Time Takes Flight: The First Suspended Clock
“To fly, float, glide, navigate in the air, traveling from place to place; to surpass oneself, to go further, higher, faster; or, at a leisurely pace, to take the time to have one’s head in the clouds. L’Épée 1839 has previously included a number of flying objects in its collections, but today it presents the first to have offered mankind the gift of flight: the hot air balloon!” 

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.

Read more about HOT BALLOON


Humans have always wanted to fly: from Icarus to Leonardo da Vinci, not forgetting the wide-eyed child in every one of us. Early on, science identified the Archimedes principle, which although more commonly applied to liquids, can also be applied to gases. Drawing upon this principle of fluid mechanics, we can imagine an enormous balloon capable of lifting people up into the air. A bit of genius, and undoubtedly a significant element of folly, allowed the first hot air balloon to take off in the late 18th century, ready to fulfill the ambition and dream of exploring the skies.

Designed by Margo Clavier, Hot Balloon embodies the dream of travel and adventure. As her first ECAL project, the collaboration with l’Épée 1839 offered a serious challenge: designing a mechanical clock. After visiting the manufacture in Delémont, Margo quickly seized upon the idea of the hot air balloon, which caused a worldwide sensation when it flew for the first time in 1783. Inspired by the aesthetics of the very first hot air balloons, Hot Balloon is an elegant contrast of visible mechanical parts and a metal parts in a variety of finishes and refined decorations. 
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.


Any questions ?Contact us


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. 
Winding the clock involves the whole basket. Regardless of how Hot Balloon is displayed, to wind the clock, simply turn the base several times (generally six turns), to provide enough power for eight days of flight. For greater ease of use, especially when Hot Balloon is placed on a table, L’Épée 1839 has also made it possible to wind the clock by turning the basket’s upper ring, to avoid having to lift the clock.

The balloon sculpture

Time display

The movement and vertical escapement

Ceiling suspension system



Hot Balloon is produced in a limited edition of 50 pieces per color in Black, Blue, Red, Silver


Desk clock and suspension clock
Inspiration from a hot air balloon shape
Hours and minutes displayed with central flameshaped indicator
217 components


Height 31 cm; Diameter (balloon) 17.2 cm; Height (basket) 8 cm
Weight: 3.9 kg


L’Épée 1839 Movement, designed and manufactured in-house 1855 LR Caliber 
Balance vibrations: 18,000 vph – 2.5 Hz
Single barrel
Incabloc shock protection system
Power reserve: 8 days


Made of palladium plated-brass and stainless steel
Finish comprised of polishing, sand-blasting, satin finishing and painting


The basket is an essential piece of the movement since it serves to wind the barrel

A system for ceiling suspension composed of a cable and a hook at the top of the balloon




Red & Silver

Limited edition of 50 pieces per color

21'950-. CHF excl. VAT / Wait List / Lead Time 4 Weeks



Blue & Silver

Limited edition of 50 pieces per color

21'950-. CHF excl. VAT / In Stock



Black & Silver

Limited edition of 50 pieces per color

AVAILABLE Add to cart
21'950 CHF-. excl. VAT / In Stock




Limited edition of 50 pieces

Sold out