By Harlan Chapman-Green
This is quite a spectacular watch. Today MB&F unveiled the new LM Perpetual watch, a timepiece which MB&F claims has ‘re-invented the perpetual calendar’. That’s a pretty big claim as perpetual calendar timepieces continue to shine as popular models in a range from IWC to A.Lange & Söhne, but then again, this is a big moment for MB&F, their 10th anniversary. In 1795 Breguet unveiled the first perpetual Gregorian calendar watch, today in 2015 MB&F re-invents it, let’s see just how well they did.
Let’s start with the simple and obvious: it’s MB&F, the one thing they don’t do with their watches is a bad job. Maybe not to everyone’s tastes, but the fact that Maximilian Büsser and Co take so long to work on every detail means that the quality of each watch is fixed squarely in the extremely well-made category.
For this watch, MB&F started with a blank piece of paper and asked an independent Irish watchmaker by the name of Stephen McDonnell to help them create this magnificent piece. Perhaps one of the most intriguing developments made by MB&F is called the “mechanical processor”. I’m not exactly sure what this patent pending system is for or how it works, so I invite anyone from the audience who knows about it to spill the beans on it and correct me.
The perpetual calendar is a grand and traditional complication in the same league as the tourbillon and equation of time. Unlike an annual or complete calendar, the perpetual calendar is able to calculate the almost random amounts of days within the year, compensating not only for the 28, 30 or 31 days in our months but also the 29 days that occur once every four years in February. This is no easy feat by any means. However, there are a couple of small drawbacks that can become a big problem for the owner. The dates of the watch can skip and they are generally very delicate. The other issue (which is often experienced by new owners of perpetual calendar watches who may have skim read the manual) with the traditional perpetual calendar is the fact that they can be severely damaged if the owner attempts to adjust it when the calendar is gearing up to move to the next date, leaving the owner frustrated while the date changes over to somewhere between 6 PM to 6 AM.
I know where you think this is going, MB&F have somehow created a magical movement that doesn’t get jammed and can be dropped out off the second story of a building without shattering into a gazillion tiny pieces. They aren’t quite there yet, but who knows what they’ll do in the future? Back to the watch, the issue of jamming gears and calendar breakage has been solved by a system which deactivates the pushers which adjust the calendar when it’s preparing to jump to the next date.
In terms of the dial side of the watch, you can fully appreciate the mechanics of the movement. In true MB&F fashion, the 14mm balance wheel has been suspended above the dial of the watch and has been fitted with traditional regulating screws.
Nestled in at the 12 O’clock position is the minute and hour dial, at 3 O’clock is the day of the week indicator. At half past four is the 72hr power reserve indicator, and at 6 O’clock is the month sub-dial. At half past, seven is the retrograde leap year indicator and at 9 O’clock is the date wheel. The dial is complemented by a black backplate for the 18K rose gold version and a blue backplate for the 950 platinum version with both watches being complimented with blue hands.
Don’t even think for a second that MB&F has put all of its eggs in one basket, as the underside of the watch has been treated to an open sapphire crystal caseback that reveals two hand guilloché barrels with geneva waves for the rest of the movement. There’s also the engraved logo of MB&F and the signature of Stephen McDonnell.
Both versions have been limited to 25 units and are 44mm in diameter. There’s 581 individual parts to the movement, so expect the watch to be very pricey to purchase, $145,000 in rose gold, $176,000 in platinum, but if you can afford it it’s well worth the buy.
For more info, please visit mbandf.com
HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN – CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
A keen bass guitar player, Harlan enjoys all the perks modern watchmaking technologies the industry has to offer. Although you might catch him sampling Omegas or the odd Rolex, Harlan loves all things Haute Horology, with his three favourite brands being Breguet, A.Lange & Söhne and Vacheron Constantin. He hopes to study timekeeping more in depth someday and will never be able to thank his father enough for introducing him to the industry. You can follow him on Instagram Read his articles here