La Regatta by l’Epée Table Clock: Nautical Grace on Land (and Desk)
by Martin Green
L’Epée is the clockmaker to the stars of Haute Horlogerie. Mainly thanks to its collaborations with MB&F, l’Epee has become a household name in the world of watches. Investing in a clock often makes more sense than buying another watch, which is usually added to an already extensive collection and will probably spend most of its time in a safe, not on a wrist.
In this regard, a clock is different. It can become the centerpiece of a room, adding character by being a character itself. This is not a problem for a clock by l’Epée, particularly the new La Regatta
. As a journalist specializing in timepieces, you are always searching to see where a watch or clock excels and where the brand could have done better. For the latter, I am still looking.
L’Epée drew inspiration from the noble sport of sculling, in which the most beautiful crafts cut through the water like a razor-sharp knife. They are not only very fast but also barely have a wake, so they hardly disturb the water around them. L’Epee used the distinct shape of the boat and made the clock leaving all the mechanical parts visible as well. Due to its construction, the La Regatta is best placed where it can be visible from all angles, as each perspective gives a unique insight.
While I can see where l’Epée got its inspiration from, I only realized this after reading the press release. Unlike previous clocks by the brand, the design of this clock is less obvious in what it represents. While some might be taken aback by this, I actually love it. It makes the La Regatta more of a sculpture and hence a suitable addition to a living room or office of someone who has no connections to sculling, like yours truly.
The reason this design also has some architectural qualities is due to the background of the designer, Milagros Rodríguez. While currently studying for her Master’s Degree at the prestigious École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne, she initially trained as an architect. A meeting with L’Epée CEO Arnaud Nicolas and a conversation about his desire to make a clock with a nautical theme led to this collaboration and the creation of the La Regatta.
Colors? Take your pick
L’Epée uses palladium-plated brass, stainless steel, and anodized aluminum to craft the La Regatta, which is available in six different colors: champagne, silver, black, red, blue, and green, with each limited to 99 pieces. While I can understand certain colors, the choice of others, notably red and green, seems less evident for a nautical-inspired clock. While I would otherwise be critical of using such colors, it is different with the La Regatta. As the link with the nautical world is not that obvious, and the theme is approached in a more abstract way, they simply underscore a different approach to the object.
I simply can’t stop thinking about how incredible this clock would look if the two ‘hull’ pieces had been made from lacquered wood. While a more classic approach, I feel that it can add a different look and feel to the piece. Perhaps something for L’Epée CEO Arnaud Nicolas and designer Milagros Rodríguez to consider?
As always, a clock by l’Epée is mechanically flawless, and the “La Regatta” is no exception. The 1855 MHD caliber is crafted in-house at the brand’s manufacture in Delémont, in the Swiss Jura Mountains. It is made from palladium-plated brass and polished stainless steel and has 26 jewels, with an escapement running at 2.5Hz/18,000 vph. The movement is manually wound, but this only needs to be done once a week as the “La Regatta” has an 8-day power reserve.
While the movement is impressive, it is the way l’Epée integrates it into the clock’s overall design that makes it exceptional. Rather than hiding it, the movement is an intricate part of the “La Regatta,” and its visible mechanical parts are enticing to watch enthusiasts and have the power to convert those who are not yet enthusiasts.
At 520mm (20 inches) tall, the clock’s delicate lines are emphasized, making it easy to place. The longer you look at it, the more references to sculling you will see, such as the hands that represent oars. The design offers the bare minimum while being rich in detail and craftsmanship, making the “La Regatta” my favorite clock from l’Epée to date (apologies to MB&F).
For more information, please visit www.lepee1839.ch/collection/regatta
Quick Facts L’Epée 1839 La Regatta
Casing: palladium-plated brass, stainless steel, and anodized aluminum
, 518 mm height, 1.74 kg weight
Movement: manual winding L’Epée 1839 in-house designed and manufactured, 18,000 vph/2.5 Hz frequency, one barrel, power reserve eight days
Limitation: 99 pieces each in champagne, silver, black, red, blue, and green
Price: CHF 19,900 (ex.VAT)