Nowadays, ships mostly navigate with modern technologies like GPS, but the complex precision of traditional chronometers still has to be admired. Inspired by that mechanical marvel, the Swiss design firm MB&F has again teamed up with manufacturer L'Epée 1839 to create a marine-themed, high-end table clock called the Octopod, with the inner movements contained inside a bathysphere-like bubble and mounted atop a set of eight articulated legs.
At a glance, the Octopod calls to mind the partnership's earlier creation, Arachnophobia. The piece stands on eight legs that can be individually articulated, each locking into place in an extended or standing position. To make sure the time can be clearly seen no matter what pose the Octopod is arranged in, the glass sphere can rotate 360 degrees, both vertically and horizontally. That kind of gimbal, the designers say, is reminiscent of classic maritime chronometers that needed to stay flat in the rolling waves, while the bubble itself was inspired by bathyspheres from sci-fi movies like The Abyss.
The transparent head gives a clear view of the Octopod's inner intricacies. The pulsating escapement – the cogs and machinery that precisely keep time – are mounted on the minute hand instead of a static plate, and it's designed so that the whole engine appears to be floating inside the bubble. That's achieved by attaching it all to a glass baseplate that bisects the sphere, with an anti-reflective coating on both sides to help hide its presence. According to MB&F, that piece of visual trickery is an homage to camouflage, the favored strategy of the clock's natural namesake.
Further earning its title, the Octopod can keep time for eight days before needing to be wound. It weighs a hefty 4.2 kg (9.3 lb), measures 28 cm (11 in) across and 28 cm tall when standing, and spreads out to 45 cm (17.7 in) wide and 22 cm (8.7 in) high when arranged in a fully crouched position.
The Octopod is available from specialty retailers in three different finishes, black, blue and silver, with a limited run of 50 units in each color. It's priced at CHF35,000 (US$36,200).
Take a closer look in the video below.