Time Flies with L’Epée 1839 in 99 bespoke table clocks

L’Epée 1839 – the only prominent clockmaking firm in Switzerland producing high-end complication clocks – has unveiled its bespoke Time Flies collection of aviation-inspired table clocks.

The bespoke collection, in a limited edition of 99 pieces, pays tribute to humankind’s conquest of the skies and one of the most brilliant technological inventions ever created: the aircraft.

1930s’ aircraft

A collaboration between Switzerland-based ECAL and L’Epée 1839, Time Flies is an eight-day table clock in the form of a stylised 1930s’ aircraft and is offered in four different versions.

Each handcrafted Time Flies piece features 390 precision-engineered components.

Time Flies
Time Flies can ‘soar’ for a full eight days before needing ‘refuelling’. Credit: L’Epée 1839

Hours and minutes are displayed on large diameter stainless steel disks with black PVD coating on a circular-brushed satin finish and stamped numerals.

Time read-off is easy, thanks to the excellent legibility of the unique clock’s display, even as the spectacular, skeletonised movement is worthy of deeper contemplation.

Each movement, built specifically for the Time Flies collection, allows the escapement, which regulates precision, to be displayed in the cockpit.

The architecture of the eight-day movement, developed in-house by L’Epée 1839, follows the form of a real aircraft.

Authentic inspiration

As in an aircraft, power is delivered from the front, where the engine is located, and is generated by a fully openworked crown reminiscent of engine cooling radiators located just behind the propeller.

When fully wound, Time Flies can ‘soar’ for a full eight days before needing ‘refuelling’.

An aircraft’s control and instrumentation systems are located within the cockpit; and the same is true for Time Flies, which has a horizontal precision regulator in its cockpit, just above the wings.

The constantly oscillating balance-wheel of the regulator draws the eye, and is protected from curious fingers by a series of small panels forming the cockpit’s cage.

The propeller spins freely at a simple push of the finger. Despite of its airy skeleton, Time Flies weighs a substantial 3kg; its three-wheel landing train providing excellent stability.

Time Flies
Power is generated by an openworked crown reminiscent of engine cooling radiators located behind the propeller. Credit: L’Epée 1839

For a truly sensational display, L’Epée 1839 has developed a mounting stand on which Time Flies can be admired in takeoff position.

L’Epée 1839 enjoys a rich history with the aviation industry, having the unique distinction of being the only horological manufacture to have equipped a commercial supersonic aircraft – the Concord.

When the Concorde began its commercial flights in 1976, L’Epée 1839 fitted the cabins with wall clocks to give passengers the time.

Founded in 1839 by Auguste L’Epée in France’s Besançon region, L’Epée 1839 is currently based in Delémont in the Swiss Jura Mountains.

Exceptional collections

With CEO Arnaud Nicolas at the helm, the atelier today develops an exceptional collection of sophisticated table clocks centred on three themes: creative art, contemporary timepieces, and carriage clocks.

All L’Epée 1839 timekeeping creations are designed and manufactured in-house.

The timekeeping pieces, with their technical prowess, combination of form and function, very long power reserves and remarkable finishes, have become signature features of the exclusive brand.

The École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) is a university of art and design based in Renens, Switzerland.

Internationally renowned in the fields of design, photography, graphic design, film, new technologies and art, ECAL features in the world’s top five art and design schools.

Juliette Lefèvre is a passionate and eclectic designer with ECAL and draws inspiration for her creations from travel and discovery.

The Time Flies collaboration with L’Epée 1839 is Lefèvre’s first design project, and which proved to be a project full of complexity and a highly stimulating challenge.

Time Flies
Time Flies in takeoff position on its mounting stand. Credit: L’Epée 1839

Time Flies: Technical specifications

Dimensions: 354.3mm (length) x 442mm (width) x 137.5mm (height).

Weight: 3kg.

Materials: Palladium or gold-finish brass and stainless steel, or aged and stabilised bronze colour.

Finishes: Alternate microblasted, satin, and polished finishes.

Movement: L’Épée 1839 movement designed and manufactured in-house, multi-level horizontal architecture, eight days power reserve, frequency of the balance-wheel: 2.5Hz/18,000 vibrations/h, 370 components, 22 jewels, Incabloc protection system, stainless steel and brass materials, finishes include polishing, microblasting and satin-finishing, entirely by hand.

Functions: Hours and minutes are displayed on large diameter stainless steel disks with black PVD coating on a circular-brushed satin finish and stamped numerals, manual winding by counterclockwise rotation of the engine’s radiator at the front of the clock, just behind the propeller, time correction by clockwise rotation of the engine’s radiator at the front of the clock, just behind the propeller.

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