Starfleet Machine L’EPEE 1839 – to boldly go where no clock designer had gone before

L’epée Starfleet Machine – the high-end table clock, but not as we know it!


Switzerland’s only remaining specialised high-end clock manufacture L’Epée 1839 & award-winning luxury Swiss watch manufacturer MB&F continue to explore strange new horological worlds inspired by the image of Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk. One of the latest creation is The Starfleet Machine, a manually wound machine suggesting a remote space station, featuring hours and minutes, double retrograde seconds and power reserve indicator. The highly visible movement boasts an exceptional power reserve of 40 days.

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) – it’s all relative – most table clocks have a maximum power reserve of only eight days.

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 (in series for optimal performance) – 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.

Every component (except the 48 jewels) of the superlatively finished palladium-treated brass movement is designed and manufactured at L’Epée’s Swiss atelier. The gears and mainspring barrels are on full display thanks to the skeletonised mainplate and concentric C-shaped external structure in stainless steel. Starfleet Machine can rest on both ends of its vertical landing gear; useful for when you turn it over to wind the mainspring and set the time.

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,” said CEO Arnaud Nicolas.

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