Founded in 1839, L’EPEE is Switzerland’s only remaining specialised high-end clock manufacture and MB&F, established in 2005, is a young luxury watch brand which is specialised in the revolutionary mechanical timepieces. This year, both companies join hands together to create Starfleet Machine, an exceptional horology creation which reflects the knowhow of the legendary clock maker and the innovative ideas of concept lab.
L’Epée’s beautifully-crafted wall clocks were chosen to furnish the cabins of legendary Concorde when the supersonic aircraft entered commercial service in 1976. Today the design team at MB&F designed a supersonically-themed L’Epée clock: Starfleet Machine.
Engineered and crafted by L’Epée 1839, Starfleet Machine is an intergalactic spaceship-cum-table clock, featuring hours and minutes, double retrograde seconds and power reserve indicator. The highly visible, superlatively finished in-house movement boasts an exceptional power reserve of 40 days Starfleet Machine has been designed by MB&F, the award-winning artistic and micro-engineering laboratory.
Hours and minutes are indicated on the central black dome by hand-polished hands that follow the dome’s curved contours. Behind that, a smaller rotating dome, accompanied by a revolving radar dish, provides an intuitive view of remaining energy: five bars indicates the movement is fully wound (40 days of power); one bar means Starfleet Machine is running low on propellant (eight days of remaining power).
Below 12 o’clock on the central hour-minute dome are the double retrograde seconds in the form of turret-mounted laser cannons. The cannons start in parallel and cross over one another before rapidly flying out again, an action marking off 20-second intervals. The red-tipped cannons provide eye-catching visual animation, and perhaps just as importantly, fend off enemy attacks against the core of the craft just underneath: the regulator, which has deliberately been placed in full view for all to admire.
One of the biggest challenges for L’Epée was respecting the movement configuration required by MB&F’s spacecraft design. L’Epée’s calibre – featuring five main spring barrels (in series for optimal performance) – usually equips vertically standing clocks, but here it is laid flat. The escapement platform also had to be set horizontally to be protected by the turret-mounted laser cannons. Naturally, the movement beats with a precision that Starfleet would be proud of, for an impressive accuracy of -2 to +2 minutes over 40 days.
Every component (except the 48 jewels) of the superlatively finished palladium-treated brass movement is designed and manufactured at L’Epée’s Swiss atelier. The gears and mainspring barrels are on full display thanks to the skeletonised mainplate and concentric C-shaped external structure in stainless steel. Starfleet Machine can rest on both ends of its vertical landing gear; useful for when turn it over to wind the mainspring and set the time.
Starfleet Machine is limited to 175 pieces and is available in ‘light’ or ‘dark’ editions, the latter with ruthenium-finished components.
Hours and minutes: Curved, hand-polished hands rotate to indicating hours and minutes on a polished, central dome. The dome features MB&F’s signature numerals.
Retrograde seconds: 20-second intervals indicated by double retrograde fly-out cannons emanating from central dome.
Power reserve indicator: a dome indicator, framed by a hand finished arc, provides an intuitive view of remaining energy as it turns 270°: 5 bars, 4 bars, 3 bars, 2 bars, 1 bar (1 bar = 8 days). Complemented by a ‘radar dish’ that also revolves 270°.
Height: approx. 21cm
Diameter: approx. 29cm
‘Light’ version: Inner C-shaped structure, external C-shaped structure, support arcs and screws: all in stainless steel
‘Dark’ version: Inner C-shaped structure, external C-shaped structure and support arcs: ruthenium-treated stainless steel
Screws in stainless steel
L’EPÉE in-house designed and manufactured movement
Balance frequency: 18,000 vph / 2.5Hz
Barrels: 5 in series
Power reserve: 40 days
Incabloc shock protection system
Manual-winding: Double-ended key to set time and wind movement
‘Light’ version: Mechanism and main plate in palladium-treated brass
‘Dark’ version: Mechanism in palladium-treated brass, Main plate in ruthenium-treated brass
Transparent ‘biosphere’ dome
Material: polished Plexiglas
Height: approx. 25cm
Maximum diameter: approx. 50cm