Phones | Technopolis

Celsius LeDix

Is this a wind-up? Actually, it’s the world’s first clockwork mobile phone

Celsius LeDix

Image: Hugh Threlfall

September 18 2010
Jonathan Margolis

You get to see all sorts of strange and interesting things in this line of work, and a goodly number of them, I find increasingly, seem to come from France. This beautiful, fascinating, chic and impressively impractical new mobile phone from a new company called – with a suitable lack of pretension – Celsius X VI II, is the oddest, and yet most lovable, frou frou French model I have ever been out with.

Indeed, I feel confident in saying that the Celsius X VI II LeDIX phone is the very one on which Marie Antoinette would have made her last phone call before her richly overdue date with M Guillotine. Well, perhaps not as such, but with a Celsius X VI II LeDIX to hand, she could, at least, have turned the thing on. How so? Because the Celsius X VI II LeDIX is the very first wind-up, clockwork mobile phone. Oh, and parts of the one pictured are made from wood – ebony wood, to be precise.

Now the philanthropic among you will immediately be going all Trevor Baylis and thinking, “Wow, this is the phone for the developing world.” Well, not… quite. The thing is, the LeDIX costs, er, £235,000, for which sum you can buy a very nice Ferrari. Plus there are only going to be 50 LeDIX phones made (some are one-offs).

The LeDIX is clockwork, but in a rather rarefied sense. It is really a watch/phone hybrid. The flying tourbillon movement evident through the noble mobile’s partially transparent casing is a rather enormous pocket watch. (Horological genius Richard Mille is on the Celsius X VI II board). So LeDIX is also the first phone I know of that ticks.

Each time you open the clamshell phone to make or take a call, you wind the movement, which also charges the phone’s battery. Which can keep you away from charging points permanently.

Phone-wise, LeDIX is nothing special – luxury mobile phones are all based on the Vertu conceptual template, which dictates that the kind of people who will buy them make phone calls, send occasional texts and do nothing else. So it’s a Sagem phone, with a nice, simplified operating system, good sound and ringtones. It’s not even 3G.

But I must emphasise that this is not just a diamond-encrusted show-off phone like some on the market; it has real design and construction integrity. It will probably go up in value rather than down. Mobile phone as investment? It had to happen.

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