Baselworld 2019: L’Epée Space Module

A modular weather measurement instrument to conquer the stars

L’Epée Space Module
L’Epée Space Module
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Space exploration— these words conjure up dreams of travel, adventure and discovery in all our minds. L’Epée Space Module is the first space module of an entirely new kind, developed by L’Epée 1839 for the exploration of distant planets. Its sensors can be used to capture data from new territories. Its three complementary weather instruments—a hygrometer, a barometer and a thermometer—form the basis of the weather forecasts that support life and its development.

The year 2019 marks a milestone in the history of space exploration: it is 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 expedition that brought about Man’s first steps on the moon. It is also a landmark year for L’Epée 1839, which is celebrating the 180th anniversary of its watchmaking art manufacture. So, at Baselworld 2019, the brand is presenting Space Module, a Swiss-made weather instrument whose design is inspired by the first lunar modules from the 1960s.

This is not L’Epée 1839’s first venture into space: Starfleet Machine and Destination Moon have already taken us far beyond our planet.

The barometer—an essential indicator of good or bad weather—measures atmospheric pressure. Meanwhile the hygrometer measures the percentage of humidity in the air. Lastly, the thermometer indicates the temperature of the environment. The three mechanical and modular instruments are placed one on top of the other on a stable base adorned with finishes and decoration inspired by the tools used for space exploration.

This mechanical weather station device was created by Martin Bolo, a promising young designer. He drew his inspiration from the tiered structure of lunar modules and the unmistakable shape of cylinder landing gear.

Space Module weighs 3.8 kg (8.4 lbs). Its diameter of 25 cm/9.8 in and height of 21 cm/8.3 in (for the most complete version) give it a balanced stature that enables it to go almost anywhere.

L’Epée Space Module
L’Epée Space Module

Space Module is a limited edition of 50 pieces, available in gilded and silver-colored versions.

Design 

The module’s overall architecture draws on the construction and engineering conventions used for the various different modules designed for lunar missions, which notably include the independent tiered system. The symmetry of its silhouette and the various design elements immerse the viewer into the brand’s beloved world of exploration and innovation.

Housed between the three feet under the base are a number of details: a decorative satellite dish, an anemometer to measure the wind where an atmosphere is present, three propulsion engines for returning to base and, of course, a flag, the ultimate symbol of conquest.

For 180 years, the leitmotif of L’Epée 1839 creations has been Dare to be different, which this year has led the brand to deliberately not include a watch movement in this new piece. For the first time, the Maison seems to want to slow down time or even break away from it…

L’Epée Space Module Gold
L’Epée Space Module

Mechanical Weather Station

 The Space Module weather station presents three functions: hygrometer, thermometer and barometer. It is entirely mechanical, with no electrical components to disturb the machine’s smooth operation in any environment. There is just a single calibration screw provided for each instrument to guarantee the tool’s accuracy.

The decision to use only mechanical instruments reflects the brand’s long history and its conscious desire to create objects that stand the test of time. And here it also incorporates a more far-reaching idea: in all distant exploration, energy, sustainability and environmental impact are the main keys to success. A 100% mechanical module therefore increases the lifespan of a module, removing the constraints of the sun’s position and battery issues.

Space Module operates best in an Earth-like atmosphere. Although Earth is not the only planet with an inhabitable atmosphere, the device is currently only able to display a data range similar to the conditions on planet Earth. So the barometer indicates between 980 and 1040 Hpa: the higher the value indicated by the hand, the better the weather. The hygrometer indicates the percentage of humidity in the air—from 0 to 100%—while the temperature ranges from -10 to +50°C. All of this data is shown on a dual scale in inches of mercury and Fahrenheit.

The data is indicated by means of the red hand, which is finely laser-cut to represent an intergalactic spaceship flying at full throttle. Meanwhile the three dials are made from stainless steel with a satin-brushed and polished finish.

L’Epée Space Module silver
L’Epée Space Module

Modular system & Construction

L’Epée 1839 has chosen to use a modular structure. The three independent tiers can be installed on the base in a staggered fashion by means of a secure system of bayonets with magnetic bolts. Each module operates entirely autonomously.

The construction constraints of exploratory devices have also been implemented here, with engineers having to meet the sizable challenge of reducing the mass as much as possible without sacrificing any technical or aesthetic aspects. This led them to use lightweight materials such as aluminum.

Two versions of Space Module have been created. One is comprised of a set of gilded pieces—dial, base and stand—while on the second version, these elements are palladium-plated. The addition of black anodized components (the legs and fastening rings) enhances the decoration and the finishes, which include polishing, sand-blasting, satin-brushing and engraving.

As they are intended to land on delicate or even unknown ground, the feet of the Space Module were designed for stability on any surface.

L’Epée Space Module Technical information

Limited Edition: 50 pieces per color

Dimensions: Ø257 x 221 mm

Weight: 3.8 kg

169 components

3x Weather instruments:

  • 140 mm x 35 mm dodecagon [H and T] / 140 mm x 57 mm dodecagon [B]
  • Stainless steel dial
  • Black elox aluminum / laser-engraved back
  • Display with curved hand painted red [spaceship shaped]
  • Calibration bolt accessible from the back
  • Rings can be attached to each other or the base using three bayonets with magnetic bolts
  • Weight: approx 3 x 0.8 kg

Barometer:

  • DOUBLE diaphragm aneroid
  • Dual display
  • 980 to 1040 Hpa [ 29 to 30.7 inHg]

Thermometer

  • Thermometer with bimetallic strip spiral spring
  • Dual display
  • -10 to +50° Celsius [15 to 120° Fahrenheit]

Hygrometer

  • Hygrometer with metal spiral spring
  • 0 – 100%

+ 1 Base

  • Base in laser-engraved anodized aluminum
  • Black anodized aluminum leg / Diamond-polished brass foot [Palladium or Gold]
  • Multiple decorative imitation scientific instruments
    • Three propulsion engines: stainless steel nozzles
    • Satellite dish
    • Anemometer
    • “L’EPEE 1839” flag in black PVD

 + Glass dome

  • Bezel in black anodized aluminum
  • Dome in blown glass
  • Can be affixed no matter the weather instrument: completely modular

 

 

Martin Bolo, a talented young designer

Having grown up in a family of cabinetmakers, from his earliest childhood Martin  inherited the precious values of two generations of craftsmen. Naturally drawn to manual and creative trades, he embarked on a rather unusual path. After his first qualification in industrial mechanics, he obtained a national Diploma in Plastic Arts from the Limoges School of Fine Arts, specializing in object design.

In a bid to perfect his artisanal knowledge and reconnect with his Swiss roots, Martin obtained a place at ÉCAL (the Lausanne canton school of art), to study for a Masters in Advanced Studies Design for Luxury and Craftsmanship.

Collaborations with prestigious companies developed Martin’s experience in the professional arena, giving him an understanding of the fascinating worlds of fine watchmaking, culinary arts and haute couture.

A technology and science fiction enthusiast, Martin is naturally drawn to machines, particularly the improbable kind…

 

L’EPEE 1839 — Switzerland’s leading clock manufacture

L’Epée has been a prominent clockmaking firm for over 175 years. Today, it is the only manufacture in Switzerland to specialize in the production of high-end clocks. Founded in 1839 by Auguste L’Epée in France’s Besançon region, the company originally focused on producing music boxes and watch components. Even at this early stage, the brand was synonymous with entirely hand-made pieces.

Starting in 1850, the manufacture became a leader in producing escapements and began to develop special regulators for alarm clocks, table clocks and musical watches. It gained wide recognition and filed numerous patents for special escapements, particularly for use in its anti-knocking, auto-starting and constant force systems. L’Epée became the principal supplier of several famous clockmakers and went on to win many gold medals at World Fairs.

During the 20th century, the firm owed its success largely to its remarkable travel clocks. Many associate the L’Epée brand with people of power and influence. Members of the French government often gave clocks to their distinguished guests. When the Concorde supersonic aircraft began its commercial flights in 1976, L’Epée fitted the cabins with wall clocks to give passengers the time. In 1994, the brand demonstrated its penchant for challenges by constructing the largest pendulum clock in the world, the “Giant Regulator”, which features in the Guinness Book of Records.

L’Epée 1839 is now based in Delémont in the Swiss Jura mountains. With CEO Arnaud Nicolas at the helm, it has developed an exceptional collection of table clocks that includes a comprehensive range of sophisticated clocks.

The collection focuses on three themes:

Creative Art – Artistic pieces first and foremost, often developed in partnership with external designers as joint creations. These clocks surprise, inspire and even shock the most seasoned collectors. They are intended for those consciously or unconsciously looking for exceptional objects that are one of a kind.

Contemporary Timepieces – Technical creations with a contemporary design (Le Duel, Duet, etc.) and minimalist, avant-garde models (La Tour) incorporating complications such as retrograde seconds, power reserve indicators, moon phases, tourbillons, striking mechanisms or perpetual calendars.

Carriage Clocks – Lastly, classic travel clocks, also known as “officers’ clocks”. These historical pieces from the brand’s heritage also feature their fair share of complications: striking mechanisms, minute repeaters, calendars, moon phases, tourbillons and more.

All pieces are designed and manufactured in-house. Their technical prowess, combination of form and function, very long power reserves and remarkable finishes have become signature features of the brand.

For more information, please visit L’Epée 1839 Website.

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