13:41Frank Buchwald / Nixie Machine by @mbfmadgallery
“Wow!” When art has that wow factor, it is because the painter, writer or musician has managed to express their craft and explore their subject in a manner rarely, if ever, witnessed before.
The work of German artist Frank Buchwald definitely has the wow factor.
Over the past decade, Frank has developed a highly distinctive form of artistic expression – he handcrafts sculptural lighting objects featuring blackened steel, brushed brass and glowing lights. His stunning retro-futuristic designs bear four legs and body-like symmetry, and look as though they have stepped straight from a sci-fi movie – not surprising since he was previously a science fiction illustrator. When you set eyes on one of his creations, you immediately know it is made by Frank and inevitably say to yourself: “Wow!”
It is difficult to imagine a standout artist like Frank being able to stand out even more, but he has managed it with his latest creation, Nixie Machine – a jaw-dropping, sculptural clock featuring six beautifully glowing Nixie tubes.
It is not just the fact this 12-piece limited edition is Frank’s first horological creation since he started creating furniture and other objects out of steel over 20 years ago; it is the warmly glowing six-digit display, formed by luminous Nixie tubes, that make Nixie Machine particularly eye-catching.
These Nixie tubes are something really special. Incredibly well preserved and extremely rare, they were manufactured by RFT in East Germany during the 1960s and have been stored for decades in a sealed Bulgarian army depot. At around 90mm in height, these Z568M models are among the largest ever made.
This ‘new old stock’ was sourced by Nixie connoisseur Alberto Schileo who, via MB&F , approached Frank to see if he would consider incorporating them into a clock crafted in his signature “heavy engineering” style. Frank had no hesitation in saying: “I’ll do it!”
Alberto was also responsible for sourcing the electronic circuit board powering Nixie Machine's visually arresting display. Nixie Machine has a variety of time and date formats, and different ways of displaying those, including fading effects and even a programmable flip-over effect where the digits count fast from one digit to the next, like the reels of a slot machine.
The radiant discharge of the Nixies coupled with the assertively engineered structure makes Nixie Machine, in the words of Frank, a veritable “altar of time”. You can make a pilgrimage to this temporal shrine by visiting the MB&F M.A.D.Gallery in Geneva… and get ready to say: “Wow!”
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