When devising his newest piece, Maximilian Maertens was drawn to a rather unexpected inspiration: Jurassic Park. The designer for Swiss watchmaker MB&F looked to his favorite childhood movie when conceiving the Robocreature family of clocks, a trio of mechanically influenced pieces with spindly legs and futuristic faces, whose lifelike forms feel at once machine-like and sprightly.
MB&F recently teamed with Switzerland’s noted clockmaker L’Epée 1839 to debut the newest addition to the Robocreature trilogy, the TriPod table clock—an insect-like creation made of plated brass. Around 10 inches tall, the TriPod clock stands on three thin legs, which support a colored “body” and three glass spheres as “eyes.” To read the time, one gazes through the glass eyes to magnify the clock’s subtle numerals. Creating optical-grade spheres was critical, and rare—a ball of glass rarely has such precision and tolerance. And there are only three limited editions of 50 pieces, available in bright blue, green, and red.
Maertens explains that the TriPod design imitates a water strider, the leggy insect that can walk on ponds and lakes. This striking silhouette also references the amber-preserved mosquito that provides the DNA for dinosaur creation in Jurassic Park. “It feels much like a levitating insect walking over the water, and this inspired me to create something that looks very delicate,” he says. Though Maertens admits achieving such a look was an engineering challenge, the solid result deceives its fragile appearance. But the TriPod clock is a case study in contradictions, managing to convey both a nostalgic spirit and unmatched engineering integrity. And, perhaps above all, they are beyond simple timepieces—they look and feel alive.