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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The MB&F Arachnophobia Spins A Web Of Time

Arachnophobia may be its name but there’s no reason to fear this high-precision clock that takes the form of a spider.

The clock represents the newest collaboration of two very different Swiss timepiece companies: The contemporary luxury watchmaker MB&F and the traditional high-end clock manufacturer L’Epée 1839.

The concept was conceived and developed by MB&F’s founder Maximilian Büsser and engineered and crafted by L’Epée. It was inspired by a giant spider sculpture called Maman (mother in French) that Büsser had seen in Geneva and Doha, created by Louise Bourgeois (1911 - 2010).

The new timepiece resembles a spider that can be displayed as a table or wall clock. It’s available in black or 18k plated gold and comprises no fewer than 218 components.

A L’Epée eight-day clock movement was re-imagined as the mechanical head and torso of a spider. The head houses the regulator with its oscillating balance wheel, while the other end contains the mainspring barrel, which powers the movement. 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.

Attached to the abdomen are eight 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, splayed flat for wall mounting, or the front legs can be moved forward while the six others maintain the standing position. With the legs fully extended the clock measures 405 mm. In order for it to be hung on wall, a catch was developed underneath the movement that hooks on to a stainless steel wall bracket.

Injection molding was used to create the parts for the legs. The material is first subjected to high heat and forced into the mold 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 gold-colored edition features gilded brass legs, while the black version’s legs are made of injection-molded aluminum, which is hand-finished and lacquered black.

The key winding and setting mechanism is on the underside of the spider.

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