Christophe Claret is known for creating innovative and highly complex movements for well-known brands. Since 1986, he is discovering new frontiers in high-end watchmaking for Breguet, Girard-Perregaux and many others. As recent as this year’s Baselworld, Christophe Claret delivered the movement for the Graham Tourbillon Orrery, a planetarium with tourbillon in the center and a-symmetrical dial. Another well-known example of Claret’s genius and expertise is the Harry Winston Opus 4. Claret delivered a 423-part movement combining a minute repeater with cathedral gong and a tourbillon.
His manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds is known as one of the best equipped in the world. From this base, Claret works according to his credo: “In watchmaking, everything has already been done, and everything has yet to be invented.” It goes without saying that his inventions focus on the most complex area’s in haute horology. In an online interview in 2011 Claret stated that “The tourbillon is the most simple movement of my production. It is a very nice complication, but for me it’s not very technical. This is why many people like to make tourbillon watches – to make money”. It sets the scene. Claret’s area of expertise is to be found north of the tourbillon.
In 2009, after 20 years of supplying movements to other brands, Claret introduced the first wristwatch under his own name: the DualTow. The DualTow features a planetary-gear, monopusher chronograph with an original striking mechanism signaling start, stop and reset function. Furthermore a tourbillon escapement and two rolling belts indicate the hours and minutes. The large tonneau case gives the watch an irreplacable look and established Cristophe Claret als a brand.
About two years later, Claret stunned the world with the X-TREM-1 watch: an different watch, and extreme both visually and technically. The name is an acronym, and stands for “Experimental Time Research Engineering Mechanism”. The watch presented a display system that is breaking with traditional wristwatch conventions on how to display time. Take a look at the Christophe Claret X-TREM-1. The dial and the hands, both quite necessary for reading time, do not exist. The movement is the centerpoint of the watch, with time indication on both sides, left the hours, right the minutes. Next to it, Claret positions two sapphire crystal tubes with steel balls moving up to the right hour and minute. Magnetic fields take care of movement of the balls, which gives the illusion of a movement without mechanical connections.
Apart from the illusion, it must have been very difficult to involve magnetic fields in the construction of a mechanical watch, as magnetics will somehow influence the precise operation. It is really exciting how these two aspects have come together in the Christophe Claret X-TREM-1.
Back to the movement. Claret uses the Caliber FLT11, with a titanium curved plate and a flying tourbillon in a 30-degree angle positioned underneath the movement. The watch has a 50-hour power reserve, and is operated by two fold-out crowns on the back. To operate the watch, you have to take it off!
The Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 uses titanium for both casing and many aspects of the movement. Claret is known for his preference for titanium and steel over gold and platinum. As an expert in minute repeaters his preference is understandable. Gongs have a much better sound within a titanium case. However, within the X-TREM-1 the choice for titanium will mainly be influenced by the combined complexity of the magnetics and the mechanics.
Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 – Pricing
The case measures 40.8 mm wide and 56.8 mm tall, making it looking rather modest when compared with the DualTow. Claret has combined titanium with either white gold, red gold and platinum, and delivers each combination in a series of 8. The strap is available in a special leather, that looks like rubber. Depending on the exact choice of materials, the Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 is priced between 250-300.000 swiss francs.
An Extreme version of the X-TREM-1 was presented in early 2013: the Pinball. The Pinball, a unique piece, was auctioned at this year’s ONLY WATCH 2013 charity event in september. It was not the first time Claret choose gambling as a subject for his watches. In 2011 the “21 Blackjack” was introduced and is part of the collection ever since. the Pinball certainly has resemblance with a pinball machine. With blue strap and case, and a large “tilt” button, the watch is certainly an eye-catcher but lacks the “techno-innovative” image, which makes the “standard” X-TREM-1 unique such a specialty.
Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 – Technical specification
- Rectangular with curvex profile
- 40.8 mm x 56.8 mm x 15 mm
- Polished white gold/anthracite PVD with satin-brushed middle and bead-blasted back
- Water resistance: 3 ATM/ 30m/ 100 ft.
Dial and Hands:
- Mystery hours and minutes displayed on each side of the case
- Indications provided by hollowed steel spheres moving 23 mm inside two cylindrical sapphire tubes
- Seconds displayed on tourbillon cage
- Mechanical, hand-wound movement
- Calibre: FLY11
- Dimensions: 26.6 x 46.4 x 11.94 mm
- Number of parts: 419
- Number of jewels: 64
- Power reserve: 50+ hours
- Flying Tourbillon inclined at 30 degree supported by a double ceramic bearing
Strap and Buckle:
- Black hand-sewn alligator leather or rubber-touch leather fitted with an innovative two-screw fastening system
- Titanium folding clasp with gold buckle
- Super-LumiNova along the side of the caseband enables time reading in the dark.