By Harlan Chapman-Green
This clock is something of an enigma for me. I hate spiders but I love mechanical clocks and watches, so where should I stand with this, the creepiest clock ever made? I’m not an arachnophobic, I recognise how spiders around the house can help keep away other nasties, and in fact I have no issues being near one the size of a money spider, but it’s when they get much bigger I want to set the house on fire to get rid of it. How do you think I felt when Aragog came on screen in Harry Potter?
Let’s look past the creepy long legs of this thing and to the body of the spider itself, this is where MB&F worked with a Swiss clock maker L’Epée a company that worked with MB&F on the Starlet Machine among others, it forms the unique triangle which includes MB&F, L’Epéee and Reuge, as all three of these companies work together to make amazing machines like no other. The design inspiration for the Arachnophobia actually came from a sculpture of a gigantic spider called Maman, which was designed by the late sculpture and artist called Louise Bourgeois. Of course, the Arachnophobia couldn’t be a 1-1 scale of Maman as she is 30 feet tall and 33 feet wide, but that’s okay with me, the less 30 feet spiders there on the planet, the better. Still, the Arachnophobia is 40cm in diameter which is chilling.
There’s only one barrel in this machine which gives it a total run time of 8 days before winding is needed, to add realism to the body of the spider, the balance wheel is placed at the head end of the body and the large barrel is at the other end, giving that rounded appearance most of us hate seeing. The time itself is displayed on a familiar rounded dome in the centre of the body of the spider, the going train system is built underneath it.
Here’s what the CEO of L’Epée, Arnaud Nicolas, has to say about the legs of this thing:
“When the legs come out of the injection mould, they are really rough and need a lot of attention to be as nicely finished as they are in the end, all of the finishing is accomplished by the hands of master finishers, who grind, satin-finish, polish, and then plate or lacquer the legs depending on the version.”
“The most important thing was to play with light on each one of the spider’s parts, some of the parts were sandblasted to continue the light play.”
The legs on the spider are attached by ball joints, meaning they can be rotated in their sockets to move the legs around as desired, in other words, to make it as scary as possible. They also made perhaps the worst invention possible for this, there’s a wall mount available so you can stick it to the wall and freak others out too, and don’t think there’s some sort of really long winding key for it so you can be in another country when you wind the clock, you have to pick the thing up and wind it via the ATTACHED key on the underside. MB&F says it’s to build a close relationship with it (why would you want a close relationship with a spider I have no idea), but really it’s a secret plan by them to sort the men from the boys in their customers.
I love the creativity of this piece and how it’s all been made with such care and detail, I just with they didn’t put all that care and attention into making it as creepy as possible, I’ll be checking over my shoulder for the rest of the day now…
For more info, please visit mbandf.com
HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN – CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
A keen bass guitar player, Harlan enjoys all the perks modern watchmaking technologies the industry has to offer. Although you might catch him sampling Omegas or the Rolex, Harlan loves all things Haute Horology, with his three favourite brands being Breguet, A.Lange & Söhne and Vacheron Constantin. He hopes to study timekeeping more in depth someday and will never be able to thank his father enough for introducing him to the industry. Read his articles here.