L'ÉPÉE 1839 × MB&F


Melchior was one of MB&F’s 10th Anniversary Pieces, presented in 2015 under the theme ”A creative adult is a child who survived”. Created with L’Epée 1839, Melchior is not only an impressive kinetic robot which may remind you of your childhood dreams, but also an impeccably finished, 480-component mechanical table clock.

Jumping hours and sweeping minutes on Melchior’s chest are displayed via discs bearing MB&F’s signature numerals, while a dial on Melchior’s abdomen is the power reserve indicator. And this robot’s self-sufficiency is to be admired, for the finely-finished, highly-visible movement boasts a power reserve of 40 days, thanks to five mainspring barrels which help make up Melchior’s rippling torso. The gatling gun on his left arm doubles as the winding and time setting key.

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the machine


  • “Slow” jumping hours and sweeping minutes
  • Retrograde seconds: flyback discs mark 20-second intervals behind a steel mask
  • Power reserve indicator on Melchior’s belly


  • L’Epée 1839 in-line eight-day movement, designed and manufactured in-house
  • Incabloc shock protection system
  • Power reserve: 40 days
  • Balance frequency: 18,000 bph / 2.5 Hz
  • 334 components / 17 jewels


  • Stainless steel and brass

Dimensions and weight

  • Dimensions: 303 x 217 x 112 mm
  • Weight: 6.3 kg
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40 days’ power reserve

40 days’ power reserve

A dial on Melchior’s abdomen indicates the power reserve: thanks to five mainspring barrels, the finely-finished, highly-visible movement boasts a power reserve of 40 days (yes, that’s not a typo – 40 days!).

Clock regulator

Clock regulator

The clock regulator’s gentle beating and intricate composition are made visible thanks to a polished glass dome. If the protective dome acts like a skull, then the regulator symbolises Melchior’s brain at work.

Double retrograde seconds

Double retrograde seconds

The retrograde action of Melchior’s expressive eyes marks off intervals of 20 seconds, endowing the robot with a hint of endearing human-like personality.



Christening this roboclock ‘Melchior’ – after a traditional forename in his family – Maximilian Büsser developed the concept with designer Xin Wang, selecting a high-end L’Epée clock movement and reimagining it as the mechanical head and torso of a robot.

Indeed, with his smart steel and brass armour, enigmatic glint in his eyes, animated brain and muscular, articulated arms, Melchior is the robot buddy you would want by your side while trying to thwart Darth Vader. But look again and you’ll see that Melchior is also a tribute to the most refined classic clock and watchmaking.

L’Epée 1839

Epée 1839

Dedicated to making high-end clocks, L'Epée has been a prominent Swiss Manufacture for over 180 years. Founded in 1839 by Auguste L’Epée in France’s Besançon region, the company originally focused on producing music boxes and watch components. The brand was synonymous at the time with entirely hand-made pieces.

From 1850 onwards, the Manufacture became a leading light in the production of ‘platform’ escapements, creating regulators especially for alarm and table clocks, as well as musical watches. It became a well-known specialist owning a large number of patents on exceptional escapements and the chief supplier of escapements to several celebrated watchmakers of the day. L'Epée has won a number of gold medal awards at international exhibitions.

L'Epée 1839 is now based in Delémont in the Swiss Jura Mountains. Under the impetus of its CEO Arnaud Nicolas, it has developed an exceptional table clock collection, encompassing a full range of sophisticated clocks.


Melchior is limited to 99 pieces and is available in a monochromatic ‘light’ edition or a two-tone ‘dark and light’ edition. The 100th and final piece is a piece unique: Melchior ‘Only Watch’, distinguished by bright red shoulder pads, sold in 2015 for the Only Watch charity auction to raise money for research on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.