Projet Mecavers de Denis Flageollet Copyright Ulysse Camus

De Bethune: discovering Denis Flageollet’s Mecavers Project

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The Mecavers Project is the story of the horological creation of the ultimate piece… The one that will trace through its thousands of gears the history of Time, the universal history of the terrestrial and celestial mechanics of matter. “Tempus Fugit”, a Latin expression inscribed on timepieces dating back for some to the origin of watchmaking, which reminds people that time passes quickly, and that our existence on Earth is insignificant.

Mecavers project by Denis Flageollet Copyright Ulysse Camus

It all starts in the head he said. One day, Denis Flageollet, master watchmaker and co-Founder of De Bethune asked himself the question, said to himself that he had done, for years and years of work, things, objects, research , many watches… and then, perhaps, today, the deep feeling felt of a lack. To make ONE object.

Recreate the universe. In the form of a horological sculpture that is realized gradually, according to his feelings. An object that is scalable. The foundations of the project are laid: it will be the representation of the solar system with more than 63 of its satellites (among the more than 200 listed by NASA) which revolve around each of their respective planets, 8 in total…

This representation of our solar system will be placed at the center of mechanisms which will give a great deal of astronomical information and will allow the dual sympathy of a watch and a marine chronometer.

This work of extraordinary size, thousands of cogs that will require significant calculations, the representation of a number of stars as no one had ever dared to represent it before, a crazy project, which will be done gradually, without being sure to reach the end one day! It is also a pretext to pass on his art to the younger generation who help him with the task.

Document the adventure in the serenity of transmission
This adventure, which took shape recently, was filmed from day one by TV director Olivier Ronot, a friend of Denis Flageollet. Between the two men, a confidence, a complicity, in front of the scale of the project.

They will move forward together, also in an evolutionary way, in order to document the adventure, through the years and the seasons at Auberson in the Swiss Jura, life in the workshop, the work, the days, the hours, this calm, deep, sincere and authentic rhythm in the serenity of transmission.

​Note of intent by Denis Flageollet

Denis Flageollet Copyright Ulysse Camus
The ultimate piece… The one that will trace through its thousands of gears the history of Time, the universal history of the terrestrial and celestial mechanics of matter. Tempus Fugit, a Latin expression inscribed on timepieces dating back for some to the origins of watchmaking, which reminds us that time passes quickly and that our existence on Earth is insignificant.

Tempus Fugit… Should we let the world drown without more intervention than minimizing our impact on the environment by refraining from taking part in irresponsible actions? Is it conceivable to lock yourself in a workshop with no other goal than to have fun creating an ultimate piece that will best serve to transmit a profession that has become anecdotal? Can I allow myself?

Isn’t that too selfish? Instead of focusing on mechanical art since the age of eight, shouldn’t I have been involved in politics to try to change the world or rather follow my instincts as an explorer to discover its beauty and push for its preservation?

Instead of leading this fight, I spent my life creating objects and mechanisms out of time, out of this urgency to save the planet. And the moment I realize that time is running out, my only goal would be to condense all my research, unite my knowledge and concentrate my experience in one piece.

Shouldn’t I have spent all this time educating myself to do more useful research? Like finding solutions to consume less or exploring new renewable energies!

No, I persisted in obtaining the greatest possible precision with a mechanical resonator whereas the least quartz oscillator managed by electronics has a hundred times more precision than what we will ever do with mechanics.

But my madness leads me to the creation of exceptional objects that are much more emotional and vibrant and that’s what I like, that’s what suits me and that’s why I continue.

A piece that will make use of all mechanical technologies, a piece that will play with time! While our world is collapsing, I will seek to lock our universe in a web of gears and levers.

I am clearly suffering from a disease from another time. The one that involves spending your life summoned by an imperious need to do and create whatever the difficulties or the price to pay and without ever letting yourself be dictated.

It is not certain that our world can be saved by humans. For my part, I don’t know how to go about it, so I might as well do something beautiful and unique, an object that will retrace some 800 years of mechanical research. A piece that will respect the material and transcribe a vision of our universe.

A creation that will contain all the materials used in watchmaking and that will combine all the known techniques from the file and the chisel to the most modern additive techniques. It will animate all the planets of the solar system as well as their main satellites, 71 stars in all.

It will indicate the dates, the solstices, the equinoxes, the equation of time, the times of the world, the sunrises and sunsets, the tides and many other complications. An object that will regulate and arm a marine clock and will do the same for a watch containing a large number of complications.

An ode to mechanical art where no difficulty will be spared, where no mechanism will be forgotten, where the infinitely small will rub shoulders with the infinitely large, where the smallest pinion will be less than half a millimeter in diameter and the most Ferris wheel more than half a meter in diameter.

A unique creation! My workshop lends itself to the realization of such a project. For years I have fitted out a building where mechanics smells of oil, where the forge is ready to transcend matter, where machines for cutting stone, glass and metal are just waiting to be made. surprised by the difficulty of the task.

Where files, pliers, hammers, chucks are lined up like good little soldiers waiting for instructions from the hand. Where design and programming software only awaits direct contact with my brain, where the numerically controlled machine is ready to receive its binary orders.

It’s going to be extraordinary, I know it because I’ve already started and I only dream of one thing, to run to the workshop and take refuge in this cocoon where each tool has already spent hundreds of hours in my hands. , where each material, each machine has its own vibration, its own smell, where the energies that surround me are reassuring.

They will all be put to work for the final project, beyond time, beyond human excitement or despair. I also look forward to the well-being and the sharing with friends and friends, the craftsmen who will help me to make pieces that require sleight of hand or technological knowledge that I do not master.

No need to make the sketch or the final drawing which is usually used to explain the object before making it and possibly to propose it. Just the construction of different parts like the modules of a space station which will be improvised and adjusted directly on the object, in vivo.

When the idea is precise, there is no need for a drawing, its image manifests itself clearly in our minds, it will even evolve, will not freeze between the lines and will metamorphose according to my perception of the project over time.

Each atom of matter of each of the pieces will be in symbiosis with the universe that it will have to represent. Each action will be analyzed and critiqued to ensure that it makes sense in the final project.

Absorbed by the work and taken in the realization, one is dazed by the passion and each action seems to be the best and the most effective. It’s a bit like being inebriated, the lack of inhibition gives us a sense of transcending ourselves and makes our words and actions appear intelligent.

The reflection upstream of the work in the workshop does not spare the action which at any time can get carried away. It is therefore important to take a step back from the project, to analyse, to decide on its relevance and to consider what will happen next. Continue or start again… Do and undo!

The final object is only a pretext for me, it is the way to achieve it that fascinates me and it is the emotion that it will transmit if I finish it that delights me. | Posted on August 3, 2022 | Read 115 times

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