When know-How becomes Art

INTRO


Time with eight legs, and mystery! MB&F + L’Epée 1839

Octopod continues MB&F's exploration of aquatic themes with an eight-leg, eight-day clock inspired by cephalopods, marine chronometers and The Abyss – blending contemporary design with kinetic sculpture and a transparent bubble filled with precision horology.

Conceived by MB&F and developed by Switzerland's premier clock maker, L’Epée 1839, Octopod 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.
 

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THE STORY


Octopod's idiosyncratic design derives from three aquatic sources: the highly intelligent octopus with its 'eight legs' (more on that below) provided the inspiration for the eight articulated legs, while the gimballed traditional marine chronometer inspired the partially gimballed sphere housing the clockwork and time display. And then there is the transparent bubble evoking memories of the bathysphere in James Cameron's 1989 sci-fi classic The Abyss.

The original sketch MB&F gave to L’Epée 1839 showed the movement 'floating' inside the transparent bubble, but this was more to allow the manufacture more latitude in developing the support structure for the clockwork, than an expectation that a 'floating' movement was actually possible. Not for the first time (nor hopefully the last), L’Epée 1839 went far and beyond the brief to create something even more exceptional than planned.

While MB&F came up with the concept and design of the Octopod, it was L’Epée 1839, Switzerland's premier clock maker, that developed the movement as well as the unusual transparent spherical case and articulated legs.
 

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INSIGHTS


The first thing to notice is that Octopod's transparent sphere is gimballed in a similar way to how traditional marine chronometers were gimballed – although on one axis rather than two – so that they remained flat despite the pitching and rolling of the ship. In Octopod's case, the gimbal ensures that no matter what angle or height it sits, it is easy to rotate the bubble so that the time display inside is at the ideal plane for maximum legibility.

The second thing the attentive eye will notice is that Octopod's pulsating escapement, which regulates the clock's precision, is located on its minute hand rather than the more usual (and mechanically simpler) position attached to stationary movement plates. While not technically a tourbillon according to Abraham-Louis Breguet's original patent, with its movement vertical, the 60-minute rotation of Octopod's regulator on the minute hand is closer to the primary aim of Breguet's invention. His intention was to rotate the escapement of a pocket watch sitting vertically in a fob pocket to average out positional errors, while wristwatch tourbillons are continually moving through all positions without requiring 360° rotations.

And thirdly there's the mystery of how Octopod's clockwork is suspended inside its crystalline sphere, so that it appears to be floating in space (or water). The baseplate of the movement is a transparent glass plate that has been treated with a film of anti-reflective coating on both sides so that it is virtually invisible. Like an octopus concealing parts of itself with camouflage, Octopod conceals parts of itself with visual tricks of its own.

Octopod’s eight-day movement is an entirely new development by L’Epée 1839, with both the glass baseplate and counterbalanced regulator posing particular challenges.

Time display and escapement on the minute hand

Octopod's standing leg position

The transparent sphere recalling marine chronometers

Octopod's extended leg position

SPECIFICATIONS

EXCLUSIVE LIMITED EDITION

Octopod is available in 3 limited editions of 50 pieces each in black PVD, blue PVD, and palladium (silver)

DESIGN & DISPLAY

Hours, minutes and finely counter-balanced regulator escapement mounted on minute hand.
309 components (body, legs and sphere)
 

DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT

28 cm long x 28 cm high (standing), 45 cm long x 22 cm high (crouching)
Weight: 4.2 kg

MOVEMENT

L’Epée in-house designed and manufactured movement
Baseplate in transparent mineral glass, anti-reflective coating both sides
Balance frequency: 2.5 Hz / 18,000 bph
Incabloc shock protection system protected by mineral glass
Power reserve: 8 days from single barrel

MATERIALS & FINISHING

Palladium-plated brass, stainless steel and nickel-plated brass
Two polycarbonate hemisphere dome Mineral glass plate

FEATURES

Articulation released by a button in each leg, can be locked in two positions (standing or extended)
360° sphere rotation in both vertical and horizontal planes

Manual winding: double ended key to set time and wind movement
 

THE COLLECTION


Reference

11.6000/101

Silver - Limited edition of 50 pieces

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Available within 4 weeks

Reference

11.6000/201

Black - Limited edition of 50 pieces

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Available within 4 weeks

Reference

11.6000/401

Blue - Limited edition of 50 pieces

Inquire
Available within 4 weeks