MOONMACHINE by Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva is both the first of the MB&F Performance Art pieces by a watchmaker and the first to endow a Machine with a new complication. With MOONMACHINE, Stepan has taken a specially configured HM3 Frog and transformed it with his iconic moon-face moon-phase indicator set in a scintillating firmament of northern stars.
The MOON: Around 4.5 billion years ago when the young Earth was still forming, Theia, a proto-planet the size of Mars, is thought to have struck our planet and disintegrated in a ‘Giant Impact’. Some of the debris was attracted by the Earth’s gravity and the rest – consisting of material from both Earth and Theia – went into orbit around the Earth. Within 12 months this orbiting debris coalesced to form the Moon.
Over the next 4.4 billion years, the Earth’s tilt in relation to the sun was stabilised by the gravitational pull of the Moon, which provided regular relatively mild seasons over much of the planet’s surface – ideal conditions for life to form and evolve.
Without that cataclysmic event, we would not be here. You might say we are all Children of the Moon.
And no sooner did modern man start walking the earth than he stared up at the night sky in wonder and awe at the biggest and brightest orb in the heavens. Perhaps none more so than the inhabitants of Finland – including Stepan Sarpaneva – because the less romantic and less well-known counterpoise to the summertime Land of the Midnight Sun are extremely long nights in winter, which gives the population more time than most to study the moon and stars.
MOONMACHINE: While considerably less cataclysmic than the formation of our Moon, MOONMACHINE was also forged from the creative collision of two worlds: MB&F’s HM3 Frog and independent watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva.
Before launching his own brand Sarpaneva Watches in 2003, Stepan Sarpaneva worked with some of the most prestigious Swiss brands including Piaget, Parmigiani – where he worked alongside Kari Voutilainen – Vianney Halter and Christophe Claret.
“Stepan has an incredible sense of design and a real sense of detail. His work and everything he surrounds himself with is extremely coherent.” Maximilian Büsser
Stepan Sarpaneva: Stepan’s three signature themes are all celestial: his very distinctive moon face; the northern stars and constellations; and the crenellated form of his Korona case – the korona/corona is the plasma atmosphere of the Sun – and all three have been incorporated in MOONMACHINE. Sarpaneva’s two moon faces indicate the phase of the moon through a Korona shaped aperture, while the mystery winding rotor is actually steel and 22k gold disc with laser-pierced stars forming stars and constellations visible in the northern sky.
“The visible movement at the top of HM3 Frog added a technical aspect that provided a serious counterpoint to the playfulness of the bulging frog-eyed indications. In covering the movement, the moon phase and sky hides this and makes the timepiece more poetic. With MOONMACHINE, HM3 is transformed into a fairy tale.” Stepan Sarpaneva