Wow, wow, wow, wow…just take a look at this beauty, a new time piece from MB&F and crafted by L’Epée 1839, Switzerland’s only remaining specialised high-end clock manufacture, founded in 1839. Starfleet Machine is an intergalactic spaceship-come-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 the regulator 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 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!
When conceiving Starfleet Machine, MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser set out to boldly go where no clock designer had gone before, and L’Epée has enthusiastically enjoyed the ride. CEO Arnaud Nicolas says: “MB&F’s idea for Starfleet Machine blew my mind. Like Max, I am a big sci-fi fan so when MB&F came to us with the design, we had to accept the challenge. Our team has been really inspired by this piece, and we think others will be too.”
Starfleet Machine is limited to 175 pieces and is available in ‘light’ or ‘dark’ editions, the latter with ruthenium-finished components.
“Starfleet Machine features many of the same mechanisms as a wristwatch, only larger in scale. The prominently featured in-house movement carries a 40 day power reserve, as well as a series of five mainspring barrels. The clock showcases hours and minutes, double retrograde seconds and a power reserve indicator, but only in a way these two creative forces can execute. “About two years ago I went to L’Epée with a gouache image,” explains MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser, who designed the Starfleet Machine with ECAL design graduate Xin Wang. “We basically cut out one of their movements that we found and created a design based on Deep Space Nine around it,” he says. The initial reaction from the craftsmen at L’Epée was of awe and they quickly jumped on the project.
From there, the process of making every detail contribute to functionality began. For example: “We’ve indexed this little radar system on the power reserve system, which turns in 40 days. The enormous balance wheel escape system is indexed on the system seconds. The two cannons that are protecting the heart of the spaceship are actually a double retrograde seconds indicator.”
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