Reality sucks! In the 1960s, science fiction had us flying through the air on hoverboards and our imaginations soared, but we ended up with non-hovering boards with wheels on solid ground. Science fiction promised us 3D TV and engineers delivered, but we took one look, felt queasy and out they went. Science fiction filled our imaginations with elegant ovoid-shaped rockets that would fly us to the moon and beyond. Again, engineers delivered, but the rockets, although eminently practical, ended up being straight, uninspiring cylinders.
Some things are best left to the imagination and MB&F’s Destination Moon does just that. It delivers just enough engineering for an eight-day clock looking like an exciting science fiction rocket from the 1960s, but with plentiful empty space allowing our imaginations to fill in the details.
Conceived by MB&F and built by L’Epée 1839, Switzerland’s premier clock maker, Destination Moon is the quintessential torpedo-shaped rocket of childhood dreams. But look more closely and you will see that its minimalistic form is evocative rather than definitive.
Hours and minutes are displayed on large diameter stainless steel discs with stamped numerals. While the legibility of the time display is not in question, focusing on the time rather than the spectacular, vertically structured, open movement is likely to require deep concentration.
Developed specifically for Destination Moon, the architecture of L’Epée’s eight-day movement follows the basic design of a real spaceship. Power in a rocket comes from its base; the power for Destination Moon comes from the oversized winding crown in its base. The management and control systems of a rocket are above the power source; the same holds true for Destination Moon, which has a vertical regulator controlling precision below the time display, as well as a time-setting knob at the top of the movement. That eye-catching regulator with its animated balance is protected from cosmic radiation (and curious fingers) by a small panel of virtually invisible mineral glass.
In a further tip of the hat to childhood toys and fantasies, the horizontal circular plates in Destination Moon’s movement are perforated like Meccano components. Despite its ethereal openwork construction, at nine pounds Destination Moon is no lightweight: its solid landing pods ensure that it will not easily be knocked off course (or knocked over).
And then there’s Neil: a smile-inducing, space-suited figurine forged in solid silver and stainless steel, magnetically attached to the ladder connecting the crown to the movement. Neil is the astronaut flying Destination Moon to exotic worlds, but more importantly, Neil imparts a childlike sense of wonder by putting man into the machine.
Destination Moon is available in 5 limited editions of 50 pieces each in black, green, blue and red, plus palladium (silver).
Inspiration: Destination Moon is a true collaboration between L’Epée 1839 and MB&F; the base 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. Driven by passion, Bringuet designed the movement over one long, largely sleep-free, weekend. L’Epée then contacted MB&F wondering if some type of spacecraft might be designed around the movement and the project blasted off.
MB&F intern-designer Stefano Panterotto came up with the basic shape, however it initially looked too realistically rocket-like and that something magical was missing. Paradoxically, the answer to adding magic was in removing the skin of the rocket so it both looked more technical − helped by the perforated Meccano-like movement plates− and acted as a framework for the viewer’s imagination.
The real magic of Destination Moon is space; not the space of the cosmos above our heads, but the largely empty space that is Destination Moon. If the body of the rocket was completely covered, observers would see the rocket of somebody else’s youth, but because the rocket-themed desktop clock is in reality a largely empty, perforated frame, those viewing Destination Moon are each likely to see a slightly different spacecraft: the rocket of their own childhood rather than somebody else’s… Space isn’t empty; it’s filled by imagination.
Realization: While designed by MB&F, Destination Moon was constructed by L’Epée 1839, Switzerland’s premier producer of high-end clocks. The concentric vertical construction of the eight-day movement was developed especially for Destination Moon, but it also draws strong parallels with MB&F’s Horological Machine No.7 Aquapod: while one is a spacecraft-inspired table clock and the other a jellyfish-inspired aquatic wristwatch, both feature movements comprising concentric vertical architecture and both are powered from their base.
Perhaps the crowning jewel of Destination Moon – its apogee if you will – is the small figure on the ladder at its base: Neil. Constructed of solid sterling silver with a stainless-steel helmet and wearing a 1960s-style spacesuit, Neil brings a playful human element to the engineering of the Meccano-style openwork of the spaceship and its clockwork. Neil magnetically attaches anywhere along Destination Moon’s boarding ladder. Whether he is embarking to take off for an adventure in space, or disembarking for an adventure on the moon’s surface is up to the individual viewer’s imagination.
Clockwork: Power for Destination Moon comes from the massive crown in its base, which transfers power to the mainspring barrel via the boarding ladder. The eye-catching regulator is vertically positioned to allow for maximum appreciation and protected from curious fingers behind a panel of mineral glass.
Two stainless steel discs with stamped white numerals respectively indicate the hours (top) and minutes as they line up with the streamlined double-ended pointer above the regulator. The time is set by a central knob in at the very top of the movement.
The stability of the clock is ensured by the substantial weight of Destination Moon’s three landing pods.