Performance art - Starfleet/Machine

Performance art - Starfleet/Machine

 
 

About

Starfleet Machine is engineered and crafted by L’Epée 1839, Switzerland's only remaining specialised high-end clock manufacture, founded in 1839. Starfleet Machine is an intergalactic spaceship-cum-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.

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L'Épée 1939

The premier clock manufacture in Switzerland

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.

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.

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collection

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50.6801/101
STARFLEET MACHINE ‘Light’ edition
Stainless steel and brass
LIMITED EDITION

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50.6801/201
STARFLEET MACHINE ‘Dark’ edition
Stainless steel and brass
LIMITED EDITION

specs & manual

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  • view manual

Starfleet Machine is limited to 175 pieces and is available in ‘light’ or ‘dark’ editions, the latter with ruthenium-finished components.

Display

  • Hours and minutes: Curved, hand-polished hands rotate to indicating hours and minutes on a polished, central dome. The dome features MB&F's signature numerals.
  • Retrograde seconds: 20-second intervals indicated by double retrograde fly-out cannons emanating from central dome.
  • Power reserve indicator: a dome indicator, framed by a hand finished arc, provides an intuitive view of remaining energy as it turns 270°: 5 bars, 4 bars, 3 bars, 2 bars, 1 bar (1 bar = 8 days). Complemented by a 'radar dish' that also revolves 270°.

Main structure

  • Height: approx. 21cm
  • Diameter: approx. 29cm
  • ‘Light’ version:
    Inner C-shaped structure, external C-shaped structure, support arcs and screws:
    all in stainless steel
  • ‘Dark’ version:
    Inner C-shaped structure, external C-shaped structure and support arcs:
    ruthenium-treated stainless steel
    Screws in stainless steel

Transparent ‘biosphere' dome

  • Material: polished glass
  • Height: 27cm
  • Maximum diameter: 31,5cm

Movement

  • L’EPÉE in-house designed and manufactured movement
    Balance frequency: 18,000 vph / 2.5Hz
    Barrels: 5 in series
    Power reserve: 40 days
    Jewels: 48
    Incabloc shock protection system
    Manual-winding: Double-ended key to set time and wind movement
  • ‘Light’ version:
    Mechanism and main plate in palladium-treated brass
  • ‘Dark’ version:
    Mechanism in palladium-treated brass
    Main plate in ruthenium-treated brass

Click here to download the manual in pdf format.