MB&F, the avant-garde Swiss watchmaker founded by Max Büsser, calls its timepieces "horological machines" because they're so much more than merely watches. And occasionally they dip into other mechanical designs that rate the same recognition.
Their latest creation is called The Fifth Element. Designed in collaboration with clockmaker L’Epée 1839, it's an ingenious and starkly beautiful combination thermometer, barometer, hygrometer (humidity sensor) and mechanical clock.
The four elements can function on their own but are united into one mechanical sculpture that operates as a weather station that would look right at home on James Bond's desk.
An homage to the days before weather forecasting was "just another app on your phone," the Fifth Element contains playful touches like a metal figure sitting inside the sculpture who moves on his own axis, in a nod to Büsser's maxim that "a creative adult is a child who survived."
It's also an acknowledgment of Büsser's obsession with science fiction, with each of the four mechanical elements modeled after the 1950's-'60s' popular conception of what UFOs look like, which unite with the "mothership" when connected.
The Fifth Element is set to be unveiled at the Baselworld watch fair this week, and while the no doubt considerable price has yet to be disclosed we're sure if you're willing to cough up the francs Büsser and friends will build you one.