Introducing: The MB&F + L’Epée 1839 Trinity

Introducing: The MB&F + L’Epée 1839 Trinity

Quick Take

The Trinity is the second of what promises to be a trio of objects that MB&F and L’Epée 1839 have designated their “Robocreatures” – half robot, half animal, and the company’s 13th collaboration more broadly. Chances are you probably know of the two-legged T-Rex, the first in the Robocreatures series. 

In the design of the Trinity, we see the number three echoed multiple times: in the creature’s three legs, in the three glass magnifying spheres, and in the three levels of the movement. The clock’s dial also shows the time in three consecutive 12-hour scales, with the minutes marked off in increments of 15. The display completes its turn once every 36 hours, not every 12, allowing the time to be read through any of the spherical mineral glass “eyes” arrayed above the small scale. An example of how the display looks through one such eye can be seen below. L’Epée’s engineers had to calculate the correct balance between the size of the spheres and the distance between the spheres and the display while optimizing legibility and preserving the integrity of the original design. To do that, the spheres, which are suspended from brass arms and held by hands that appear to cradle them, had to be manufactured to within 10 microns.

The idea for the Trinity’s delicate, insect-like design originated with a young designer, Maximilian Maertens, who is also credited with the T-Rex. As with the T-Rex, Maertens found inspiration in the 1993 film Jurrasic Park, the first movie he saw as a child. The infamous amber-trapped mosquito from which pre-historic dinosaur life was revived provided the initial spark, and further inspiration came from the water strider, the spindly-limbed insects that one will sometimes encounter effortlessly skating across pools of still water. “It feels much like a levitating insect walking over the water,” Maertens says, “and this inspired me to create something that looks very delicate.”

The translucent protective body shields, which come in three neon colors, are made from cast acrylic, and it’s through these tinged protectors that one is afforded an unobstructed view of the elaborate eight-day clock mechanism at the heart of the Trinity.

Initial Thoughts

I love that the Trinity’s displays rely on optical glass, and that from a distance, it’s quite possible one wouldn’t have the faintest idea that this is a device for telling time. Coming a bit closer, one might see the three scales of numbers and wonder just what this object is all about. It’s only after looking into one of the spheres that the time jumps out at you. In this way, Trinity figures to be an object capable of drawing someone in from afar before delivering the payoff in terms of the time. While the delicate limbs certainly recall both the water-walking insect and Jurassic Park’s mosquito, the act of peering through the three spheres for the time or through the acrylic shields at the clock movement also feel connected to the fateful mosquito.

While the supplied photos we have here look great, it’s been my experience that interacting with these time-telling objects is an experience that doesn’t fully translate in two-dimensions. It’s difficult to fully grasp the manner in which they rest in space. This is one reason why the M.A.D. Gallery Concept has been so successful.

It’s been said many times that nobody really needs a nice watch, or a watch of any kind for that matter. The time is all around us. This definitely applies to an object such as this Trinity, of course. But I’m glad it exists, and that there are people motivated to make such objects.

The Basics

Brand: The MB&F + L’Epée 1839
Model: Trinity

Body Diameter: 30cm 
Body Height: 26cm
Weight: 2.8kg
Materials: Plated brass, optical mineral glass, fluorescent acrylic shields
Lume: No

The Movement

Caliber: L’Epée 1839 in-house designed and manufactured movement
Functions: Hours and minutes via two concentric dials visible from each of the three optical mineral glass spheres. Dials make one full rotation in 36 hours.
Power Reserve: Eight days
Winding: Manual-winding via double-ended key to set time and wind the movement
Frequency: 18,000 vph
Jewels: 21

Pricing & Availability

Price: CHF 22,500 + VAT (approximately $ 25,000 + tax)
Limited Edition: 50 pieces each in neon blue, neon red, and neon green

For more, visit MB&F.

HODINKEE

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