Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Let It Glow: MB&F Starfleet Machine Black Badger

The table clock you see here is both a timekeeping device and a mechanical sculpture, with the same glow-in-the-dark aesthetic as the HMX Black Badger.

May 31, 2016 | By Staff Writer

Swiss watchmaker MB&F makes kinetic sculptures as well as wristwatches, driven by Max Busser’s fascination with mechanical ingenuity; the Starfleet Machine table clock you see here is both a timekeeping device and a mechanical sculpture, with the same glow-in-the-dark aesthetic as the HMX Black Badger. If that description reminds you of the Sherman clock, great because you are in the right frame of mind and have the right context. Actually, the Sherman might look awesome with the Black Badger treatment…

On that note, Busser always says that MB&F creations are meant to channel his own revitalized creativity (the creative adult is the child who survived, Max sometimes paraphrases Ursula K Le Guin). In fact, this guiding principle (also the tagline of the brand’s 10th anniversary) helps us understand the Starfleet Machine properly.

To a sci-fi fan like myself, this 2014 table clock (the first such instrument for MB&F) resembles the Deep Space Nine station in the old Star Trek universe, which indeed is what the official release tells us it is inspired by. However, it is also clear that sci-fi geek-chic is not what MB&F is about. Instead, Busser and company want to create objects that reach out to the child within you, objects that you can also use to rediscover the sense of wonder you had as a child.


Just as we did with the Sherman, we’ll just ask you if the Starfleet Machine stirs these feelings in you, just by looking at the pictures (these are renderings so we know we’re asking a lot). If not then the message is lost on you and we’re surprised you made it this far! On the other hand, if you find the Starfleet Machine appealing then read on as we dig a little deeper into this edition, featuring the work of James Thompson. Thompson of course is the artist behind the HMX Black Badger’s signature hues (just like Paul was the walrus, he’s the Black Badger).

The basic table clock is unchanged from 2014, still made byL’Epée 1839 (also the makers of Sherman). It still faithfully shows hours, minutes, double retrograde seconds and remaining power (the mainspring holds up to 40 days worth of energy). Thompson has added his lume under the internal ring enclosing the movement, on the back of the space station’s legs and to the indication domes and hands. The best way to see the MB&F Starfleet Machine Black Badger is, odd though it may sound, to turn off the lights. Provided you have charged it up with sunlight (or better yet a UV torchlight as we experienced at BaselWorld 2016), it will blow your mind.

The Starfleet Machine Black Badger is a limited edition of 18 pieces, in three materials, with lume in Radar Green, Phantom Blue and Purple Reign


  • Dimensions: 21cm (H) x 29cm (D)
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, double retrograde seconds and power reserve
  • Power Reserve: 40 days
  • Movement: Mechanical, manual-winding, by L’Epée
  • Material: Palladium-plated brass
  • Water Resistance: NA

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