A perpetual calendar, really? Ok MB&F, you and your gorgeous Legacy Machine Perpetual officially have my attention. Oh who am I kidding? MB&F has had my attention ever since the company unveiled the HM1 and based on this most recent development – which we’ll get to in just a minute – they always will (which I’m totally fine with by the way).
The Legacy Machine Perpetual
If you spent even a second today on any watch-related social media channels (Instagram is a good place to start if you’re one of the few that didn’t) chances are you have already heard all about the new Legacy Machine Perpetual timepiece from MB&F. The latest in the Legacy series, MB&F’s love song to traditional watchmaking, the Legacy Machine Perpetual encapsulates what the brand calls a complete reinvention of that most traditional of horological complications: the perpetual calendar. I must say I am inclined to agree.
Working closely with MB&F’s co-founder and Creative Director Max Busser, a concept was born for a new style of perpetual calendar, the likes of which we have not seen before.
As with all MB&F creations, the Legacy Machine Perpetual is the result of a collaboration. In this instance the main protagonist is a little known but exceptionally talented independent, WOSTEP-trained Irish watchmaker (that’s right, Irish not Swiss) by the name of Stephen McDonnell. Remarkably, this is not the first time McDonnell has worked with MB&F however. He was actually part of the team of people that helped finalise the movement of the HM1 back in 2007, a not-insignificant turning point in the then fledgling brand’s history.
Not surprisingly then, MB&F were willing to take a chance on him again when he came back a few years later with an ambitious idea for a perpetual calendar. Working closely with MB&F’s co-founder and Creative Director Max Busser, a concept was born for a new style of perpetual calendar, the likes of which we have not seen before.
This means that each month always has the exact number of days required; there is no fast-forwarding or skipping redundant days.
For a start the 581-component calibre is fully integrated. That means no base movement with a perpetual calendar module bolted on top as is traditionally the case. No, this movement was designed and built to be a perpetual calendar from its inception and this shows through in both the technical construction and the aesthetic design.
More than that though, the Legacy Machine Perpetual features to significant differences that set it apart from traditional perpetual calendars. Firstly, the movement does not make use of a grand levier – a long lever that runs across the top of the complication and passes through its centre – to synchronise the calendar indications. When the date changes on a traditional Perpetual Calendar this long lever transmits information to the appropriate components and mechanisms by moving backwards and forwards. This is necessary because traditional perpetual calendar mechanisms use a 31-day month as the default and basically “delete” superfluous dates for the months with fewer days – by fast-forwarding through the redundant dates during changeover.
The Legacy Machine Perpetual however takes a different approach. Instead of a space-consuming grand levier the movement utilises a patent pending “mechanical processor”. 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.
To take full advantage of this MB&F has placed the perpetual calendar mechanism on top of the movement main plate so that it can be appreciated from above.
As an added bonus the Legacy Machine Perpetual also has a dedicated quickset pusher to adjust the year. Perhaps best of all though, the adjuster pushers automatically deactivate when the calendar changes so you can’t accidentally damage the movement while the date is changing – a surprisingly common issue with Perpetual Calendar watches.
This complete re-think of the architecture of the perpetual calendar movement leads us on to the second major difference between the Legacy Machine Perpetual and traditional perpetual calendars; the design. According to MB&F removing the need for the calendar’s big lever has allowed for completely new aesthetics not possible when conventional systems are in use. The patent-pending mechanical processor enables the centre of the complication to be used, thereby saving space and allowing design freedom as the full dial is no longer necessary.
To take full advantage of this MB&F has placed the perpetual calendar mechanism on top of the movement main plate so that it can be appreciated from above. Complementing this stunning feature is the suspended balance, hovering above the top of the movement. A long balance wheel pinion connects it to the escapement on the back of the movement, ensuring both sides of the watch are animated.
Even with all that going however legibility still remained a top priority. To address this concern the Legacy Machine Perpetual features skeletonised subdials (except for the time indication) that appear to float above the complication with no apparent support from below. In reality however these skeletonised subdials rest on hidden studs, a feat that is technically impossible with traditional perpetual calendar mechanisms because they would block the movement of the grand levier.
All the standard indications are there; at 12 o’clock hours and minutes; 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. Easy to read, even more enjoyable to stare at. In keeping with the Legacy Machine design DNA, the round case measures 44mm and is comprised of 69 parts.
The Legacy Machine Perpetual will launch with a limited edition of 25 pieces in 18K red gold and 25 pieces in platinum 950 complete with a black or dark brown hand-stitched alligator strap with gold / platinum folding buckle matching the case material. The gold model will be US$145,000 and the platinum model will be US$176,000.
For more information please visit www.mbandf.com and stay tuned for hands-on look after SalonQP!