L’Epée Seeks to Explode Our Perceptions of Time with Its Grenade-Shaped Clocks
L’Epée 1839 sets you free with the horologically volatile Grenade. A timepiece inspired by a dangerous explosive, the Grenade is a compact desk and mantel clock designed to challenge the hold that time has on our lives.
The Grenade is modeled after the historical MKII grenade and has an M6A4C fuse that uses a pin that is pulled to activate the explosive. Similarly, the L’Epée Grenade features a pin that doubles as the key, which, when removed, allows for setting the time and winding the eight-day movement.
By forcing you to pull the pin to wind and set the Grenade, the design calls to mind our own mortality, and serves as a reminder to savor every moment.
The hours and minutes are displayed on two black aluminum disks rotating directly over the beating heart of Grenade. Ticking away at a traditional 18,000 vibrations per hour, the balance is front and center, audibly reminding us that time is slipping away and we never know how much time we have left. Once you wind Grenade and set its time display, the next step is to seize the day.
The master watchmakers of L’Epée took great care to craft a device that not only tells time precisely and consistently, but commands attention in your home. Grenade isn’t simply an eye-catching clock; it is an experience. Pulling the pin allows you to shatter the concept of time into its smallest parts, each tick and every tock is something that we experience only briefly. Time explodes out from every second, carrying us swiftly into the future and along for the ride.
That is why L’Epée urges you to pull the pin and live for now.
Construction and Inspiration
This historical MKII grenade has become the iconic image of this weapon as well as a symbol of war and violence. But a grenade on its own is simply potential energy, much like a coiled mainspring. Pulling the pin on the fuse starts a chemical reaction that results in the countdown, but once the Grenade's mainspring is wound, it’s the balance wheel that keeps track of time.
Grenade’s frame is composed of five distinct plates and six vertical supports, all notched and interlocking to resemble the grooved shell of the original MKII grenade. The key pin, which is safely stored in the fuse-shaped frame atop the structure when not in use, is removed and inserted onto a post in the center of the top plate to set the time. A small pointer, modeled after the 1915 German stick grenade, indicates the hours and minutes as they slowly rotate by on disks.
The going train is mounted in the center of Grenade, peeking out from behind the balance and escapement assembly positioned on the front. Underneath is the long eight-day mainspring barrel that is wound from a post on the bottom of the clock.
The pin is the main point of interaction with a grenade – as it is with the L’Epée Grenade. Unlike the historical MKII, whose purpose was violence, the Grenade clock seeks only to challenge our perceptions of time and what it means to our lives. Many think of time like a flowing river, but time is made up of infinite tiny moments lined up next to each other. The tick-tock of Grenade highlights these small moments, each an opportunity to change one’s life.
When a regular grenade explodes, it annihilates anything nearby. When the L’Epée Grenade is activated, it asks us to blow up our outdated ideas of the moments we experience every second. Time has a granular structure, and each granule is a chance to decide anew. We may not be able to change how time passes, but we can change how we pass the time.
An explosion happens in a split second and so do our choices. If you knew that the next moment could be your last, would you savor that moment? That is why the key to the L’Epée Grenade is the pin, the very thing that must be pulled to create the explosion.
Will you heed L’Epée’s call to pull the pin? The Grenade is waiting to let you live for now.