Melchior is one of MB&F’s 10th Anniversary Pieces, presented in 2015 under the theme:”A creative adult is a child who survived”. Created with L’Epée 1839, Switzerland's only specialised high-end clock manufacture, Melchior is not only an impressive kinetic robot which may remind you of your childhood dreams, but also an impeccably finished, 480-component mechanical table clock.
Indeed, with his smart steel and brass armour, enigmatic glint in his eyes, animated brain and muscular, articulated arms, Melchior is the robot buddy you would want by your side while trying to thwart Darth Vader. But look again and you will see Melchior is a majestic high-end table clock featuring ‘slow’ jumping hours, sweeping minutes, double retrograde seconds eyes and an impressive 40-day power reserve; a tribute to the most refined classic clock and watchmaking.
The clock regulator’s gentle beating and intricate composition are made visible thanks to its polished glass dome cover. If the protective dome acts like a skull, then the regulator symbolises Melchior’s brain at work; just as the brain governs the body, the regulator governs the clock’s remarkable precision. The retrograde action of Melchior’s expressive eyes marks off intervals of 20 seconds, endowing the robot with a hint of endearing human-like personality.
Christening this roboclock ‘Melchior’ – after a traditional forename in his family – Maximilian Büsser developed the concept with designer Xin Wang, selecting a high-end L’Epée clock movement and reimagining it as the mechanical head and torso of a robot. And of course a true robot companion is one you can play with: Melchior’s steel upper arms rotate and his lower arms pivot up or down – excellent manoeuvrability for aiming his rocket launcher and Gatling gun. In a neat design touch, his left arm detaches and doubles as the winding/setting key for the movement.
Melchior is limited to 99 pieces and is available in a monochromatic ‘light’ edition or a two-tone ‘dark and light’ edition featuring black PVD-treated components. The 100th and final piece in the Melchior series is a piece unique: Melchior ‘Only Watch’, created especially for the biennial charity auction to raise money for research on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This unique piece is clothed in palladium-plated brass and steel with bright red shoulder pads.
For over 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.
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 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.
MELCHIOR ‘LIGHT’ EDITION
STAINLESS STEEL AND BRASS
MELCHIOR ‘DARK AND LIGHT’ EDITION
STAINLESS STEEL AND BRASS, BLACK PVD-TREATED COMPONENTS
MELCHIOR ‘ONLY WATCH’
STAINLESS STEEL AND BRASS
WITH BRIGHT RED ANODISED ALUMINIUM SHOULDER PADS
UNIQUE PIECE FOR ONLY WATCH 2015
Melchior is limited to 99 pieces and is available in a monochromatic ‘light’ edition or a two-tone ‘dark and light’ edition featuring black PVD-treated components. The 100th and final piece in the Melchior series is the unique piece Melchior ‘Only Watch’, created especially for the biennial charity auction. This unique piece is clothed in palladium-plated brass and steel with bright red shoulder pads.