L’EPEE 1839 × MB&F


At first glance, the Orb looks like a futuristic model of an eye with its perfectly formed shiny sphere, and its dial taking the place of the iris and the pupil. But nothing is ever quite what it seems with the collaborative clocks of L’Epée 1839 × MB&F.

The minimalistic structure is composed of four elytra (that’s the technical word for a beetle’s protective wing covers) that not only open up, but can also swivel like a transformer to display the Orb in a variety of different positions. Placed on its saucer so it doesn’t roll away, it can be displayed completely closed or with one, two or three opened elytra. Alternatively, opening all four elytra allows to display the clock without the saucer.

Powering this state-of-the-art clock is a beautiful L’Epée 1839 hour-striking movement with an eight-day power reserve. There are two barrels, one for the time and the other for the striking of the hours, wound separately. The hour mechanism doesn’t just chime the passage of the hour, but indicates the actual hour, like a church clock. This function can be repeated on demand or turned on and off.

Available in white or black with its hourly striking mechanism, the Orb is a beautiful reminder of the passage of time.

more pictures in press section

the machine

Functions & indications

  • Striking hour, indicating the actual hour like a church clock; can be repeated on demand via a button on the side of the clock, or turned on and off if required.


  • L’Epée 1839 in-house designed and manufactured movement
  • Power reserve: 8 days
  • Balance frequency: 2.5Hz / 18,000bph
  • 300 components and 17 jewels
  • Manual-winding: double-depth square socket key sets time and winds movement


  • Materials: clockwork in palladium-plated brass and stainless steel
  • 4 Elytra in aluminium covered with lacquer


  • Closed:
  • Height: approx. 17cm
  • Diameter: approx. 17cm
  • Opened (full opening):
  • Height: approx. 24cm
  • Diameter: approx. 30cm
  • Weight: 1.9kg
download manual


The four elytra are soldered to the structure with torque hinges so they can retain their angle however little or wide they are opened. When closed, the elytra are held in place with four tiny magnets on the interior of each tip to keep the shape of a perfect sphere.



The hour mechanism doesn’t just chime the passage of the hour, but indicates the actual hour, like a church clock. This function can also be repeated on demand via a button on the side of the clock, or turned on and off if required.



Orb is powered by a mechanical movement completely designed and produced in-house by L’Epée 1839, finished to the highest standards of traditional Swiss clockmaking.



The idea behind the Orb is the brainchild of German designer Maximilian Maertens, who started his artistic career at MB&F as an intern before setting up his own design studio in Berlin. Maertens worked with MB&F and L’Epée on the T-Rex clock, before being given free rein to create the TriPod and now the Orb.

“Max (Maertens) is a natural born creator – something incredibly rare these days. His mind travels and explores his own universe before transforming that thought wandering process into a 3D idea. Our differences enrich the creative process whilst our similarities allow for both of us to understand each other”, says Maximilian Büsser, founder and creative director of MB&F.

L’Epée 1839

Epée 1839 Maximilian Büsser and Arnaud Nicolas CEO of L’Épée 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.