The complexity is tangible, the feeling is tingly yet disturbing. I’m seeing the unreal sight of the MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO, or any MB&F for that matter – on a moulded soft rubber strap in an image surely done with a green screen CGI.
I mean, mountain biking or hiking with a piece of highly strung horological art worth close to $300,000 AUD on your wrist, surely not. And the heat that seeps from that fiery orange within the movement: if I was an A.I. this would mean a sensory overload and system crash; intriguing seems a proper understatement. This is sports casual on a level higher than we are used to on a normal weekday — have a look at our first look at the the MB&F Legacy Machine 1 here to understand the intriguing contrast.
But yes, the images are true to life, and that is the first Atomic Orange PVD/CVD movement plate ever fitted to a piece of Haute Horlogerie, also available in a now very demure black – or a delicate blue. But why did I get the feeling the brightness of the case polish was somehow different too? An intensely labour-intensive Zirconium case envelops the LMP EVO, with a new bezel-less design and a screw-down crown ensuring a sporty 80m depth rating. One of the reasons we now have a tougher rationale behind this new EVO is the FlexRing, a specially developed monobloc shock absorption system that makes this the most robust Machine ever to emerge from the secret labs of MB&F.
The Zirconium has a bright zing to it, with a prominent lustre unlike steel, and a svelte, for 44mm, case design. The already well-proportioned case is made slimmer by a brushed centre case with a sharp polished no-bezel top and a screw-down back. Eight perfectly countersunk screws and a numbered caseback encircles a large sapphire crystal, allowing us a ringside seat to the mechanical splendour within.
The lugs have an ergonomic shape and a delicate side cut-out that is carried into the strap, creating a flowing line, underlining the snug fit to the case of the comfortable soft black silicone rubber, a first on any Legacy Machine. The contrast is obvious, yet works to underline the vast complexity of the star of the show – a dial unlike any other. I wouldn’t even call it a dial – the term is too simple to fathom the scope of design behind this entrancing theatre of micro mechanics. After composing yourself from the shock of fiery orange, the pure art of the Legacy Machine family appears in the shape of the arching balance bridge holding aloft the now familiar balance wheel taking an elevated centre stage.
What seems like oblong chronograph pushers adjusts the sublime complication of a perpetual calendar, clearly legible on three floating black chapter rings with delicate, black framed lumed arrow tips on the pointers. The seemingly irrelevant passage of hours and minutes, in a day of which one glance at the dial elevates any sombre mood, is on an elegant black sub-dial at 12. Minimalist indices, a crisp MB&F logo and polished arrows are letting you know that you’ve just spent half an hour gazing at the dial ignoring your calls, but the need is there and has to be satisfied. The never-ending fascination of an MB&F movement is only emphasised by the contrast of bright colour and a mix of brushed and polished haute horlogerie, something you would also expect on the movement side (relatively speaking with the openworked dial). And we are not disappointed.
The view through the rear sapphire is dominated by the superbly bevelled, hand-finished dark bridge work, with Geneva waves and the vibrancy of purple countersunk chatons livening up proceedings. The 18,000 vph movement has a solid 72-hour power reserve with a dizzying 581 components and 41 jewels. This time, the new FlexRing, though not visible, creates ample shock protection through both vertical and lateral axes, an annular damper befitting this newfound active purpose of the Legacy Machine Perpetual.
The new bezel-less construction of the zirconium case, a notoriously hard material to work with, means the crystal is slightly larger and fused directly onto the case. A case, which by virtue of the zirconium is hypoallergenic and anti-microbial — a superb property on a sports watch for an active lifestyle, without mentioning the underlying 2020-importance of this.
With the cutting-edge designs of MB&F being known for their ergonomy, clearly visible by the perfect curvature and length of the zirconium lugs, I can only imagine the comfort of this timepiece with the suppleness of rubber. A beautifully idiosyncratic and intensely distracting sporting companion, this is leading MB&F down a new and active path.
If the Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO is a glimpse of MB&F becoming even more diversified in their offerings, the future is cutting edge, highly complex and with a warm orange glow. Should you want to stay on your bike, I would recommend the more downplayed visuals of the black base plate version on a white strap, but you still run the risk of an accident should you glance down at the entrancing face of the EVO.
The MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO, price and availability:
The three MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO limited editions of 15 pieces each retail for CHF 152,000 + VAT (USD 167,000 / EUR 142,000 + tax), and are available for enquiry at the MB&F site right here.