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Introducing: The MB&F + L’Epee 1839 Starfleet Explorer

MB&F keeps us expecting the unexpected.

May 28, 2020
By: Logan Hannen

MB&F keeps us expecting the unexpected. Whether it’s a watch inspired by the design of a race car dashboard or a robot that just happens to tell the time, the brand has been among the modern avant-garde since its inception. And now, the new MB&F + L’Epee 1839 Starfleet Explorer, a new Co-Collaboration, once again transforms the way we tell the time.


But First

The MB&F HM10
Source: MB&F

Max Busser and Friends, aka MB&F, was founded in 2005 by Maximillian Busser, a former Jaeger-LeCoultre employee and holder of a Master’s Degree in Micro-Technology Engineering, after a stint as the managing director of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces. His goal, then, was to create the ultimate brand focused on horological innovation. Based on watches such as the HM10, it’s safe to say he’s come as close as anyone is likely to get.

L’Epee 1839 is a manufacturer of timepieces founded, as the name would suggest, in 1839 in France. The company originally focused on the production of watch components and music boxes, though now they’ve shifted their primary focus to table clocks. They manufacture all of their movements and other components in-house.



Source: MB&F

Case Diameter: 16.5 cm
Case Height: 11 cm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Movement: L’Epee 1893 In-House Caliber

Unlike most of the timekeeping devices we see on the market, the specs involved in the Starfleet Explorer are pretty unique. Because what we have is, as described by the brand, a “starship-cum-table clock crafted by L’Epee,” we lack some of the more traditional specifications like straps and water resistance. We do, however, have a case diameter of 16.5 centimeters, with a height of 11 centimeters, made entirely of stainless steel and available with a few different colored accents (including red and green).

The watch is powered by an L’Epee in-house caliber with 11 jewels and an 8-day power reserve, which makes sense given both the size of the movement and the function of the piece as a table clock, rather than a wristwatch. And while the design is clearly, like so many of MB&F’s Co-Creations pieces, inspired by science fiction and space, the thing still needs to tell the time. So how does it achieve that?

Source: MB&F

Using the photo above as a reference, we see two discs with Arabic numerals written on them, and two long, in this case red, apertures with looped sections. Those red apertures are how the time is read. The top, curved disc is for the minutes, and this domed section completes one rotation every hour, leaving the red section fixed in place. Whatever number is located in the looped portion of the red “hand” (for lack of a better term) is your minute indication. For hours, it isn’t the lower disc that rotates, but the red hand that loops over it, again moving to indicate the hour via whichever number is displayed in the loop of the hand.

While this sounds complex, in execution it’s pretty simple once you get the hand of reading time a bit differently. And even then, it ends up not being all that different.


The Damage
Limited to 99 Pieces, the MB&F + L’Epee 1839 Starfleet Explorer retails for CHF 9,900.


The Take
In recent years, we’ve seen some evidence to suggest that the desk clock could be on the verge of making a comeback. It’s certainly an exciting time, then, to be one of the brands helping to spearhead this return of an old form of horology, especially in such a forward thinking fashion.

While MB&F is an independent brand, a manufacturer for people deep in their passion for watches, it is still one of the more popular independents. But instead of slowing their development and leveraging their brand notoriety to move product, they continue to build. Their ability and insistence to continue to churn out unique and truly innovative products, like this Starfleet Explorer, is extremely commendable. And year after year, the world laps up these weird machines, because they are a breath of fresh air in an often static space.

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