This time, the latest horological machine coming out of MB&F’s high tech lab in Geneva reminds us a creepy creature that injects fear to our minds whenever it comes across.
The name ‘Arachnophobia’ itself indicates how powerful is the new creation from the Geneva based watch brand which is established since 2005 and produces extreme horological machines. Named Arachnophobia, which means fear of spiders, this eye-catching three-dimensional sculpture, which is also an impeccably finished table (and wall) clock, was conceived and developed by MB&F, and engineered and crafted by L’Epée 1839 – Switzerland's only specialised high-end clock manufacture.
Arachnophobia was inspired by a giant spider sculpture called Maman that Büsser had seen in both Geneva and Doha. Maman (mother in French), was created by Louise Bourgeois (1911 - 2010) in bronze, stainless steel, and marble. Measuring 9.27 x 8.91 x 10.24 metres (more than 30 x 33 feet), the monumental sculpture has been installed in a variety of locations around the world.
At either end of Arachnophobia's time-displaying abdomen, important mechanical processes take place: the head houses the regulator with its oscillating balance wheel (and a set of jaws in case it gets peckish at night), while the other end contains the mainspring barrel, which powers the movement. Attached to the abdomen are eight, visually enticing legs articulated where they join the body by ball-and-socket joints. The legs can be rotated so that Arachnophobia can stand tall on a desk or splayed flat for wall mounting. A third position provides an optical treat for fans of large arachnids: the front legs can be moved forward while the six others maintain the standing position, an interesting and alarming posture that says, look out!
Arachnophobia comprises no fewer than 218 components; each one (except the jewels) machined and finished at L’Epée’s Swiss atelier.
Manufacturing realistic legs to faithfully replicate MB&F’s unusual design was no easy task. L’Epée had to find a solution for the legs that ensured that they would be both realistic-looking and articulated. The legs also had to conform to the standards of high watchmaking in that they could be nicely finished by hand. L’Epée came up with the novel solution of injection moulding metal to obtain the precise geometry needed. Injection moulding is a process of manufacturing components by injecting material (in this case metal) into a mould. The material is first subjected to high heat, then forced into the mould cavity. It then cools to the desired shape before being removed from the mould. While this is a very common process for shaping plastics, it is less common for shaping metals.
The hours and minutes are read on a high dome representing the spider's body, with rotating curved hands indicating hours and minutes on a polished, central dome featuring MB&F’s signature numerals.
The movement’s regulating organ features an Incabloc shock protection system, which minimises the risk of damage when the clock is being transported. This type of shock protection is generally only seen in wristwatches. The index mechanism for fine-tuning the timing, along with the other components of this all-important high-precision subassembly, are clearly visible on the head.
The movement features superlative fine finishing of the type generally found on the finest wristwatches, including Côtes de Genève, anglage, polishing, sand-blasting, and circular and vertical satin finishing. However, finely finishing a clock movement is far more challenging than finishing a wristwatch because of the greater surface areas of the larger components.
The underside of the spider is the key (quite literally) to winding and setting Arachnophobia.
Arachnophobia is available in black and 18k yellow gold-plated editions.
Hours and minutes: curved hands rotate to indicate hours and minutes on a polished, central dome featuring MB&F’s signature numerals.
L’Epée in-house designed and manufactured movement.
Balance frequency: 18,000 bph / 2.5Hz
Power reserve: 8 days
Total components: 218
Incabloc shock protection system
Mechanism in palladium-plated brass or gold-plated brass
Winding: key winding and setting on underside of clock
Movement finishing: includes Côtes de Genève, anglage, polishing, sand-blasting, circular and vertical satin finishing
Dimensions: 203 mm in height (legs extended); clock diameter (legs flat) 405 mm; movement dimensions 75.3 x 134.9 x 63.8 mm
Weight: gold-plated version 1.96 kg; black version 0.98 kg
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