MB&F has perennially surprised us with their creations, both for the wrist and for the table top. This year at Basel is no different, with the introduction of the Starfleet Machine, a deep-space inspired table clock engineered by L'Epée 1839. Switzerland based L'Epée 1839 is the country's oldest high-end clock manufacture, and perfect partner for MB&F's contemporary artistic sensibilities. The sci-fi influences are clear from the onset, and the execution of the in-house movement integration pays respect to that theme as well as classic clock-making technique.
The Starfleet Machine is suspended within a steel c-shaped ring, held up by 3 supporting arcs eluding the starship nature of the design. In the middle is a large aluminum dome beset with hour and minute tracks, which are read by rotating hands that follow the curvature of the dome. Underneath the dome, front and center is a visible escapement, being "guarded?by double retrograde seconds in the form of "turret-mounted laser cannons? They contract over the course of 20 seconds before dramatically expanding again. Behind the dome is a second, smaller dome displaying the 40 day power reserve, flanked by a revolving radar dish.
The dramatic structure was designed by MB&F, but engineered and built by the master clock-makers at L'Epée. For 175 years the company has been manufacturing high-end clocks comprised of hand made components. They specialize in 'platform?escapements, creating regulators especially for alarm clocks, table clocks and musical watches. Now located in the Jura mountains, the Swiss company maintains a substantial collection of classic and contemporary table clocks.
The Starfleet Machine features L'Epée's own caliber, with 5 mainspring barrels arranged horizontally. This provided the biggest challenge of production, considering these barrels, along with the escapement platform are normally mounted vertically. Winding and setting is done on the underside of the movement, requiring the entire structure to be turned on its head. Once set, it'll be good to run for 40 days with +/- 2 minutes of accuracy during that period.
The Starfleet Machine is limited to 175 pieces to honor the number of years that L'Epée has been operating. It will come in both light and dark editions, the latter featuring ruthenium-treated stainless steel. They are both priced at 28,000 CHF and will be available this year to collectors.
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