Four quadrant dating
It is from a company called Grandjouan (Great Toys) and according to various sources, including the solution sheet that came with my example, the burr is called Damier.Unfortunately no source I found has identified the designer or its date of production.
The box can apparently be filled either with only one, or both of them.The box can be packed only with the void in one particular position.From the evening of Friday August 18th through Sunday August 20th I was able to attend Jeff Aurand's Rochester Puzzle Party (RPP) - a get-together of puzzle people Jeff hosts at his home.According to sources, the puzzle was originally designed without the gap, but was released with the gap in order to reduce the difficulty level.Inserting the missing tile is simple, and the rotations of full rings of tiles works well.Here is a wooden "traditional" 18-piece burr from France.
It is a fairly simple construction, and it is not a copy of van der Poel's Grandfather Burr.
In addition, the name "Damier" has been applied to several different puzzles. Overall I think it is of satisfactory quality - it is pretty loose but it is hefty and seems decently made though an end cap is too easy to unscrew.
Here is yet another Cryptex variant that caught my eye - this one, according to the seller, is an official Sony Pictures replica of the Cryptex from the Da Vinci Code movie. I found an online reference at website listed on the back of the included instruction card).
The V-Sphere is a nicely packaged, well-made and colorful example of an established puzzle category, and ups the complexity ante with its side-by-side rows of tiles.
(This innovation is not unique, however, as a Russian puzzle dating from 1986 or earlier implemented dual rows of tiles - see this entry at the Twisty Puzzles Museum.) I find the selection of colors attractive, and the size and weight fit my hands well.
The sliding action of the tiles is smooth, and the "clickiness" serves to prevent overshoots.