TriPod marks the 13th collaboration between MB&F and Swiss clockmaker L’Epée 1839. This year, a hybrid insect/robot table clock with three spindly legs and three spherical magnifying eyes crawls into the limelight to herald the novelties of MB&F for 2020. Three is the magic number for MB&F’s latest Robocreature – it is a three-way collaboration project (MB&F, L’Epée and Maximilian Maertens), it is the thematic design thread of TriPod, and it also signals MB&F’s goal to produce a trilogy of Robocreatures.
MB&F’s Menagerie of Robocreatures
Fast on the heels of last year’s T-Rex, a Jurassic Park-inspired table clock with realistic dinosaur legs and a sunken Murano glass dial (revisited a few months ago in bronze), MB&F expands its menagerie of out-of-this-world hybrid creatures that only a fervid imagination like Max Büsser’s and his friends could dream up. As you all know, MB&F stands for Max Büsser and Friends and Büsser’s friend, Maximilian Maertens, came up with the idea for TriPod and T-Rex, both inspired by his childhood obsession with Jurassic Park. According to Maertens, the slender legs of the clock were inspired by a Gerridae, an insect (known as a water strider) that uses its long, articulated legs to maximise surface tension and walk on water. Although Maertens’s idea of relying on three spindly legs might have resulted in instability, the balance of TriPod’s legs is perfectly calculated to sustain the weight of the clock’s mechanism.
In Series of three
The three legs support a central cylinder containing the heart of the Robocreature. The movement is shielded with a translucent acrylic canister in neon blue, neon green or neon red. Three bug eyes made of precision lens-quality glass are placed on the upper deck and peer over the two concentric rotating time discs to reveal the time from three different positions. According to Arnaud Nicolas, CEO of L’Epée 1839, the mineral glass spheres were one of the greatest challenges in the process. The spheres had to be placed at an optimal distance and had to have an optimal size; large enough to amplify the time but not too large to disrupt the design.
To read the time on TriPod, you have to look down into the clock and select one of the three magnifying eyes. The black outer disc displays the hours, while the inner disc displays the minutes. However, the fact that there are three possible positions to read the time means that the dial has to have three sets of hour numerals (1-12), which in turn means that the dial completes a full rotation in 36 hours instead of 12. Obviously, three hour markers were also needed to signal the current time, and the three markers on the periphery complete this function. Same goes for the three separate sets of minutes numerals, which are on a second disc and arranged in increments of 15.
TriPod measures 26cm in height, is made of palladium-plated brass and weighs 2.8 kg. Inside the fluorescent acrylic cylinder is a 360-degree view of L’Epée’s fascinating manual-winding movement. Once again, the thematic ‘three’ is at work and L’Epée’s clockmakers have designed the movement to have three distinct levels. Although you might think that making the larger-sized components of a table clock is easier than making the smaller components of a wristwatch, the fact is that the finishes are much more time-consuming. Composed of 182 parts, the movement has a vertical balance wheel beating at 2.5Hz, and when fully wound, it offers a robust 8-day power reserve. TriPod is also fitted with an Incablock shock-protection system to minimise the risk of damage when the clock is being transported, or when it tries to crawl surreptitiously off the mantlepiece in the middle of the night. TriPod comes with a double-ended key to set the time and to wind the movement.
TriPod is a limited edition of 50 pieces each in neon blue, neon green and neon red. Prices will be CHF 24,500. For more information, please consult the MB&F website.