This site uses cookies to help us customise your experience. Learn more about our Cookie Notice.

Balthazar

L’ÉPÉE 1839

For 175 years, L'Epée has been at the forefront of watch and clock making. Today, it is the only specialised manufacture in Switzerland dedicated to making high-end clocks. L'Epée was founded in 1839, initially to make music box and watch components, by Auguste L’Epée who set up the business near Besançon, France. The L’Epée hallmark was that all parts were made entirely by hand.

From 1850 onwards, the manufacture became a leading light in the production of ‘platform’ escapements, creating regulators especially for alarm clocks, table clocks and musical watches. By 1877, it was making 24,000 platform escapements annually. The manufacture became a well-known specialist owning a large number of patents on special escapements such as anti-knocking, auto-starting and constant-force escapements and the chief supplier of escapements to several celebrated watchmakers of the day. L'Epée has won a number of gold awards at International Exhibitions.

Starfleet Machine

During the 20th century, L'Epée owed much of its reputation to its superlative carriage clocks and, for many, L'Epée was the clock of the influential and powerful; it was also the gift of choice by French government officials to elite guests. In 1976 when the Concorde supersonic aircraft entered commercial service, L'Epée wall clocks were chosen to furnish the cabins, providing passengers with visual feedback of the time. In 1994, L'Epée showed its thirst for a challenge when it built the world's biggest clock with compensated pendulum, the Giant Regulator. At 2.2m high, it weighs 1.2 tons – the mechanical movement alone weighs 120kg – and required 2,800 man-hours of work.

L’Epée clocks feature complications including retrograde seconds, power reserve indicators, perpetual calendars, tourbillons and striking mechanisms

L'Epée is now based in Delémont in the Swiss Jura Mountains. Under the guidance of CEO Arnaud Nicolas, L’Epée 1839 has developed an exceptional table clock collection, encompassing a range of sophisticated classic carriage clocks, contemporary design clocks (Le Duel) and avant-garde, minimalist clocks (La Tour). L’Epée clocks feature complications including retrograde seconds, power reserve indicators, perpetual calendars, tourbillons and striking mechanisms – all designed and manufactured in-house. Ultra-long power reserves have become a signature of the brand as well as superlative fine finishing.

TriPod

TriPod comprises a minimalist clock face suspended between three delicate insect-like legs. It follows the mighty T-Rex in what will become a trilogy of half animal/half robot creations that MB&F calls Robocreatures.

TriPod’s name originates in the trios that inform it: three legs, three insect-eye spheres, and three movement levels comprising the creature’s mechanical body. Also, TriPod is the second in a group of three clocks set to form a trio. MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser describes Robocreatures; “In the same way that H.R. Giger created his Alien universe, we’re creating our own world of creatures”.

Robocreatures could well be future time capsules, fossilised “life” from a prehistoric era. With TriPod, Berlin-based designer Maximilian Maertens, L’Épée CEO Arnaud Nicolas, and Büsser lead us into a horological post-modern prehistoric era.

TriPod features three delicate legs supporting a colourful body, three insect-eye spheres made of precision lens-quality glass, and a clock dial making one full revolution in 36 hours that indicates three sets of hours and minutes. Underneath the dial is a 182-component three-dimensional sculptural movement crafted on three levels by L’Épée 1839 with a vertical balance slowly beating at a traditional 2.5Hz (18,000vph). Time-setting and winding are by key, and when fully wound the movement offers a generous eight-day power reserve.

TriPod launches in three limited editions of 50 pieces each in neon blue, neon green, and neon red.

TriPod

STARFLEET EXPLORER

Six years after the launch of the Starfleet Machine, the first clock co-created by MB&F and L'Epée 1839, the horological space station returns in 2020. Designed by MB&F, the Starfleet Explorer is an intergalactic spaceship-cum-table clock crafted by l’Epée.

This new version returns in a more compact size and enhanced with bright colours, accompanied by a fleet of three small spacecraft exploring the universe; it rightfully bears the name of Starfleet Explorer. The three tiny spacecraft lined up along the same axis are placed inside the actual Starfleet movement, the heart of the mechanism, around which they revolve at a rate of one full turn every five minutes: a space exploration guided by the mothership.

Time can be read off when the minutes, on a revolving radar dish, appear through the centre of a fixed metal aperture, satin-brushed by hand and anodised, that follows the dome’s curved contours.

The hour hand – enhanced with bright colours, likewise satin-brushed and anodised – indicates the hour by spinning in its place and performing a complete rotation in 12 hours.

The Starfleet Explorer can rest on both ends of its vertical landing gear; a useful feature when turning it over to wind the mainspring and set the time. It can also be leant sideways to offer a different view of the intergalactic horological station.

Starfleet Explorer is available in 3 limited editions of 99 pieces each in red, green and blue.

Starfleet Explorer

For more information, please visit MB&F's website

buy

Grant

Co-created by MB&F and L’Epée 1839, Grant is a robot with a time display on his shield – and a mission to slow things down, when time runs too fast.

While Grant’s time moves relatively slowly, he can travel quickly over rough terrain (or the messiest desk) on his three operational rubber tracks. Grant can also transform into one of three different modes: lying horizontally over his chassis for a low profile; crouching at 45 degrees; and sitting up 90 degrees. Grant’s time shield can always be set to a comfortable and optimal viewing angle. Whatever the angle, Grant’s highly polished clockwork is on full display, and you can follow every click and turn of the gears. The isochronal oscillations of the regulator keeping time in Grant’s glass-domed ‘brain’ are evidence of the clockwork’s high precision.

Grant's 8-day, in-line manufacture movement features the same superlative fine finishing as found on the finest wristwatches: Geneva waves, anglage, polishing, sandblasting, plus circular and vertical satin finishing.

For more information, please visit MB&F's website

Octopod
Price: HK$189,000

Octopod

Octopod continues MB&F's exploration of aquatic themes with an eight-leg, eight-day clock inspired by cephalopods, marine chronometers and The Abyss – blending contemporary design with kinetic sculpture and a transparent sphere filled with precision horology.

Conceived by MB&F and built by L’Epée 1839, Octopod stands or crouches thanks to its eight articulated legs. However, the real horological magic and mystery take place in Octopod's completely transparent spherical 'head'.

Octopod

The first thing to notice is that Octopod's transparent sphere is gimballed in a similar way to how traditional ship chronometers were gimballed although on one axis rather than two.

The second thing is the pulsating escapement, which regulates the clock's precision, located on its minute hand rather than the more usual position attached to stationary movement plates.

And thirdly, there's the mystery of how Octopod's clockwork is suspended inside its crystalline sphere, so that it appears to be floating in space or water. Like an octopus concealing parts of itself with camouflage, Octopod conceals parts of itself with visual tricks of its own.

Octopod is available in 3 limited editions of 50 pieces each in black PVD, blue PVD, and palladium (silver).

Price: HK$298,000

For more information, please visit MB&F's website

Destination Moon

Conceived by MB&F and built by L’Epée 1839, Destination Moon is the quintessential torpedo-shaped rocket of childhood dreams. But look more closely and you will see that its minimalistic form is evocative rather than definitive.

Developed specifically for Destination Moon, the architecture of L’Epée’s eight-day movement follows the basic design of a real spaceship. Power in a rocket comes from its base; the power for Destination Moon comes from the oversized winding crown in its base.

Destination Moon

Hours and minutes are displayed on large diameter stainless steel discs with stamped numerals. While the legibility of the time display is not in question, focusing on the time rather than the spectacular, vertically-structured, open movement is likely to require deep concentration.

And then there's Neil: a smile-inducing, space-suited figurine forged in solid silver and stainless steel, magnetically attached to the ladder connecting the crown to the movement. Neil is the astronaut flying Destination Moon to exotic worlds, but more importantly, Neil imparts a childlike sense of wonder by putting man into the machine.

Destination Moon is available in 4 limited editions of 50 pieces each in black, green, and blue PVD, plus palladium (silver).

Price: HK$169,000

For more information, please visit MB&F's website

MEDUSA

Medusa is a dual-configuration clock, housed in hand-blown Murano glass, that can be ceiling mounted or stood upon a desk. It is the 10th collaboration between Switzerland’s premier clockmaker, L’Épée 1839 and MB&F.

The central mass of Medusa is formed by a large transparent dome of hand-blown Murano glass that evokes the bell-shaped body of a mature jellyfish. Two rotating rings, one displaying the hours and the other displaying the minutes, are visible through the dome, and time is read off a single fixed indicator that extends over the rings. Like a jellyfish glowing in the abyss, Medusa glows in the dark thanks to Super-LumiNova.

Medusa

A movement beats underneath the time indication, forming the pulsating heart of this mechanical creature. L’Épée went back to the drawing board for Medusa, designing the movement entirely from scratch and like most MB&F + L’Épée creations, Medusa was not designed with the current limits of technique in mind. Instead, technique was developed to accommodate its design.

Medusa is a dual-configuration clock: it can be hung to the ceiling with its glass tentacles thanks to the special mounting system, or stood upon a desk thanks to a metal frame with curved legs.

Medusa is available in 3 limited editions of 50 each with green, blue or pink Murano hand-blown glass dome and tentacles.

T-REX

T-Rex is a minimalist clock-face of Murano glass and steel. It is the 11th collaboration between MB&F and Switzerland’s premier clockmaker L’Épée 1839.

A minimalist clock-face of Murano glass and steel, suspended between two jointed legs that end in taloned feet — T-Rex bears slight physical resemblance to the eponymous king of beasts. The name owes more to the aspects of design that reveal themselves to the close observer, such as the confluence of power and presence conveyed in the taut limbs. The literal time capsule formed by the spherical, skeletonised body is a subliminal yet insistent allusion to the fossilised bones that contain all we know of a prehistoric era.

T-Rex

Two slim steel hands arch outwards from the centre of the Murano glass dial, indicating the hours and minutes. Behind the dial is a 138-component movement by L’Épée 1839, crowned by a balance beating at the rate of 2.5Hz (18,000bph) with a maximum power reserve of eight days.

Those with an affinity for the metaphorical will see a memento mori of sorts in T-Rex, and not just in its invocation of a long-extinct animal. T-Rex is a clock with legs — and pretty fast-looking legs at that! — saying time can run away from us all. Better act quickly, while you can. Live life, make art.

T-Rex is available in 3 limited editions of 100 pieces with green, deep blue or red Murano glass dials.

For more information, please visit MB&F's website

buy

Balthazar

“Balthazar by L’Epée 1839 for MB&F is a sophisticated and imposing high-precision robot clock composed of 618 beautifully finished, micro-engineered components.

But beware... Balthazar hides two sides, as there are in all of us.

Boasting a month-busting 35 days of power reserve, Balthazar’s clockwork displays “slow” jumping hours and trailing minutes via two discs on the chest, while the power reserve indicator is located on his belly. His red eyes, which continually scan the surroundings, are actually 20-second retrograde displays.

Balthazar

Rotate his torso 180 degrees and the absolute nature of Balthazar’s darkness is revealed by the cold hard skull with menacing teeth and deep-set ruby-red eyes. But it’s not all threat here as Balthazar’s chest also contains a dual hemisphere moon phase that should help you anticipate the evolutions of your mood.

Moving higher still to Balthazar’s “brain” under the polished glass dome, we find the precision regulator of the clockwork. Finally Balthazar does more than display horological events: as well as rotating around the hips, his arms articulate at both the shoulders and the elbows, and his hands can clasp and hold objects.

Balthazar is available in limited editions of 50 pieces per colour in black, silver, blue or green armour.

For more information, please visit MB&F's website

Sherman

Sherman’s a cute little robot, but to be frank, he doesn't do very much.

Sherman doesn't walk, talk, weld cars, or roam Mars. He doesn't try to kill Sarah Connor, help Luke Skywalker, warn Will Robinson, vacuum the floor, star in feature-length films, or enforce the law.

In fact, Sherman really only does two things, but he does both extremely well.

Sherman tells the time. And Sherman makes people smile, which is probably the world's most useful and (emotionally) valuable complication. That's a superpower!

Conceived and developed by MB&F and engineered and crafted by L’Epée 1839 – Switzerland's only specialised high-end clock manufacture – Sherman is the result of Maximilian Büsser’s on-going quest to revisit his childhood, during which he hankered for a robot friend.

Sherman's mechanics are based on a L'Epée 1839 in-line eight-day movement, which ensures that the friendly tank-treaded table clock can display the correct time on his chest for more than a week before requiring rewinding.

Sherman’s mainspring barrel bridge extends down to support his tracks, movement spacers act as shoulders for the arms, and his eyes are bolt heads supporting the regulator. The movement plates and bridges of the clock also make up the skeleton and body of the robot. The transparent dome on Sherman's head reveals his mechanical brain, which is actually the regulator controlling the precision of the robot's time. Sherman's arms can be manipulated into nearly any configuration, and his hands can be used to hold items. And while Sherman doesn't walk, his rubber caterpillar tracks are fully functional and, with a little help from a friend, he can roll over the rugged terrain of a typical office desk.

But as cool as Sherman's robotic and horological accomplishments are, they pale in comparison with his emotional superpower of spreading happiness wherever he goes.

For more information, please visit MB&F's website

Sherman Sherman

Sherman is launched in limited editions of:

Starfleet Machine

Starfleet Machine by L’Epée 1839 for MB&F is an intergalactic spaceship-cum-table clock, featuring hours and minutes, double retrograde seconds and power reserve indicator.

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 the regulator has deliberately been placed in full view for all to admire.

One of the biggest challenges for L’Epée 1839 was respecting the movement configuration required by MB&F’s spacecraft design. L’Epée’s calibre – featuring five main spring barrels 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, an impressive accuracy of -2 to +2 minutes over 40 days!

For more information, please visit MB&F's website

Starfleet Machine

Starfleet Machine is limited to 175 pieces in ‘light’ or ‘dark’ editions.

Starfleet Machine Chocolate Edition Starfleet Machine – Chocolate Edition
  • Starfleet Machine Chocolate, Light or Dark
Starfleet Machine Black Badger Edition Starfleet Machine – Black Badger Edition
  • Limited edition of 3 x 18 pieces in palladium-plated brass, with Black Badger lume in Radar Green, Phantom Blue, or Purple Reign

Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia by L’Epée 1839 for MB&F, is as extreme as they come, but the eye-catching three-dimensional sculpture is also an impeccably finished table (and wall) clock that tells the time using two hands supported by eight legs.

Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia was inspired by a giant monumental spider sculpture called Maman created by Louise Bougeois (1911 - 2010), which has been installed around the world.

The body is outfitted with a black dome with white numerals depicting the hours and minutes. The head houses the regulator with its oscillating balance wheel (and a set of jaws in case it gets peckish at night), while the other end contains the mainspring barrel, which powers the movement.

For more information, please visit MB&F's website

The eight legs are connected to the clock "body" by ball-and-socket joints. By rotating them the legs can be made to go flat, turning them around again allows them to stand up high like the Bourgeois sculpture that inspired them. The front legs can also be made to go flat while the six others maintain the standing position (warning: this position looks a little menacing).

While Arachnophobia is not nearly as large as the sculpture that inspired it – which from a distance does not look dissimilar to something that could have come from War of the Worlds – at 405 mm in diameter with the legs fully extended, or hanging on a wall, it is certainly large enough to make a real impression. Though whether that impression is positive or negative depends on how much you enjoy creepy-crawlies.

Arachnophobia is available in black or 18k gold-plated editions.