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Time Takes Flight: The First Suspended Clock

Immediate boarding on the Hot Balloon, the mechanical clock in the form of a hot air balloon created by L’Épée 1839. This suspended clock follows the brand’s other co-creations – the Vanitas and Arachnophobia wall clocks. Placed simply on a table or suspended from the ceiling as if flying through the air, this kinetic sculpture symbolizes adventure and whimsy while remaining an exceptional mechanical timepiece.

An official partner of l’École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL), and specifically its Masters program in Advanced Studies in Design for Luxury and Craftsmanship, L’Épée 1839 created this clock on the theme of travel in collaboration with the talented design student Margo Clavier.

Inspired by the hot air balloon and all that it represents – adventure, imagination, discovery, ambition, freedom – Margo and L’Épée 1839 unveil a mechanical clock with impressive, sometimes floating presence which displays the hours and minutes for eight days.

An authentic piece of watchmaking art, Hot Balloon can also be admired from below, just as one might view a hot-air balloon overhead, as is the very first mechanical clock that can be hung from the ceiling.

The clock is set and wound in either position through an ingenious system that combines form and function, design and engineering, precision and durability. To set the time, simply turn the wheel-shaped crown located in place of the balloon’s burner blast valve. Winding the barrel is less intuitive and rather unexpected: the key is the balloon’s basket. Simply turn the basket to power the mechanism.

Full of poetry, Hot Balloon comprises 207 components, all produced in-house at the L’Épée 1839 manufacture, and finished and assembled by hand by a passionate team. The clock, sometimes placed on a table, sometimes suspended, measures 31 cm in height, and 17 cm in diameter.

Every component of the mechanical clock is designed to resemble the parts of a hot air balloon: turning the basket winds the movement; the burners serve as the escapement; the flame indicates the hour and minutes; and finally, the envelope (the balloon), with its wide openings, lends the piece an imposing transparent, airy aspect.

L’Épée 1839 has imagined its tethered flight in a very specific way, offering a completely new way of presenting time. Hot Balloon can be displayed on a desk, a table or a shelf, and it can also be hung directly from the ceiling, floating in air above it all – a first for a mechanical clock of this scale.

Hot Balloon is therefore be supplied with a suspension kit. A very thin cable, fully incorporated into the clock’s design, attaches to the hot air balloon, allowing it to take flight.

The time is displayed on the balloon’s burner; a two-pointed needle resembling a flame indicates the hours and minutes on two black cylinders stacked one on top of the other.

The crown for setting the time is located under the vertical escapement, and its gear train is located between the basket and burner, in place of the blast valve. Just as the flow of gas inflating the hot air balloon is adjusted with the blast valve, the clock’s time is adjusted with this crown.

Hot Balloon was been created in a limited edition of 50 pieces for each model:

Palladium, Black and Palladium, Blue and Palladium, Red and Palladium, or Gold.

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