This seems like it will be a handy metaphor to pull out at some point. From Wikipedia: "The Astrarium, designed and built by Giovanni de'Dondi over a period of 16 years, was a highly complex astronomical clock and planetarium, constructed only 60 or so years after the very first mechanical clocks had been built in Europe, and demonstrated an ambitious attempt to describe and model the solar system with mathematical precision and technological sophistication."
Problem was that de'Dondi was using an earth-centric astronomical model. As a result, the Astrarium required amazingly complicated clockwork to recreate the motions of the planets. It shows that while technical brilliance can get you to the desired result, sometimes there's an alternative approach that would yield even better results with way less investment of effort.
Wikipedia article on de'Dondi and his Astrarium
Pictures of a working model