We get to play with a lot of luxury watches on the job, and there are few moments more horrifying than when you wreck a priceless timepiece by adjusting it during a date change (the horological equivalent to wearing suede heels out on a rainy day). Fortunately, MB&F’s beautiful LM Perpetual, newly available in a limited edition with a purple face, is protected against such instances of butterfingers.

“The aim here is to create a calendar that is completely fool-proof,” says Northern Irish watchmaker Stephen McDonnell, who developed the ground-breaking calibre. “You can manipulate it any way you like. Whatever you do, you’re not going to break anything.”

The watchmaker laments that while perpetual calendars are a well-known complication, having been around for more than 150 years, “in that time it has almost not evolved at all”.

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With the LM Perpetual, he introduces several innovations on this popular complication, one of which is a mechanism that does away with the problem of date skips – a common problem of perpetual calendars – so that whether the month ends on the 28th, 29th, 30th or 31st, the hand will jump automatically to the 1st of the next month. McDonnell achieves this by basing the movement on a default month of 28 days, as opposed to the usual 31 days, and it’s controlled by a mechanical processor that adds days as required.

The watchmaker is understandably proud of this achievement, and it’s not surprising that he wants to show it off to the fullest with an open dial, which reveals the full complication and suspended balance. The skeletonised sub-dials appear to float in mid-air.

“The star of the show is the mechanism,” he explains. “What is the point in creating something which looks amazing, which functions beautifully, which is completely innovative –and covering it up?”

Why indeed.

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