The Fifth Element by MB&F and L’Epée 1839

Fifth Element, the newest creation born from the partnership between MB&F and L’Epée 1839, incorporates an analogue weather station and a complex mechanical horological mechanism. This UFO styled desktop station houses four removable and interchangeable instrument elements: clock, barometer, hygrometer, and thermometer.

For the Fifth Element, premium Swiss mechanical clock manufacture L’Epée 1839 reengineered and skeletonised their 8-day clock movement to maximize transparency and visual access.

Remaining three elements are related for weather forecasting. The barometer, which measures air pressure, can predict changes in climate, as increasing air pressure foretells good clear weather, decreasing air pressure portends inclement weather. The hygrometer measures the percentage of water vapour in the air; it displays this as a percentage of the maximum amount of moisture that might be held at a given temperature. The Thermometer can alert us the variations in atmospheric temperatures.

There is a fifth element too! It is none other than Ross, the alien pilot, who rotates on cockpit styled manually-wound, air-regulated movement positioned below the mechanical clock

The pieces making up the complex framework of curves and circles composing the structure of the Fifth Element had to be milled from solid blocks of brass in a process taking many hours. Each of the four elements is composed of an outer case containing the core instrument of each module and can be placed on the Fifth Element structure. The clock had to be re-engineered for a vertical escapement on the side for visual access. The four elements – clock, barometer, hygrometer, and thermometer – are not only detachable and interchangeable; thanks to integrated support they can also stand.

In addition to the 8-day clock at the top of the Fifth Element, L’Epée created a second independent clockwork mechanism supported on bearings in the base and activated by a pushbutton. This powers the movement of Ross the alien pilot.

The clock movement was developed exclusively for this project by L’Epée, based on their superb in-house 8-day movement. The standard movement gear train is in-line i.e. all on the same plane; but for the Fifth Element, L’Epée rotated the regulator – consisting of the balance and escapement, the most complex mechanism in any clockwork regulator – a full 90 degrees to the movement. Because the Clock Element is mobile (it can be detached from the Fifth Element and stand alone, as can all the Elements),the regulator features an Incabloc shock protection system to minimise the risk of damage when the Clock Element is being moved or relocated. While shock protection is standard in wristwatch movements, it is more unusual in generally immobile clocks.

The Clock Element movement features the same types of superlative fine finishing found on the finest wristwatches, including Geneva waves, bevelling, polishing, sandblasting, and circular and vertical satin finishing.

The Fifth Element is available in 3 limited editions of 18 pieces each in Silver, Black, and Blue.

Technical details

Clock (hours and minutes), barometer (air pressure), thermometer (air temperature), hygrometer (air humidity)

Complete Fifth Element
Dimensions: 376 mm in diameter x 209 mm in height
No. of components: 531
Base clockwork: no escapement, minute repeater-type governor
Materials: stainless steel, brass, bronze (alien)
Total weight: 15 kg

UFO Clock Movement
L’Epée in-house designed and manufactured, vertical architecture eight-day movement
Dimensions: 124 mm in diameter x 92 mm in height
Balance frequency: 2.5 Hz (18,000 bph)
Power reserve: 8 days from single barrel in base
Components in movement: 161
Jewels: 11
Incabloc shock protection system
Movement finishing: polishing, bead-blasting, and satin finishing
Weight: 1,35kg

UFO Barometer
Atmospheric pressure: 960 / 1060 hPa (28.4 / 31.6 in Hg)
Dimensions: 124 mm in diameter x 92 mm in height
Dial: laser engraved
Display: curved hand
Components: 73
Calibration screw-in base
Weight: 1.80 kg

UFO Thermometer
Temperature: -30° / +70° Celsius (-20° / +156°Fahrenheit)
Dimensions: 124 mm in diameter x 92 mm in height
Dial: laser engraved
Display: curved hand
Components: 46
Weight: 1.90 kg

UFO Hygrometer
Hygrometer: 0 – 100% humidity
Dimensions: 124 mm in diameter x 92 mm in height
Dial: laser engraved
Display: curved hand
Components: 46
Weight: 1.90 kg

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