Following the LM Perpetual EVO, the LM Sequential EVO, and the LM Split Escapement EVO (first introduced as a limited edition for the United Arab Emirates’ 50th anniversary), MB&F is now introducing two new editions, proving that EVO is becoming a collection in its own right.
Like all good stories, it is worth starting at the very beginning. The idea behind the LM Split Escapement started life in 2015 with the LM Perpetual. Designed and conceived by Northern Irish master watchmaker Stephen McDonnell, there were two criteria for the perpetual calendar: make it fool-proof; and display MB&F’s signature flying balance wheel in the centre of the dial.
McDonnell was soon to realise that there was a problem: there was nowhere to put the escapement. The concept had worked with previous Legacy Machines, where the balance wheel was on the front of the watch along with the escapement, but with the perpetual calendar display of the more complex LM Perpetual, there was simply no room for both.
A man of solutions, McDonnell had the ingenious idea of creating the world’s longest balance staff that would traverse the entire movement, leaving the large balance wheel on its own, on the front of the watch, and moving the remaining parts of the escapement – anchor and escape wheel—to the opposite side of the movement, almost 12 mm below; hence the name ‘Split Escapement’.
When the LM Perpetual was unveiled, there were so many innovations to talk about that the split escapement went largely unnoticed. So, in 2017, MB&F decided to create the LM Split Escapement (LM SE) to highlight McDonnell’s genius idea. The manual-winding, 298-component movement is driven by double barrels providing 72 hours of power reserve, and features a user-friendly, foolproof rapid date-changing system that prevents the user from inadvertently damaging the movement when adjusting the date.
The first editions of the LM Split Escapement were presented in MB&F’s classic Legacy Machine case—but the collection now also features the EVO case, conceived for a more active lifestyle.
This new case design first came to life in 2020 in the form of the LM Perpetual EVO; it features 80 metres of water resistance, a screw-down crown, an integrated rubber strap and a bezel-free design. But the EVO concept goes deeper: inside the case, the movement is suspended thanks to a world-premiere, monobloc shock-absorbing “FlexRing” system, dampening the kind of vertical and horizontal shocks that come with real-life adventures.
MB&F is now unveiling not one, but two new LM SE EVO editions. The first comes in grade 5 titanium with an icy blue base plate and slate grey dial and opened counters that will make you shiver, in a good way.
Another feature is the special darkened treatment on the movement side, creating heightened contrast between the wheels, the rhodium-plated barrels and the rose gold details—symbolically echoing the contrast between the active, contemporary nature of the EVO collection and the traditional finishing of the movement. 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 mesmerizing as the dial.