L’Epée 1839 has unveiled Time Fast D8, a modern mechanical clock with an 8-day power reserve that takes its design cues from vintage race cars. This ‘kinetic sculpture’, as L’Epée likes to refer to its clocks, was designed by a promising young designer named Georg Foster.
L’Epée’s history dates all the way back to 1839 when it was set up by Auguste L’Epée near Besançon, France. It is today the only specialized manufacture in Switzerland dedicated to making high-end clocks. Foster designed the clock while he was a master’s student at School of Design (ECAL) in Lausanne, drawing inspiration from a dream of becoming a race driver.
The timepiece features a number of eye-catching details, such as the long protruding engine hood, a typical 1950s openworked radiator grill, large spoked wheels, a driving seat positioned to the rear and the sloping back section. It displays the hours and minutes like a race number, allowing the time to be easily read on the side of the chassis.
A figure sits in the cockpit, where a glass dome, or rather a driver’s helmet, highlights the thrumming escapement. The steering wheel, which adopts the three-spoke design typically seen in race cars, is used to set the time. A counterclockwise move adjusts the time, while clockwise adjustment can be used to reposition the steering wheel once the time is set. In a subtle nod to childhood memories, the mechanical motor is wound just like a pull-back car. To ensure this, particular attention has been paid to the four wheels, whose spoked rims are wrapped in soft rubber for greater grip during winding.
The in-house tiered movement is comprised of 289 mechanical components that have been immaculately finished, whether decorated, polished, satin finished or sand-blasted by hand. The hours and minutes are displayed on the side through an aperture resembling a typical competition number, via two engraved stainless steel disks. While one side of the chassis displays time, the other side is the advertising spot, the characteristic circle on race cars. This spot can feature custom engraving to create a personalized car, the L’Epée logo comes as standard.
The clock measures 38 cm long, 16 cm wide and 12 high and weighing just 4.7 kg. With the exception of the raw aluminum casting, the crystals and the jewels, which are sourced from elsewhere, every piece has passed through the hands of the crew within the L’Epée workshops. Time Fast D8 is a limited edition: 100 pieces per body color, initially produced in Red, Blue, Green, Blue with white stripes and White with blue stripes versions. The retail price is $30,000.