An inordinate fondness for molluscs…

Perhaps it’s their multi-limbed nature, or perhaps it’s just because watch brands seem keen to borrow ideas from each other, but there really does appear to be an inordinate fondness for Cephalopod molluscs…

Kenzo Nautilus

Nautili: In the beginning, there was the Dreadnought, a German-built, English-designed dive watch from Time Factors. However, there was a crypto-cephalo version produced in Germany under the name of the Kenzo Nautilus, a 500m automatic, powered by the ETA 2824-2 (shown here in the PVD version). The model was not without issue, as the Nautilus moniker had been used by Patek Philippe since 1976; even the Kenzo name was subject to some legal challenge. I’m not even sure whether this model is still available, as it’s not listed as being for sale on the Kazimon ‘site (the photo comes from the Magrette website). Of course, both of these watches were named  after the eponymous cephalopod: a remarkable, seldom-seen marine creature whose common name was derived from the Greek ναυτίλος, meaning ‘sailor’. Ironic then that it has been applied to a dive / sport watch.  Regarding the Patek Philippe Nautilus, I don’t believe I saw a new men’s model this year, although there were a couple of ladies’ versions at Baselworld 2011.

Octopuses: The story of octopus watches is long and rich, reflecting perhaps the fascination that we seem to have with this beautiful and intelligent creature. It covers masterpieces such as the skeletonised Kudoke KudOktopus, the overly designed Corum Classical Octopus, and the frankly frightening Andrew Vorontsov Octopus, as well as a host of tool / dive watches, such as the sub-a-like Kemmner Octopus 2,000m, the 300m WR Halios Bluering and the cheap as calamari Android Octopus, with 200m WR and dual crowns. Of these watches, the recently announced KudOktopus is possibly the most intriguing.

The Kudoke KudOktopus

Stefan Kudoke is a young master-watchmaker, who cut his teeth at Glashutte, before working in the service departments of various well-known brands. He has since returned to his roots, deigning and building exquisitely individual pieces that explore the art of skeletonisation to the limits of what is possible. The KudOktopus is (perhaps) the pinnacle of this art: a watch that manages to convey the flexible armature of the octopus into the rigid plates of the movement to startling effect. Modelled in rose gold and rhodium and interwoven into the Unitas 6498 manual-winding movement, the skeletonised dial and back plate is visible through sapphire crystal front and back. Blued steel hands are visible, but there is no date, no running seconds or additional complication. Simply time. And the octopus, its gold head sitting proudly above the hands.

The Linde Werdelin Oktopus Tattoo

As illustrated above, there seems to be a dichotomy in the watch world between octopus watches for diving and octopus watches for admiring. Perhaps the only brand to successfully bridge the gap is Linde Werdelin, with their Oktopus Tattoo model. Based on the successful Oktopus model, the Tattoo marries horology and body art, by etching an original octopus design by award-winning Danish tattoo artist Henning Jørgense onto the case. I have seen this piece a number of times now, and each time it seems to get better. According to Linde Werdelin, “the complexity of the tattoo patterns meant it was practically impossible to realise the case design for the Tattoo watch in sketches. We had no choice but to start using 3D modelling from a very early stage for the mock-ups to see how the 2-dimensional tattoo patterns on paper would flow well on the various facets of a 3-dimensional Oktopus watch case. We painstakingly went through numerous SLA (3D-layering) prototypes and engraved countless aluminium blocks just to develop the case design.” The result is a watch that combines the charm of a skeletonised or decorated dial with the tool aspects of a dive watch. A rather neat trick, I hope you’ll agree. The Tattoo was limited to 82 pieces and water resistant to a rather exact 1,111m. 

I’m sure I’ve missed off a few – please feel free to suggest more octopus / squid or nautilus-related watches in the Comments section. 

the #watchnerd

A note: this isn’t an exhaustive list of mollusc-related watches. Rather, it tries to highlight the breadth of watches available to those of a tentacular nature. For example, I haven’t mentioned the Orsa Monstrum, which has a giant squid on the caseback, as it’s not named after a cephalopod… 
the #watchnerd
The #watchnerd: the most interesting watch 'blog you've never read. Probably.

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