MB&F + L'ÉPÉE 1839 - The Fifth Element


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The Fifth Element is an intergalactic horological weather station enabling accurate weather forecasting even when the power goes down. Four (UFO) elements: clock, barometer, hygrometer, and thermometer combine in a mother ship (with Ross, the alien pilot) to create an entity much larger than the sum of its parts: The Fifth Element.

An analogue weather station might at first glance appear anachronistic; however, when the storm hits and the power goes down, the Fifth Element will still work perfectly. And, in the worst-case scenario, you can hitch a ride off planet Earth with Ross.

While the Fifth Element attends to the serious side of weather forecasting with joyful fantasy, this space-age weather station was only made possible thanks to L'ƒpée 1839, which mastered the precision manufacturing of the intricate series of curves and circles within circles that make up the large structure. Over 500 individual components form the mother ship and its interchangeable Elements; more than many Grand Complications!


Clock (hours and minutes), barometer (air pressure), thermometer (air temperature), hygrometer (air humidity)


Dimensions: 376 mm (diameter) x 209 mm (height)

Base clockwork: no escapement, minute repeater-type governor

Material: stainless steel, brass, glass and bronze (alien)

531 components

Total weight: 15 kg


L'ƒpée 1839 vertical architecture eight-day movement, designed and manufactured in-house

Dimensions: 124 mm (diameter) x 92 mm (height)

Power reserve: 8 days

161 components / 11 jewels

Movement finishing: polishing, bead-blasting, and satin finishing


Atmospheric pressure: 960 / 1060 hPa (28.4 / 31.6 in Hg)

Dimensions: 124 mm (diameter) x 92 mm (height)


Temperature: -30° / +70° Celsius (-20° / +156° Fahrenheit)

Dimensions: 124 mm (diameter) x 92 mm (height)


Hygrometer: 0 - 100% humidity

Dimensions: 124 mm (diameter) x 92 mm (height)


MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser had long looked for a beautiful vintage desktop weather station for himself, but could never find exactly what he was after; so with then intern-designer Stefano Panterotto he set about developing his own. The Fifth Element is a confluence of fantasies from classic UFO films, books, and comics of the 1950-60s with the desktop weather stations that were popular before weather forecasts were available on our phones.

The team researched weather stations across the last 100 years as well as the concepts of transparency, biomorphism, and both "inclusions" and "swarm" in animal/insect worlds.

While the Fifth Element was to be larger than its individual elements, each element had to be a strong standalone feature in itself: the team identified and came to understand each element, their stories, and how to feature them in a highly original way without concealing mechanical features.

After defining the four elements, the next step was the design of the Fifth Element, the hub in which the pods are housed. The challenge was to create an archetypical UFO of the 1950-60s, but without concealing any of the four elements.

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