Octopod

MB&F + L’EPÉE 1839

Overview

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 sphere filled with precision horology.

Conceived by MB&F and built by L’Epée 1839, Octopod stands or crouches thanks to its eight articulated legs. However, the real horological magic and mystery take place in Octopod's completely transparent spherical ‘head'.

The first thing to notice is that Octopod's transparent sphere is gimballed in a similar way to traditional ship chronometers. The second thing is the pulsating escapement, regulating the clock's precision, located on its minute hand rather than the more usual position attached to stationary movement plates.

Last but not least, 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. Like an octopus concealing parts of itself with camouflage, Octopod conceals parts of itself with visual tricks of its own.

more pictures in press section

the machine

Display

  • Hours, minutes and finely counter-balanced regulator mounted on minute hand.

Engine

  • L’Epée in-house designed and manufactured movement
  • Baseplate in transparent glass, anti-reflective coating both sides
  • Balance frequency: 2.5 Hz / 18,000 bph
  • Power reserve: 8 days from single barrel
  • Components movement: 159
  • Jewels: 19
  • Manual-winding: the double-depth square socket key sets time and winds movement

Body/Frame

  • Frame: Stainless steel, nickel and palladium plated brass
  • Components (body, legs and sphere): 309

Legs

  • 8 legs each composed of 31 pieces
  • Articulation released by a button in each leg, can be locked in two positions (standing or extended)

Sphere

  • 360° rotation in both vertical and horizontal planes with 3 sand-blasted and satin-finished brass rings.
  • Two polycarbonate hemispheres joined by a satin-finished three-piece band.

Dimensions and weight

  • Dimensions: 28 cm long x 28 cm high (standing); 45 cm long x 22 cm high (crouching)
  • Weight: 4.2 kg
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Articulated Legs

8 articulated legs each composed of 31 pieces. The articulation, released by a button inside each leg, can be locked in two positions: standing or extended.

New movement

Octopod's pulsating escapement is located on its minute hand rather than the more usual position attached to stationary movement plates. The baseplate of the movement is an invisible transparent glass plate.

360° rotation

360° rotation in both vertical and horizontal planes is inspired by marine chronometers; the gimbal ensures that no matter what angle or height Octopod sits, it is easy to rotate the sphere and ensure a maximum time legibility.

L’EPEE 1839

Epée 1839

For over 175 years, L'Epée has been at the forefront of watch and clock making. Today, it is the unique specialised manufacture in Switzerland dedicated to making high-end clocks.

L'Epée was founded in 1839, initially to make music box and watch components, by Auguste L’Epée who set up the business near Besançon, France. L'Epée is now based in Delémont in the Swiss Jura Mountains. Under the guidance of CEO Arnaud Nicolas, L’Epée 1839 has developed an exceptional table clock collection, encompassing a range of sophisticated classic carriage clocks, contemporary design clocks (Le Duel) and avant-garde, minimalist clocks (La Tour). Complications include retrograde seconds, power reserve indicators, perpetual calendars, tourbillons and striking mechanisms – all designed and manufactured in-house. Ultra-long power reserves have become a signature of the brand.

www.lepee1839.ch

inspiration

inspiration

Octopod's idiosyncratic design derives from three aquatic sources: the highly intelligent octopus with its eight tentacles 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. The transparent glass bubble evokes memories of bathyspheres in sci-fi classics such as James Cameron's 1989 The Abyss.

The original sketch MB&F gave to L’Epée 1839 showed the movement 'floating' inside the glass bubble, but this was to allow the manufacture more latitude in developing the support structure for the clockwork, rather 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.

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