From the LM Perpetual to the LM Sequential and the LM Split Escapement, each MB&F timepiece is a testament to the craftsmanship and engineering expertise of the brand. The latest special edition EVO, dedicated to MB&F LAB in Taipei, follows in this lineage, revealing an evolution of form and function.
The LM Split Escapement began its journey in 2015 when Northern Irish watchmaker Stephen McDonnell conceptualized the LM Perpetual. The two major criteria were straightforward: the perpetual calendar should be fool-proof and the flying balance wheel should be displayed prominently at the center of the dial. However, this presented a challenge; there was simply no space to house the escapement along with the perpetual calendar.
The solution came in the form of a unique mechanical innovation—the world’s longest balance staff. McDonnell designed this to span across the entire movement. This allowed the balance wheel to remain on the front while moving the escapement’s remaining components—the anchor and escape wheel—to the opposite side, almost 12 mm below. This gave birth to the concept of the ‘Split Escapement’.
In 2017, MB&F introduced the LM Split Escapement (LM SE) to shine a spotlight on this innovative approach. The watch featured a manual-winding movement with 298 components and was powered by double barrels offering a 72-hour power reserve. Additionally, a user-friendly date-changing system was integrated into the movement to prevent any inadvertent damage while adjusting the date.
The first editions of the LM Split Escapement featured the classic Legacy Machine case. However, the EVO case was introduced in 2020 with the LM Perpetual EVO, catering to an active lifestyle. This new case design boasted 80 meters of water resistance, a screw-down crown, an integrated rubber strap, and a bezel-free design. Additionally, the “FlexRing” system, a world-first monobloc shock-absorbing mechanism, was installed to dampen vertical and horizontal shocks.
In 2022, two new editions of the LM SE EVO were added to the collection. One featured grade 5 titanium with a blue base plate and slate grey dial, while another limited edition was designed exclusively for MB&F LAB in Beverly Hills. This edition featured colours of blue and black with a black base plate and metallic blue dial.
The relationship between MB&F and Swiss Prestige has been a strong one, going back almost to the inception of the brand. Swiss Prestige opened the second MB&F M.A.D.Gallery in Taiwan in 2015, marking the first of its kind in Asia. Lori Shen, the CEO of Swiss Prestige, saw the venture as an opportunity to do something different in the horological space.
Fast forward to 2023, the MB&F LAB in Taipei is celebrating its unique partnership with MB&F by launching its own limited edition of 20 pieces of the LM Split Escapement EVO. This edition includes a titanium case, a black base plate, and a reflective green dial with open counters. Buyers have the option to select from two rubber straps—a contrasting white or a dark grey that complements the base plate.