Hands-on MB&F and L’Epee 1839 Introduce Their New Robot Clock: GRANT

Another robotic clock based on childhood memories... but still a fascinating object.
calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Brice Goulard | ic_query_builder_black_24px 3 minute read |

In a horological galaxy far, far away, one man, Captain Büsser, was entrusted with a mission: to create marvellous and unique time devices that would annihilate Emperor Boredom. This rebellion started in 30 A.Q.C. (After the Quartz Crisis, meaning 2005 in human nomenclature) and gave life to several horological UFOs, ready to engage in battle. The war isn’t over and Captain Büsser and his ally L’Epée 1839 open a new chapter in this epic time battle with their latest weapon against monotony: Grant.

Grant is another robot clock, just like his brothers Melchior, Balthazar and Sherman were before him. While the first two were standing robots, Grant is, just like Sherman, a machine with tracks that borrows its name from an actual tank. The Medium Tank, M3 – also known as the Grant tank – was a medium-sized American tank in use during World War II. And just like this piece of weaponry, the MB&F and L’Epée 1839 Grant is equipped to travel over rough terrain, with three operational rubber tracks.

This rather massive piece (212mm wide × 231mm long) is also a transformer, as it can assume three different positions: lying horizontally over his chassis for a low profile, crouching at 45 degrees or sitting up at 90 degrees. This transformable function allows different positions for both the timekeeping part and the robot part. When lying down, the dial displaying the time sits horizontally and Grant’s robot face is hidden. On the contrary, when sitting up, the horological part is displayed vertically and Grant’s face is staring at you.

What could have been just a gimmick is actually truly cool. When handling Grant and changing positions, you really end up with 3 completely different clocks. Each of them has its own personality and reveals or hides some of the parts – for instance, the look when lying down is less “frightening” than when the robot’s face is up, in full warrior mode.

In this galactic war engaged by MB&F and L’Epée 1839, Grant is kitted out with gear and won’t be fighting with his bare hands (or his bare tracks). This armoured fighting horological vehicle is packed with weaponry. His left arm holds a spinning disk, while his right arm clasps a removable grenade launcher. This “grenade” is removable and doubles as the winding and time-setting key for his movement.

On a more technical side, the new MB&F x L’Epée 1839 Grant is based on an in-house designed and manufactured in-line hand-winding movement with an 8-day power reserve, a frequency of 2.5Hz and the balance and the escapement displayed underneath the helmet-like “head” of Grant – the idea is that regulating organ represents the brain of this horological piece. As an antidote to today’s frenetic, fast-moving world, Grant is on “a mission to slow things down”. For this reason, he only displays the hours and minutes, with no running seconds.

As always, this new MB&F x L’Epée 1839 shows superb hand-finishing: Geneva waves, anglage, polishing, sandblasting, circular and vertical satin finishing. All the parts are decorated and the assembly of Grant is impressive. The polished parts are particularly satisfying, with a flawless mirror surface – something relatively complex considering the surface of the parts.

The MB&F x L’Epée 1839 Grant robot clock will be available in three different versions, with the “arms” holding the tracks coloured in blue, black or nickel-plated. It is a limited edition of 50 pieces in each colour, with a price of CHF 22,200 (excl. taxes). More details on mbandf.com.

2 responses

  1. I general, I like these creations and the quality of the construction. They just don’t go far enough. They aren’t kinetic in any way, and they should be, given the mechanical aptitude of the maker. I don’t need lights and shooting projectiles….but rotations or hourly minor animations would be appropriate and in keeping with the historical animatronic heritage they claim to share.

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