Christophe Claret - Exquisite Timepieces

How can one continue innovating in light of the extraordinary wealth represented by the watchmaking heritage? Which new challenges should one take on when 18th century watchmaking virtuosos have already accomplished so much in the realm of time measurement? Such are the questions encapsulated in Christophe Claret’s creations since the founding of his Manufacture in Le Locle just over 30 years ago. While he cultivates a fascination for the Renaissance, its aesthetics and its currents of thought, he drew inspiration from the golden age of chronometry for the in-house development and construction of Angelico: his new eminently technical timepiece.


Writing a new chapter in the history of Fine Watchmaking, the Angelico model is a contemporary tribute to the quest for absolute precision embodied by the 18th century marine chronometers. For the very first time in a wristwatch, Christophe Claret has taken up the challenge of combining a tourbillon with a long detent escapement with a cable-type fusee transmission system. This mechanical feat broadening the horizons of traditional horology is complemented by an instant-jump dual-time display complete with day/night and 72-hour power-reserve indications.

Named after Italian Renaissance “painter of angels”, Fra Angelico, this timepiece celebrates the noble pedigree of the watchmaking art. An art that deserves a capital A: truly “Art for Art’s sake”, according to Christophe Claret. A majestic embodiment of the traditional watchmaking art.


Successfully equipping a wristwatch with a tourbillon featuring a traditional long detent escapement, a mechanism originally designed to operate in a perfectly stabilized position, is an authentic challenge taken on by the watchmakers of the “Soleil d’or” Manufacture.


Regarded as the quintessence of chronometric precision, this type of detent escapement first appeared in the 18th century, at a time when watchmakers were competing to create a time-measuring instrument of maximum precision, serving to determine a ship’s exact geographical position at sea. Incorporated into marine chronometer mounted on gimbals, this mechanism demonstrated exemplary reliability in long-term navigation – its only weakness being extreme sensitivity to lateral impacts, which is incompatible with the all-important sturdiness required for wear on the wrist.


We have already had the Blackjack and Baccara, now comes Poker, the latest addition to Christophe Claret’s trilogy of gaming watches. Christophe Claret’s fertile imagination has managed to devise the mechanism for this sophisticated card game and enclose it within a case just 45mm in diameter. For up to three players, there are an incredible number of gameplay possibilities. While he revels in taking on the most improbable challenges, Christophe Claret also likes to combine grace with utility.



Poker was actually to be the first of the gaming timepieces launched by Manufacture Claret. While the game seems simple to organize on a table, its watchmaking version is an extreme test and no technical solution had been found until Mr Christophe Claret himself came up with the answer. While the first prototype was working in 2011, it required two years to perfect the intricate complication. Devising the gearing and bringing it all together in a mechanical movement – in other words, orchestrating a complete 52-card game following the rules of poker – is a real feat, one which offers Haute Horlogerie exciting new technical prospects. In total, Poker packs in 32,768 different combinations, i.e. 98,304 combinations for three players. The probabilities have been calculated so that everyone has approximately the same chances of winning.


This is how the PCK05 movement came into being. This completely original automatic-winding in-house caliber comprises no fewer than 655 components, and features two mainspring barrels that provide approximately 72 hours of power. There are bound to be some late nights! But no need to worry, as well as its gaming functions, Poker has not abandoned its time display role, with two central hands providing excellent legibility.

Four years after unveiling the X-TREM-1 timepiece, the watchmaker from Le Locle reveals two new versions in blue damascened steel, issued in 8-piece limited edition. X-TREM-1, the first of a generation of exceptional timepieces, represents a major technical and aesthetic accomplishment: a flying tourbillon inclined at a 30° angle, mounted on a three-dimensional curvex titanium mainplate, equipped with a retrograde hours and minutes display system that is radically different from existing watchmaking conventions. Two tiny hollowed steel spheres, isolated within cylindrical ring-bound tubes on the left and right sides of the caseband, magically move with no mechanical connection thanks to magnetic fields.


The Extreme Complications Watches line certainly deserves its name. It expresses Christophe Claret’s determination to continue pushing the boundaries of mechanical watchmaking, integrating certain fields of research never previously applied in this domain. X-TREM-1 is a fine example of this approach that involves using a system driven by magnetic fields to display the hours and minutes.



The challenge was bold and some might say a little crazy: How could someone possibly think about introducing a magnetic field – the arch enemy of horological mechanisms – into the heart of a watch? The Christophe Claret team has done just that by creating a system where two small steel spheres – hollowed to make them lighter and encased within two Cylindrical ring-bound tubes placed to the right and left of the caseband – are controlled by precision magnetic fields generated by two miniature magnets moved by cables. The cables are incredibly flexible, made from hundreds of Dyneema nanofibers all contained within an ultra-high-strength polyethylene gel, capable of withstanding tensile forces of up to a kilo. The entire thread is thinner than a human hair (4 hundredths of a mm in diameter). The resistance of the thread has been tested in the Manufacture Claret on an accelerated-wear simulator corresponding to 60 years of operation.


This emblematic celebration of Mexican culture inspired Christophe Claret for this new version. A fully diamonds set skull, with an octagonal emerald, pigeon’s blood ruby eyes and the tourbillon enhanced with an emerald, symbol of el dia de los muertos, takes place on this new X-TREM-1. The beads, indicating the time, have been revised in the colors of Mexico.



Driven as ever by a determination to present avant-garde timepieces, black grade 5 PVD titanium were the metals chosen to make the case of this new version of the X-TREM-1. The sapphire tubes have been replaced by cylindrical ring-bound tubes housing mobile stainless steel spheres indicating the time.


The Extreme Complications Watches line certainly deserves its name. It expresses Christophe Claret’s determination to continue pushing the boundaries of mechanical watchmaking, integrating certain fields of research never previously applied in this domain. X-TREM-1 is a fine example of this approach that involves using a system driven by magnetic fields display the hours and minutes.


The challenge was bold and some might say a little crazy: How could someone possibly think about introducing a magnetic field – the arch enemy of horological mechanisms – into the heart of a watch? The Christophe Claret team has done just that by creating a system where two small steel spheres – hollowed to make them lighter and encased within two tubes placed to the right and left of the caseband – are controlled by precision magnetic fields generated by two miniature magnets moved by cables. The cables are incredibly flexible, made from hundreds of Dyneema nanofibers all contained within an ultra-high-strength polyethylene gel, capable of withstanding tensile forces of up to a kilo. The entire thread is thinner than a human hair (4 hundredths of a mm in diameter). The resistance of the thread has been tested in the Manufacture Claret on an accelerated-wear simulator corresponding to 60 years of operation.


The spheres have no mechanical connection with the movement, with each one floating inside the two tubes and creating outstanding horological magic. This technology was developed with the School of Business and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD) in Yverdon-les-Bains, and a team headed by Professor Besson.


The entire construction and finishing of this timepiece meets the extreme demands systematically imposed by Christophe Claret. Ultra-light titanium was used for the three-dimensional curvex mainplate and the bridges. The flying tourbillon is fitted with double ceramic bearings to enhance its shock-resistance. It is inclined at a 30-degree angle in order to make it even more clearly visible to the wearer.

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