of insanity of the Horological Machines or the idiosyncratic, playful personalities of the table clocks, but MB&F’s take on 19th century watchmaking is really something else.

There has been a fair few pieces in the series ranging from the pure and minimal to MB&F’s version of a perpetual calendar. The only constant has been the suspended balance wheel, coiling and uncoiling just under the crystal.

MB&F Legacy Machine Split EscapementMB&F Legacy Machine Split EscapementThe LMSE takes that concept to the next level. You’d be forgiven for assuming the second two letters stood for Special Edition – after all, it’s a very special watch, but the Legacy Machine Split Escapement wears its complication on its sleeve, somewhat ironically given that the point is subterfuge.

Usually you’ll see the entire escapement clicking along with the balance spring, the whole contraption powering the rest of the watch. In the LMSE however the balance wheel seems to be moving all by itself. The anchor and escape wheel seem to have been completely stripped away.

MB&F Legacy Machine Split EscapementMB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement

Those two parts are actually hidden on the other side of the movement 12mm below the balance wheel – hence the term Split Escapement. In watchmaking terms that’s a huge gulf between the two and likely brought the watchmakers behind it to the brink of insanity.

MB&F Legacy Machine Split EscapementMB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement

Is it worth it? Well, against the stunning frosted backing to the triple dial design, the more minimal the better. It may be a little change but, in our opinion at least, perfects what MB&Fs Legacy Machine should be.

Connoisseur’s Corner

  • 44mm 18kt white gold case
  • Available in four frosted dial variations – blue, rose gold, yellow gold and charcoal grey
  • Signature balance wheel suspended above the dial with the rest of the escapement hidden 12mm below
  • 72-hour power reserve
  • Movement finished with 19th century embellishment
  • Price: CHF 79,000 (before taxes)

About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.