MB&F - MB&F + L’Epée 1839 : Grant
MB&F - MB&F + L’Epée 1839 : Grant

MB&F + L’Epée 1839 : Grant

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MB&F + L’Epée 1839 : Grant

‘Grant’
Transformer Time

MB&F and L’Epée 1839present Grant, a triple-tracked, Mad-Max-cross-Transformer robot clock on a mission. In today’s fast-paced, always-on, 24/7 world, we are under constant bombardment from time: seconds race by; there is never enough; everyone wants more; and  it keeps getting faster and faster. The nearest hour was once precise enough; now the world’s most accurate clocks are better than a second over the entire age of the universe!

No wonder you are stressed, but relax, help is at hand. Grant is here. Grendizer meets Mad Max meetsTransformer.

Grant is a robot with a time display on his shield and a mission to slow things down when time runs too fast. There are no incessantly flashing digital numerals on Grant’s shield, no constantly spinning second hand. Grant transforms frantic chaos into relaxing hours and minutes, and that’s all the time you really need.

While Grant’s time moves relatively slowly, he can travel quickly over rough terrain (or the messiest desk) on his three operational rubber tracks. Grant can also transform into one of three different modes: lying horizontally over his chassis for a low profile; crouching at 45 degrees; and sitting up 90 degrees. Grant’s time shield can always be set to a comfortable and optimal viewing angle.

Whatever the angle, Grant’s highly polished clockwork is on full display, and you can follow every click and turn of the gears. The mainspring barrel click near his ‘belly button’ is particularly mesmerizing in operation. The isochronal oscillations of the regulator keeping time in Grant’s glass-domed ‘brain’ are evidence of the clockwork’s high precision. Watching Grant “thinking” in real time is a stress-relieving activity in itself: Grant transforms time so that you can relax and enjoy it.

Grant's 8-day, in-line manufacture movement features the same superlative fine finishing as found on the finest wristwatches: Geneva waves, anglage, polishing, sandblasting, plus circular and vertical satin finishing. Hand finishing a clock movement is significantly more challenging than that of a wristwatch due to the larger surface areas of the clock components.

While he doesn’t look for fights, Grant believes offense is a great form of defense and packs appropriate weaponry. His left arm holds a “you-really-don’t-want-to-mess-with-me” spinning disk, while his right arm clasps a removable grenade launcher. Grant even has a surprise up his sleeve: his grenade launcher is removable and doubles as the winding and time-setting key for his 8-day clockwork, so he isn’t likely to run out of either firepower or time.

Grant is available in three limited editions of 50 pieces each in Nickel, Black, and Blue.

Grant’s timekeeping

L’Epée 1839 developed Grant to MB&F’s design using its 8-day, in-line manufacture movement as a structural base. Grant doesn’t just look like a complicated piece of high-precision micro-engineering, he is an incredibly solid piece of complex high-precision micro-engineering with an impressive 268 components going into the construction of his body and clockwork. That’s more pieces than in many complicated wristwatches.

Under the transparent mineral glass dome on Grant's “head”, the clock movement’s regulator – consisting of the balance and escapement – features an Incabloc shock protection system to minimise the risk of damage when the clock is moved or transported. Shock protection is standard in wristwatch movements; however, it is unusual in clocks, which are generally stationary. But then Grant is no stationary clock; he is a robot on a mission to transform time.

Contrary to what you might expect, hand finishing a clock movement is actually significantly more challenging than that of a wristwatch due to the larger surface areas of the clock components. Grant's 8-day movement features a mix of Geneva waves, anglage, polishing, sandblasting, circular and vertical satin finishing.

Grant’s transformer powers

Grant transforms into three positions, each with a practical purpose.

Position 1: Grant’s torso folds flat in his lap with his shield/time display lying horizontal across his back. This flat position enables the time to be easily read if Grant is significantly lower than the viewers’ eyes and, in this relatively stable position, the winding key will wind the 8-day mainspring.

Position 2: Grant’s torso locks securely into place at 45 degrees, from which he transforms into a more recognisably robotic shape. In this angled position, if resting on a desk or table, the time display is easily seen whether the viewer is sitting or standing.

Position 3: Grant’s torso sits up straight at 90 degrees to his chassis, with his shield now lying vertically along his back. In this position, Grant looks most like the Mad Max warrior he sometimes longs to be (that’s AI for you) and the key will now set the time.

However (and please keep this to yourself), the real reason Grant transforms into three different modes is that it gives us three different ways to play!

 

 

Technical specifications

Grant is available in three limited editions of 50 pieces each in Nickel, Black, and Blue.

Display

Hours and minutes

Size

Dimensions:

Truck: 115 mm tall x 212 mm wide x 231 mm long

Robot: 166 mm tall x 212 mm wide x 238 mm deep

Components total: 268

Weight: 2.34 kg

Body/frame

Transformer body with three operational tracks and three positions of clock/body.

Materials: stainless steel, nickel-plated brass, palladium-plated brass.

Dome/head: mineral glass.

Engine

L’Epée in-house designed and manufactured in-line eight-day movement

Balance frequency: 2.5 Hz / 18,000 bph

Power reserve: 8 days

Components movement: 155

Jewels: 11

Incabloc shock protection system

Movement finishing: Geneva waves, anglage, polishing, sandblasting, circular and vertical graining, satin finishing.

Winding: key on right hand doubles as weapon and pulls out to reveal a double-depth square socket key that both sets the time and winds the movement (on the back/dial side of the clock). 

Who's who

“Amazing. Maximilian Büsser is definitely an amazing person.” If you ask Laurent Picciotto to go over the main points of his history with the big man at MB&F, you’ll initially be met by a long silence and a pensive look. Where to begin? What about the first meeting, when “Max” was on a work placement at Jaeger-LeCoultre? When he was head of Harry Winston Watchmakers? When he transitioned to become a designer, bringing together the greatest watchmaking talent at MB&F? These are all stages in Max Büsser’s career; yet the person who passed through them has been so different in each role that it can sometimes be difficult to see the continuity. Be that as it may, the link between the two men was indeed first forged in Paris, twenty years ago. Laurent Picciotto had opened Chronopassion three years previously, laying the foundations for a brand that was to become a benchmark, but which at that time was pretty much a complete unknown beyond a tiny number of top watchmaking connoisseurs. Meanwhile the young Maximilian Büsser had just graduated from the Lausanne Federal Polytechnic School and joined Jaeger-LeCoultre. Büsser was enamoured with watchmaking mechanics. When he was in Paris, he went to see Chronopassion in rue Saint Honoré. “He stayed over three hours,” recalls Laurent Picciotto. “He was enthusiastic and inquisitive. He asked thousands of questions – he was an unusual young man and already knew a lot more about watchmaking culture than he was letting on.” Max Büsser worked in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Marketing department for seven years. He left in 1991 to move to Harry Winston. The 5th Avenue jewellers in New York City had already made some inroads into the watchmaking world, but without any major breakthroughs. The first timepieces dated back to 1989, but had failed to find much success. Output remained tiny, as the young Max Büsser sowed the seeds of high-class watchmaking at the jewellers. He was soon promoted to the position of Managing Director of the Rare Timepieces department. That was when the paths of the two men crossed again. “I was out for a walk in Geneva,” says Laurent Picciotto, “when a man in a car stopped next to me. He was no longer the young apprentice from Jaeger, but the CEO of Harry Winston Watchmakers. I didn’t recognise him – he’d completely changed, even physically! He really had taken on the stature of CEO. It was amazing.” The two men then saw each other every year during the course of Harry Winston business. The watchmaking part of the brand, driven by Max Büsser, gradually took shape, “but I was interested only in the Opuses,” says Laurent Picciotto with a smile. A friendship developed and when Max Büsser left Harry Winston in July 2005, a new chapter in it began. “Max told me about his new project, MB&F, standing for Maximilian Büsser & Friends. I said just three words to him: ‘I’ll follow you.’ He was a little surprised, as he didn’t have any immediate plans to establish the brand in France and he hadn’t even got the slightest prototype anywhere near ready!” Picciotto’s instinct was right, though. The first Horological Machine, HM1, came into being two years later in 2007. “This timepiece is difficult to apprehend – you need to put it on your wrist and wait a good quarter of an hour before being able make up your mind,” remembers Laurent Picciotto. The next part of the adventure is better known: four HMs and an LM, standing for Legacy Machine, a piece that pays tribute to watchmaking inventors. It is more aesthetically accessible but no less technically complicated for all that. Each MB&F item is the fruit of the greatest talents in top watchmaking, in terms of both watchmaking technology itself and design: Jean-François Mojon, Kari Voutilainen, Peter Speake-Marin, Laurent Besse, Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, Eric Giroud, and so on. “At the end of the day, MB&F timepieces really do need to be adopted by their owners. Max adds a touch of humour, born out of his uninhibited approach to watchmaking. It’s definitely a brand that brings a breath of fresh air to the watchmaking landscape, shaking it up to just the right degree,” concludes Laurent Picciotto.

 

Journalist : Olivier Müller

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