Chances are when you hear the phrase ‘table clock’ you don’t think ‘awesome kinetic sculpture.’ That’s because you’ve never seen the Starfleet Machine.
The Starfleet Machine
The result of a unique collaboration between the innovative Creative Lab MB&F and Swiss clockmaker L’Epée to celebrate the latter’s 175th year anniversary, the new Starfleet Machine is unlike any clock you’ve seen before.
Conceived and designed by MB&F, the Starfleet Machine exhibits many of the brands trademark characteristics, not least of which is its fascination with sci-fi. In fact you could be forgiven for thinking there is a miniature spaceship sitting in front of you instead of a clock.
The first thing to strike me was the unusual, sculpture like assembly that the movement is housed in. Looking from the top-down there are two distinct C-shaped structures, an inner one and an outer one, both beautifully machined.
Three legs, also referred to as landing gear, support the outer C, giving the whole piece a wonderful three-dimensional feel. As you can see in the photos the Starfleet Machine can rest comfortably on either end of these legs, which is useful for when you turn it over to wind the mainspring and set the time.
Look at the Starfleet Machine front on however and it takes on a completely different form. All of a sudden the familiar shape of brand’s iconic battle-axe motif becomes visible, giving the clock a more aggressive, space invader type appearance.
Described by MB&F as an intergalactic spaceship-cum-table clock the Starfleet Machine features hours and minutes displays, double retrograde seconds and a power reserve indicator.
The hours and minutes are indicated on the central black dome by hand-polished hands that follow the dome’s curved contours. The style is reminiscent of MB&F’s popular HM3 Frog timepiece collection.
Behind that, a smaller rotating dome, accompanied by a revolving radar dish, displays the remaining power reserve. Impressively the in-house movement boasts an exceptional power reserve of 40 days (compared to the 8-day standard most table clocks offer). Five bars indicates the movement is fully wound (40 days of power) whilst one bar means the Starfleet Machine is starting to run low on fuel (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. It’s fun to watch and really adds to the whole ‘spaceship’ feel of the clock.
The palladium-treated brass movement was designed and manufactured completely in-house at L’Epée’s Swiss atelier. As you can see the gears and mainspring barrels are on full display thanks to the skeletonized mainplate and the aforementioned concentric C-shaped external structure.
The main structure is approximately 29cm in diameter and about 21cm high, making it perfectly suited to a tabletop or mantelpiece location. There will be two options available: a ‘Light’ version and a ‘Dark’ version, both of which are constructed in stainless steel. The steel in the latter version however has been treated with ruthenium.
Not pictured is the transparent ‘biosphere’ dome that will accompany each Starfleet Machine. This specially designed cover fits snugly over the structure to protect it from potential environmental hazards incompatible with high-end clocks: dust and curious fingers!
The dome is made in polished Plexiglas which, given its smooth profile and handle-free form, makes it light and easily removable when turning the clock over for time setting and winding.
Given that the Starfleet Machine has been created to celebrate L’Epée’s 175th Anniversary it seems fitting that only 175 pieces will be available, each retailing for 28,000CHF + tax (approx. US$31,500 + tax).
Check out MB&F’s website for more.