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DESIGN

Four Otherworldly Time-Telling Machines

DESIGN

Four Otherworldly Time-Telling Machines

A desk clock, sculptural bangle, automaton and aquapod from this year's Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève

by David Graver
on 19 January 2017

The art of clock- and watch-making continues to see substantial developments as technical skill-sets are passed from generation to generation and new ideas come to light. This year's Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH) luxury watch fair saw the unveiling of many extraordinary timepieces from brands, both well-known and emerging. Beyond wristwatches, however, several curious time-telling machines were presented. The following four continue to impress with their wild creativity. This is haute horlogerie at its finest—and these pieces come at a grand price. It's worth calling attention to each, though, as these artistic objects reimagine the presentation of time. When one thinks of a clock (or cuff watch in one instance) these are far from what usually comes to mind.

Jaeger-LeCoultre's Atmos 568 by Marc Newson

Continuing a collaboration that commenced back in 2008, industrial designer Marc Newson and luxury Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre have produced the Atmos 568 by Marc Newson. It's a variation on a Jaeger-LeCoultre icon, once again housed in an "extra-clear" Baccarat crystal case with a variation in thickness throughout. The dial appears to float at the center of the clock, and it's supported by a 211 component Caliber 568 movement. The Atmos 568 does more than tell time: it tracks the months and moon phases. Further, it's self-winding—powered by a gas system that expands and contracts as temperature fluctuates in the room where it sits. This clock retails for $26,800.

MB&F's Horological Machine No 7, HM7 Aquapod

Continuing on a path of unconventional, whimsical time-telling sculptures, MB&F has revealed their Horological Machine No 7, the HM7 Aquapod. MB&F's founder Maximilian Büsser drew inspiration from childhood jellyfish encounters—clearly visible in the new machine's design. At its core rests a 60-second flying tourbillon surrounded by a vertical, 3D movement with 303 components. And, of course, the machine glows in the dark. The HM7 Aquapod sells for 98,000 CHF.

Van Cleef & Arpels' Extraordinary Object: The Automate Fée Ondine

An automaton of mystical beauty, The Automate Fée Ondine by Van Cleef & Arpels is the first piece in their Extraordinary Object series. Time is told along the circular base of the piece, while the fairytale scene atop comes to life on demand. Van Cleef & Arpels employed artisans at 20 workshops in France and Switzerland to make the one-off item, but it's the vision of Swiss automaton-maker François Junod that brought the elements together. There is a manual-winding mechanical movement at its center and the materials range from enameled silver to gold, diamonds and Australian white opal. Price is available upon request.

Audemars Piguet's Diamond Outrage

The third and final piece in Audemars Piguet's Haute Joaillerie collection, the Diamond Outrage is just as much a sculpture as it is a cuff watch. There are two iterations: one with 9,923 brilliant-cut diamonds and 354 baguette-cut diamonds; one with 11,043 brilliant-cut sapphires. Both feature a series of gem-set 18k white gold stalactites at various sizes. Completely breathtaking and unlike anything else out there, this is a Quartz movement timepiece for dreamers. Pricing is available upon request.

Images courtesy of respective brands

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