MB&F Replica Watch has over the years created a mind-boggling array of mechanical fantasies that are, in essence, incidental objects for telling time. Assuming the most bewildering forms, they have institutionalized a new vocabulary of watchmaking in which mechanics put themselves at the service of hardline aesthetics that lasso in everything from pop culture to science fiction. While the Horological Machines were a no-holds-barred exercise in pushing past the limits, the Legacy Machines, with their round cases and classic complications, were an avenue for creativity to thrive under those limits.
Having addressed traditional complications such as the tourbillon and the perpetual calendar in imposingly innovative ways, the brand has now unveiled its first chronograph – the Legacy Machine Sequential EVO. Like the Replica Watch Legacy Machine Perpetual, the movement was conceived by the talented Northern Irish watchmaker Stephen McDonnell. It’s rarely ever that the following can be said about chronographs, but this is unlike anything we’ve seen before in chronographs in every way — construction, function and aesthetics. It houses two vertically coupled, column-wheel chronographs and features a groundbreaking ‘Twinverter’ binary switch, allowing multiple timing options including split-seconds and lap timer modes. Impressively, they all run on a single escapement and balance, rather than two independent trains, which speaks volumes of its complexity and holistic design. Moreover, the construction is consistent with the Legacy Machine range, where the mechanics are exposed on the dial and a balance wheel is suspended high above it by an elegantly arched balance bridge.
Available in either atomic orange or coal black, the dial features two symmetrical, openworked chronograph displays with a pair of chronograph seconds counters located at nine and three o’clock, and a pair of 30-minute totalizers positioned at 11 and one o’clock respectively. Each chronograph can be started, stopped and reset completely independently from each other via the usual two-pusher configuration on either side of the case — start/stop pusher at the top and reset at the bottom. But where it differs dramatically from any other chronograph in function is the presence of a fifth pusher, located at nine o’clock, that acts as a binary switch dubbed the ‘Twinverter’ that inverts the current start/stop status of each chronograph. If both chronographs displays have been stopped, pressing the switch causes both of them to resume or start simultaneously, while if both of them are running, pressing the switch starts both chronographs; and lastly, if one chronograph is running and the other has been stopped, the Twinverter stops the one that is running and starts the one that is stopped.
This single function opens up a magnitude of possibilities for measuring elapsed times. On top of being able to time two independent events with different start and end times, which is carried out individually via the first four pushers, it can be used to measure the two events that start simultaneously, but have different end points, essentially functioning like a split-seconds chronograph. It can also be used to measure the individual cumulative durations of two discontinuous events, which will come in handy as you switch between two different tasks and wish to track the time you have spent on each one. This can be done by starting one chronograph as you begin the first task, then pressing the Twinverter when you switch over to the second task, and pressing it again as you return to the first task.
Lastly, it can be used to time the sub-durations of a single continuous event, akin to a lap timer. Actuating one chronograph at the start of an event and using the Twinverter upon the completion of a lap stops the chronograph and instantly launches the second chronograph to time the next lap, allowing ample time for the first timing result to be recorded.
The Replica Watch movement is housed in an EVO case which is essentially a fortified and enhanced variation that first made its debut in the Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO in 2020. It is made of zirconium, a hypoallergenic metal that is lighter than steel and more durable than titanium. Measuring 44mm by 18.2mm, the case is notably complex with a recessed caseband and angular lugs that accommodate an integrated rubber strap.
Its bezel-free design sets the stage for the perfectly symmetrical movement. Instead of the usual domed crystal with a highly pronounced arch, which will only add height to the already thick movement, the crystal incorporates two subtle angles to form a smooth arch and keep its height at the minimum.
Most notably, the EVO Replica Watch case incorporates an annular shock-absorbing system, dubbed ‘FlexRing’, fitted between case and movement. Machined from a single block of stainless steel, it encircles the movement and fortifies it from the rigors of an active lifestyle. Lastly, the case also features a screw-down crown to provide a water resistance of 80 meters.