The last time the creative geniuses at MB&F released an eight-legged desk clock, they sent horology lovers with a fear of arachnids running for the nearest can of bug spray. Those same folks can rest easy this time around however, as the Octopod is inspired by aquatic life, and can’t be mounted menacingly on walls and ceilings ;).
The Octopod is a striking thing that MB&F says was inspired by cephalopods, marine chronometers and the amazing 1989 James Cameron film – The Abyss (I’ll come back to this shortly). As per usual, MB&F was responsible for conceptualising and designing the desk clock, while L’Epée 1839 handled the movement and overall execution.
Of course, this isn’t the first time the two companies have worked together on an eight-legged desk clock. In 2015, the two brands gave us one of the largest mechanical spiders we’ve seen in the incredible Arachnophobia (read our story here). The companies have also worked on several other projects and, in fact, gave us the out-of-this-world Destination Moon at Baselworld earlier this year (read our story here). It’s obvious Maximilian Büsser and his super-talented friends have no trouble at all with creativity.
Coming back to the design, MB&F says the Octopod’s eight articulated legs (each can be moved independently) were inspired by octopuses (though the brand also notes that octopuses have two legs and six arms), whereas gimballed marine chronometers inspired the partially gimballed sphere housing the movement and time display.
The movement and ‘clock face’ sit inside two polycarbonate hemispheres, which are combined into one cohesive piece by a satin-finished three-piece band. This, not only protects the mechanism but, rather ingeniously, also gives the Octopod a defining shape that, from an aquatic standpoint, is closest to an octopus. This entire section, according to MB&F was inspired by the bathysphere in James Cameron’s The Abyss.
As a long-time PC gamer, the Octopod also made me think of the massive Reaper ships in the Mass Effect games, as well as the Protoss Colossus in Starcraft II. In fact, the clock’s articulated legs allow you to pose the Octopod in a variety of ways (at its tallest it stands nearly a foot tall), which means you’ll be able to have a bit of a ‘play’.
L’Epée 1839 developed the Octopod’s manually-wound, 159-component movement, the transparent spherical case and articulated legs. The clockmaker is said to produce most of the components in-house, and manages the assembly and regulation of the clockwork. The movement has one barrel and when fully wound, offers eight days of power reserve.
MB&F explains that L’Epée faced two major challenges with Octopod; the first was finding a supplier for the glass baseplate that could work to the exacting requirements of the project. The Horological Lab notes that most of the companies cutting and drilling glass did not have experience in offering the precision demanded by this horological project.
The second challenge was adjusting the counterweight for the regulator-bearing minute hand in three dimensions. MB&F notes that originally, two counterweight screws were deemed sufficient however after testing, it was found that five tiny adjusters were necessary to ensure that the minute hand was perfectly balanced for optimal timekeeping precision.
MB&F’s Octopod is being offered in three limited editions of 50 pieces each; black PVD, blue PVD and palladium (silver). The international pricing for the desk clock is set at 35,000 CHF + tax, however you can expect marginally different pricing once it hits the M.A.D. Gallery Dubai, and other Middle Eastern retail outlets.
To read more about MB&F, click here.
To read more about L’Epée 1839, click here.