MB&F Starfleet Explorer Is Out Of This World A fine successor to the original Starfleet Machine by Rob Nudds May 13, 2020 MIN READMB&F Starfleet Explorer Is Out Of This World
Concept laboratory MB&F has been working with legendary clockmaker L’Epeée 1839 for several years now. Their collaborations are always interesting. Perhaps the rarity of desk clocks in the modern world makes them even more so. These are not just remarkable sculptures capable of displaying the time, but they are also futuristic anachronisms designed to mess with our heads. The new Starfleet Explorer is no exception…
What year is this? Whenever I look at an MB&F desk clock I ask myself the same question. On one hand, it looks like something from the set of the latest Star Trek movie. On the other, however, it is a desk clock. And who the heck has a desk clock these days?
Well, it would seem the answer is those who like and appreciate desk clocks. Come to think of it, perhaps I do too and I never really noticed before. But while I may be about to buy myself a nice, retro Seiko tabletop ticker to scratch that suddenly advancing itch, the very top of the desk clock tree remains unfathomably out of reach for many.
The Starfleet Explorer
The MB&F × L’Epée 1839 follows the original Starfleet Machine six years after it first hit the market. This iteration is reduced in size and brought to life by flashes of color, used to highlight the time. I can’t look at this series of clocks without thinking of DS9. And the name hardly helps prevent the exploits of Ben Sisko and co. from my invading my thoughts while I’m trying to write a serious article. As long as I can keep my mind off Jadzia Dax I might have a shot at finishing this in one sitting. Uh oh…
Ahem. Anyway, the colored loops used to indicate the time are joined by three color-matched spacecraft orbiting the station every five minutes. This is a touch I really like. If I were to invest a great deal in a desk clock, its animation would be key to my decision. Constant, relaxing movement is a must for this kind of curio to muscle its way onto my wishlist. Thankfully, the MB&F Starfleet Explorer does not disappoint on this front, and it has fine technical credentials to boot.
This clock is mostly movement. That’s what you’re paying for. That’s what you’ll spend the majority of your time with this timepiece marveling over. It is a thing of beauty. Additionally, it is a highly refined mechanism offering an eight-day run time from a full wind. You can wind this mechanism manually using a double-ended key that can also be used to set the time.
…increased prominence and visibility means they have to be all the more exact.
Stainless steel and palladium-plated brass components comprise the caliber created by L’Epée 1839. A vertically-orientated escapement (2.5Hz) offers a full view of the mechanism’s beating heart. It is simple but refined. Elegant and edgy. It is, in short, a fitting expression of both companies’ specializations.
Although one might assume that making components bigger (as one does when it comes to clock as opposed to watchmaking) would make finishing them to a high standard easier. Regrettably, this is not always the case. While the finishing techniques may well be less fiddly to apply, their increased prominence and visibility means they have to be all the more exact. L’Epée is an industry leader in this regard and its experience shows on pieces like the Starfleet Explorer.
The clock itself
Instead of traditional hands, the Starfleet Explorer employs “anodized apertures” to display the time. The hours and the minutes are displayed differently. On the top layer, we find a rotating minutes disk. The minutes are displayed through the fixed aperture that reaches the top level. The hour aperture, however, moves, and will complete a full rotation of the clock every 12 hours.
…a complex structure composed of 19 separate parts.
The Starfleet Explorer stands 11cm tall with a diameter of 16.5cm. Surrounding the movement is a complex structure composed of 19 separate parts. These aesthetic elements are crafted from stainless steel, while the three decorative spacecraft are realized in a hand-lacquered polymer. There will be 99 pieces of each color available. To learn more, visit the official MB&F website here and the homepage of L’Epée here.
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About the author
Rob’s first exposure to the watch industry was a part-time retail role for the Signet Group at the age of 17. An obsession with watches soon developed. Following an ill-advised BSc in Archaeological Science, he applied for sponsorship to undertake… read more
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