As watches go from the elite maison of Christophe Claret, the Kantharos is bordering on bargain basement. It starts at a mere CHF96,000. This is possibly because it was not necessary to completely reinvent the case for the watch. It is the same as that for the Christophe Claret Blackjack 21, Baccarat, and Soprano. Christophe Claret specialises in watches which are more like highly intricate mechanical rich boy’s toys rather than mere time telling devices. His Blackjack 21 watch complete with tiny but authentically detailed dice contained within a sapphire glass, caused gasps of admiration when it was launched a couple of years ago.
The Christophe Claret Kantharos, a monopusher chronograph with striking gongs, was launched earlier this year, again at Baselworld, and it is once again, and perhaps as expected, a tour de force of haute horlogerie expertise and high tech precision. An unusual ‘angry looking owl’ of a watch, it was apparently named after a stellar performer in the equestrian world, Kantharos, son of the renowned Coeur de Lion, is a thoroughbred with an outstanding track record.
Christophe Claret Kantharos features a constant-force escapement at 6 o’clock that ensures precision. The energy stored in the barrel is distributed evenly no matter how much the watch is wound. It acts a little like a time delayed vitamin C tablet by not giving you all the goodness in one dose but spreading it out evenly throughout the course of the day. The perpetually moving mechanism can be admired beneath a meticulously chamfered sapphire bridge.
The automatic-winding chronograph’s cathedral gong audibly chimes with each change of function – a clever concept invented and developed by Christophe Claret to help the wearer understand that a process has actually taken place, rather like a beep on a smart phone.
The sporty look of the watch is reinforced by the sporty concept behind it. Claret felt it was entirely logical to hear the chronograph when it stops and starts, in the same way that a boxer hears the bell, an athlete hears the starting gun, and a race horse at the starting gate. So short time measurements are triggered with a cathedral style gong hit by a sonnerie hammer for each change of mode, stop, start and reset.
The gong, located at 10 o’clock, is fitted with a patented system that prevents the gongs from vibrating against each other. As with all of Claret’s watches, the Kantharos is designed to be sensual, tactile and a lot of fun to explore and operate, as mentioned, it’s more than a watch, it’s a play thing to enjoy.
On the dial the titanium and ruby red indicators are enhanced with Super-LumiNova, while the chronograph seconds hand is an eye catching red. The numerals and hour markers are deliberately muted so as not to fight with everything else that is featured on the dial. Like many watches, the Kantharos dials are inspired by the dials in the cockpit of an aircraft.
There’s a pleasing 3-dimensional aspect to the look of the dial with its graduated steps, giving depth and dimension to the watch face. Colour co-ordination is another reason the watch looks so sexy. Everything has been considered so that colours blend or contrast to perfection and match with the watch strap.
Last but by no means least is the movement. It’s a self-winding mechanical movement equipped with the first ever components made from M-15X. Claret claims this material has never been previously employed in the watch industry. The movement, with no less than 558 parts, is fully integrated into the 45mm case, not built up layer by layer. It features 75 jewels and has a power reserve of 48 hours. Naturally it’s visible through the sapphire caseback.
With every last detail handcrafted to an obsessive degree, including polished internal angles and a balancing cock adorned with a brilliant-cut red ruby, you start to understand why at 90,000 Swiss Francs the Kantharos represents excellent value for money.
Christophe Claret Kantharos – Technical Specifications
REFERENCE : MTR.MBA13.903
Calibre: MBA13, automatic winding mechanical movement with chiming chronograph and constant force escapement
Dimensions: 31.6 x 10.56 mm (without gong) & 37.6 x 10.56 mm (with gong)
- Number of components: 558
- Number of jewels: 75
- Power reserve: 48 hours (approx.)
- Escapement: Swiss lever-type, 3 Hz (21,600 vib/h), constant force
Distinctive features: Anthracite rhodium-plated main plate and bridges, white or pink gold gears, depending on the version. Sapphire bridge with gold chatons
- Hours and minutes
- Mono-pusher chronograph
- Mechanical chime, each time the function is changed (start, stop, reset)
- Patented cathedral gong
- Constant-force mechanism visible at 6 o’clock on the dial side and underneath the sapphire bridge
- Platinum automatic weight
- Diameter: 45 mm
- Height: 15.83 mm
- Water resistance: 30 m (3 ATM)
- Grade 5 titanium (polished/satin-finished)
- Ruby red and black PVD hands
- Red chrono hand
- Rhodium-plated dial base with black PVD chrono appliques
More resources about the Christophe Claret Kantharos on Hodinkee, aBlogToWatch and Official Christophe Claret Website.