MB&F has always been about collaborations with other watchmakers, designers and friends. Everything about the company revolves around these collaborations, which have led to the creation, over the 11 years of existence of the brand, of some of the boldest watches of modern days. But not only watches… These joint-ventures have also produced some ultra-cool pieces, such as music machines or even timekeeping UFOs, a mix between art sculptures and table clocks. After Destination Moon, Balthazar or Melchior, all of them inspired by space and sci-fi, here now is Octopod, the newest collab table-clock made with L’Epée 1839 – and this time we are taken into aquatic themes.
Until early 2017, most of the watches or clocks coming out of Max Büsser’s mind were mainly inspired by childhood souvenirs, focused on themes such as space, sci-fi comics or sports-cars – with the exception of the steampunk-oriented Legacy Machines. However, during the latest edition of the SIHH, MB&F came with an unexpected creation – unexpected mainly because of the inspiration that drove its design. The name of this piece was the HM7, an aquatic-inspired watch, with quite a bold and impressive design (really…) That same theme that inspired the brand’s first automatic watch returns on yet another collaboration piece made with clock-maker L’Epée 1839 (a long-term partner of MB&F for such pieces), with Octopod – the ultimate companion for your HM7 watch.
Let’s get things straight out of the box: Octopod is a completely crazy and totally desirable UTO (unidentified timekeeping object). With Octopod, MB&F continues its exploration of aquatic themes which started with the HM7 Aquapod, by creating an eight-legged, eight-day clock inspired by cephalopods, turning this into an artistic timekeeper – something that you’ll definitely be proud to display on your work-desk or your coffee table (and be sure that it will draw your guests’ attention).
As often with pieces made by MB&F and L’Epée, Octopod is fully articulated, and it stands or crouches thanks to its eight articulated legs. Each leg can be individually adjusted to varying heights, enabling Octopod to rest securely on the most uneven of surfaces, just like a real octopus. On top of this “standing-frame”, just like the sea-monster that inspired it, is a large and completely transparent spherical “head”… The brain of this table clock, and also its beating heart.
This “glass bubble” is gimballed, just like antique Marine Chronometers were (in order to remain in a flat position despite the pitching and rolling of the ship). In the case of the MB&F Octopod, the gimbal ensures that no matter the angle, it is easy to rotate the bubble so that the time display inside is at the ideal plane for maximum legibility.
Inside the “head” of Octopod is the entire movement, the brain and heart of the beast: the escapement and regulating organ of the clock is positioned on the minute arm, meaning that the entire beating-heart operates a 360-degree rotation every hour. Maybe not a real tourbillon (according to Breguet’s patent), yet this never standing position of the regulating organ still prevents the negative effects of having an immobile escapement. And besides the technical advantages of such a construction, it is, without saying, quite fascinating to look at.
As we’ve seen, on Octopod, time is indicated by the means of two arms (one of which actually also comprises the regulating organ) for the minutes, as well as another arrow-shaped arm, in black, for the indication of the hours. Also, when you look closely, you’ll discover the mystery of this movement, which seems to float inside the “head” of the octopus. Indeed, the whole calibre is placed on a transparent glass plate that has been treated with anti-reflective coating on both sides so that it is virtually invisible. As usual with MB&F x L’Epée pieces, the movement is carefully finished and decorated, with polished steel parts, Geneva stripes, straight brushing…
The new MB&F x L’Epée Octopod table-clock will be produced in 3 different colours (for the arms), in black PVD, blue PVD, and palladium (silver). Each edition will be limited to 50 pieces, with a retail price of CHF 35,000 (before taxes). And to be honest, I know there’s a certain futility in such pieces, however, I would love to have this time-indicating kinetic sculpture on my working-desk, staring at me when writing about the world of watches… More details on mbandf.com and lepee1839.ch.
Technical Specifications – MB&F Octopod Table Clock
- Body: Stainless steel, nickel and palladium plated brass frame – 309 components – 8 articulated legs each composed of 31 pieces – 28cm long × 28cm high (standing), 45cm long × 22cm high (crouching) – Weight: 4.2kg
- Sphere: 360° rotation in both vertical and horizontal planes – Two Polycarbonate hemispheres joined by a satin-finished three-piece band
- Movement: designed and manufactured by L’Epée 1839 – Baseplate in transparent mineral glass – 2.5Hz frequency – 8-day power reserve from a single barrel –
- Indications: Hours, minutes and finely counter-balanced regulator mounted on minute hand
- Availability: 50 pieces for each colour (black PVD, blue PVD, palladium)
- Price: CHF 35,000 (ex. taxes)