Lap Time

L’Epee 1839 rolls out its latest ‘kinetic sculpture,’ a scaled-down vintage racecar that’s actually a clock 

SWISS high-end clockmaker L’Epee 1839 — the brand known for its various collaborations with equally unconventional MB&F — rolled out its latest piece of “kinetic sculpture,” the Time Fast D8.

Available in a 500-piece production run, the Time Fast D8 is essentially a mechanical clock built into a scale model of a mid-20th century single-seat racecar (one which does not seem to be modeled after any specific marque, and is fitted with a set of wheels belonging to cars of a much later period). The model sees certain portions of its bodywork stripped away to reveal some structural components within, as well as the sundry mechanical bits comprising the timepiece. And, yes, the Time Fast D8’s wheels do roll, which make it a vintage racecar model to some, a fancy clock to others. What cannot be argued is that this is one awesome piece of desk or shelf furniture.

While credit for the Time Fast D8’s design goes to Georg Foster, a motor racing nut who penned the car while taking his masters’ degree at Switzerland’s Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne, the timepiece was the handiwork of around 20 people, most of whom car guys, at L’Epee 1839. Fact is, only the clock’s aluminum case, crystals and jewels were sourced from elsewhere.

Serving as the timepiece’s engine is a tiered movement shaped to hug the curves of the car’s bodywork. Displayed within a cutout on the side of the car are the digital hour and minute readouts, which are rendered to look like racing decals and are engraved on a pair of vertically-rotating steel disks. On the opposite side, a blank circle typical on competition cars is reserved for some personalized engraving, to be accompanied by the L’Epee 1839 logo. Logically, the car’s steering wheel serves as the time-setting crown. A crystal canopy caps the cockpit.

Rolling the Time Fast D8’s wheels backward winds the movement’s barrel, something that needs to be done only once a week — well, the movement is actually rated with an eight-day power reserve (it spins at 18,000vph). Its plates form the car’s “chassis,” or are meant to evoke the engine block of old racecars. Peeking through an openworked “radiator grille” is another L’Epee 1839 logo.

Wrapping over these goodies is an aluminum body that’s 38 centimeters long (counting in the wheels the car measures 16 centimeters wide, 12 centimeters high) and which comes with five color options achieved via automotive paint.

Gentlemen, start your engines.