As its own destination, the MB&F M.A.D. Gallery in Geneva is always a treat to visit. Lively ‘kinetic’ art, shiny metallic sculpture, robots and even a few very unusual timepieces await anyone who ventures to the Gallery in Geneva’s old town. And of course now there are two more such destinations now that Max Busser and Friends has opened a M.A.D. Gallery in Dubai and in Taipei.
These new hot spots exist largely because Busser and many of his sci-fi-enamored Friends in their youth looked to one day fly in a rocket ship to one particular destination over all others: the Moon. Myriad stories, written, filmed or related in graphic form, inevitably featured fanciful, highly streamlined spacecraft meant to transport earthlings to the Moon (or possibly to Mars).
Disappointed at the mundane cylinders that have defined so many genuine rockets in the decades since those imaginary crafts of the 1960s, Busser and his Friends at frequent collaborator L’Epée 1839 this year at Baselworld launched their own rocket.
Called Destination Moon, the MB&F horological rocket stands about sixteen inches tall and features an engine developed by L’Epée to mimic the basic design of a real spaceship, or at least to look like a spaceship imagined by a youth in the 1960s.
The concept originated with L’Epée movement designer and sci-fi rocket fan Nicolas Bringuet, who came up with the idea for the movement's distinctive vertical architecture. To mine childhood fantasies just a bit further, L’Epee even made the movement’s horizontal circular plates perforated just as components in a Meccano set (similar to an Erector set), according to MB&F.
The movement is made of more than 237 components with a lateral balance wheel and escapement, all in motion to display hours and minutes on two revolving rings. A small panel of clear mineral glass protects the impressively large regulator, with its 18,000-vph balance.
Destination Moon’s clock is powered when the owner winds what is essentially an oversized crown, which MB&F calls a thruster, at the rocket’s base, delivering eight days of power reserve. Another crown at the top of the mechanism allows to the owner to quickly set the time. MB&F has even created a steel and silver astronaut, appropriately named Neil, who can be removed or placed back on the ladder thanks to an integrated magnet.
Destination Moon is heavy, weighing nearly nine pounds, so that it will be a chore to tip it over too easily.
The new rocket is MB&F’s tenth co-creation in the past five years. Recall that the firm made three music boxes with Reuge, an Astrograph pen created with Caran d’Ache last year and five previous table clocks created with Swiss-based L’Epée 1839.
The Destination Moon horological rocket is available in four limited editions of fifty pieces each in black, green, and blue PVD, plus palladium (silver). Price: 19,900 Swiss francs (about $20,000).
Click here to watch Destination Moon in action.
Specifications: MB&F Destination Moon
Hour and minute indications stamped on rotating stainless steel discs
Dimensions: 16.3 inches (height) x 9.2 inches (diameter)
Weight: 4.0 kg (about 9 lbs.)
Frame: satin-finished stainless steel
Landing pods: palladium-plated brass, with PVD coating for the blue, green and black editions
Total components (including movement): 237
Neil (astronaut figurine)
Solid polished silver with stainless steel helmet; attached magnetically to boarding ladder.
Designed and manufactured in-house by L’Epée 1839
Multi-stage vertical architecture
Balance frequency: 2.5 Hz / 18,000 bph
Power reserve: eight days from single barrel
Movement components: 164
Incabloc shock protection system protected by mineral glass
Materials: palladium-plated brass, stainless steel and nickel-plated stainless steel
Movement finishing: polishing, bead-blasting and satin finishing
Winding: manual winding by rotating the propulsion wheel at the base of the rocket
Setting: time-setting knob at the top of the movement, above the indication rings