L’Epée, the prestigious clock manufacture based in Switzerland celebrates its 175th anniversary by developing a new timepiece which pays tribute to the brand’s history and origins. The Two Hands special edition clock, which is equipped with special Tourbillon, is created in collaboration with Vincent Calabrese, a well known figure of the Horology world.
The most surprising complication, the tourbillon comes and takes place in the middle of this piece of art. It becomes flying, and stands proudly on the middle of the Turbine shape inspired design. The movement, designed by Vincent Calabrese, includes a double tourbillon. As the movement is rotating on the single axis carrying a fixed center-wheel, the movement is embedded on top of the minute hand, it fulfill the full definition of Abraham Louis Breguet’s Tourbillon.
The escapement, fitted on the exterior part of the minute hand upon the extension of the escapement wheel pinion, operates in Tourbillon with a period of 60 seconds. The Tourbillon is flying as its mobile parts are fitted on bearing without upper -bridge. All of this to make the “Two hands” flying over gravity to explore the basics of the tourbillon.
Two hands was fully crafted by L’Epée 1839, Switzerland’s only remaining specialised high-end clock manufacture, founded in 1839. The highly visible, superlatively finished in-house movement boasts an exceptional power reserve of 40 days with only one small barrel.
Hours and minutes hands are as usual used to indicate time but here it is also the main plate for the Tourbillon. The details of the finishing parts of the movement can be fully appreciated by the naked eye. The Full concept of a Flying Tourbillon can be admire and also easily understood by everyone as none of the subtle parts are hidden. This clock therefore threats observers to a fascinating visual full animation display.
Almost every component of the superlatively finished palladium (or gold depending on the chosen configuration) treated brass movement is designed and manufactured at L’Epée’s Swiss manufacture. The gears and mainspring barrels are on full display thanks to the skeletonised “Aerospace Turbine” inspired design dial and to the minute’s hands showing all the parts of the regulation of the clocks.
When conceiving The “Two hands” housing, CEO Arnaud Nicolas and Designer Christian Chabloz set out a new reference to where no clock manufacturer had gone before, manufacturing an exceptional timepiece with 35 Kg of titanium.
Two hands is limited to 2 unique pieces ; one in massive Titanium Grade 5 (Ref. 10.2014/101)and one in massive brass gold plated (Ref.10.2014/001).
Several challenges had been solve to manufacture this exceptional housing. The First but not the least was, for the black and white configuration, to be able to manufacture a sphere resulting of 35 kg of massive Titanium. To push to the extreme the link between design and material, the raw material used to manufacture the housing is identical to the one used in Aerospace industry: Titanium Grade 5.
A unique dressing was also designed and, to be able to machining it on top of the sphere, not less than 2 millions of computer lines made by a specialist, resulting in more than 50 hours of grounding on a 5 axes CNC machine, was required.
As it is an anniversary piece, the link with the past had to be visible in the movement but also in the housing, so the choice of enamel was taken. This was the biggest challenges for the l’Epée team. The design of the housing is composed of 212 leaves and 167 characters. So, 379 pockets of different size, going from 0.38 mm for the smaller one to 780 mm for the biggest one, had to be enamel on a unique round surface.
The sphere shape was a huge constrains but it was one of the key codes for this anniversary piece. The base is also in Titanium and had to be as simple as possible. The L’Epée team wanted to have a clock that the owner can enjoy and despite the weight it had to be easily handled. To ease the discovery, to align the dial opening to its desk or to enjoy it from its sofa, the owner can easily turn it; thanks to the free rotation on its pedestal.
A Contemporary guilloché dial plated with all -black associated with curved arms reveals the back side of the movement. Nothing is hidden; everything is shown in this turbine like dial.3 main-plates composed the movement. The first one and the second one have this wave shape that gives a sensation of movement to the clock. The last one is placed on the back of the movement to add some kind of deepness of infinity. The deepness of the space into which the movement is flying.
The Vincent Calabrese and L’Epée 1839 Signatures are engraved respectively at 3h00 and 9h00 to underline the 3 and 9 of 1939, date of foundation of L’Epée. The 12 numbers are sun satined finish to highlight the dial contrast and to re-enforced the turning effect. Like in a vortex, everything seems to come out from the center.
The Flying Tourbillon
A new generation of Tourbillon have been developed. This flying Tourbillon lays on top of the minute hand doing a revolution in 1 hour. The influences of gravity on the accuracy of the 40-days movement disappear over the continuous and mastered rotation of the escapement. This Tourbillon, signed by Vincent Calabrese, is a revolving system as the movement is rotating on the single axis carrying a fixed center wheel. The movement is a Double Tourbillon as the escapement is rotating within the minute hand, itself rotating in 60 minutes.
The escapement, fitted on the exterior part of the minute hand upon the extension of the escape wheel pinion, operates in Tourbillon with a period of 60 seconds. This Tourbillon is flying as its mobile parts are fitted on bearing without upper bridge. To enhance the visibility and aesthetics flying tourbillon, the team has decided to make the cage turning anti-clockwise in an atmosphere where everything is turning clockwise.
L’Epée 1839 40-days Movement
L’Epée 1839 has a long experience in 40 days movement. Nevertheless, this new movement has the particularity to only bear one Barrel and to place most of its wheels on top of the minute Hand. The wheels are driven in a continuous motion by the minute hand, while the barrel is attached to the dial of this masterpiece.