MB&F collaborated with L’Epée 1839, Switzerland’s premier clock maker, to create the Orb, a futuristic and transformable table clock that will be available in two limited editions of 50 pieces each, in white or black.
Spherical when closed, the Orb is composed of a clockwork in palladium-plated brass and stainless steel surrounded by four elytra (the technical word for a beetle’s protective wing covers) that not only open up, but can also swivel like a transformer to display the Orb in a variety of different positions. Crafted from aluminium and covered with handmade lacquer, these curved surfaces are shiny and particularly pleasing to the touch.
The Orb can be displayed in several ways. Placed on its saucer so it doesn’t roll away, it can be displayed completely closed or with one, two or three opened elytra. Alternatively, opening all four elytra allows to display the clock without the saucer.
The four elytra are soldered to the structure with torque hinges so they can retain their angle however little or wide they are opened. When closed, the elytra are held in place with four tiny magnets on the interior of each tip to keep the shape of a perfect sphere.
Measuring 17 cm in diameter when closed or 30 cm when completely opened, the Orb is powered by a hour-striking movement in-house designed and manufactured by L’Epée 1839. Beating at the frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour, it offers an ideal power reserve of 8 days.
The clock features two barrels, one for the time and the other for the striking of the hours, that are wound separately. The hour mechanism doesn’t just chime the passage of the hour, but indicates the actual hour, like a church clock. This function can also be repeated on demand via a button on the side of the clock, or turned on and off if required.
The architecture of this hand-wound calibre can be admired through the curved aluminium dial covered by a domed mineral glass, which has a hole in the centre to allow the setting of the time with a special key.
Comprised of 165 parts, the Orb by MB&F and L’Epée 1839 has a total weight of 1.9 Kg and retails at CHF 30,700.