As the SIHH draws closer, some new watches are being introduced and not only from the usual suspects (i.e. the Richemont Group brands). The independent watchmakers exhibiting at the ‘Carré des Horlogers’ are also getting in on the act. Christophe Claret is one of them, and as you might know, the brand is not shy when it comes to creating impressive pieces of haute horlogerie. For its second participation at the SIHH, the brand will unveil a watch that could almost be considered ‘entry-level’ by its own standards, and yet still boasts the exceptional expertise of this manufacture: the Christophe Claret Maestro.
The Christophe Claret Maestro is visually very similar to the style we have become used to from the brand over the the last few years, a technical and architectural piece of modern horology, however still relying on traditional codes of Swiss watchmaking. In the Maestro we can find design cues from the Soprano (Minute Repeater Tourbillon), the Allegro (Minute Repeater) and the Maestoso (Constant Force). However, even if the style and the design of the movement are quite similar, the new Christophe Claret Maestro is a much simpler watch, at least in comparison to these 3 masterpieces (and their quite hefty price tags). Fortunately the Maestro is in the same vein visually and in terms of finishing, but not in terms of complications and price. Still, it is far from being boring.
Indeed, the Christophe Claret Maestro is a simpler watch: no tourbillon, no striking mechanism, but still, its movement architecture alone deserves some attention. It begins with the famous Charles X style stepped and skeletonized bridges that have become a signature of the Maison through its various collections. The skeleton-working of the bridges can be seen on the ones supporting the escapement, the balance wheel (with a specific shape, adjusting masses and a blue or red coating, depending on the version) and finally on the large barrels that sit at 12 o’clock (two series-coupled barrels placed one on top of the other and delivering 7 days – 168 hours of power reserve). All the parts are finished in Claret’s usual and super style: sandblasted surfaces and large polished bevels, 26 internal angles. The beauty of this movement comes from the impressive 3D effect, as all the bridges are shaped to be in relief.
Apart from the display of the time (hours and minutes on the central axis), the Christophe Claret Maestro also incorporates a large date, displayed by two cone-shaped aluminum disks, one for the tens on the upper part and the second for the units. This patented large date display performs a semi-instantaneous jump between midnight and twenty past midnight. Its top is set with a natural ruby or a natural sapphire (depending on the version chosen). The other function is called MEMO, displayed at 4 by a second and smaller cone. Inspired by the expression “tie a knot in your handkerchief” to help one remember something important, MEMO is a mechanical reminder intended for absent-minded individuals as well as fans of technical gadgets. Once the objective has been met, a simple press on the pusher pivots the MEMO function, which will return to its initial position each night in a twenty-minute process driven by a semi-instantaneous jump system.
The back of the movement is also finished in a desirable way. The plates and bridges are coated in black and all the parts are finished with great attention to detail. This movement, in-house produced, measures a large 36.25mm diameter and 10.50mm thick, mainly because of the conic display of the date. Its balance-wheel with countersunk screws runs at 3Hz.
The Christophe Claret Maestro will be available in two versions: titanium grade 5 with blue accents and a movement coated in grey or 18k pink gold with red accents and a movement coated in pink gold. The case is more reasonable than you would imagine, with a 42mm diameter. The height is rather impressive though, with 16.06mm, mainly due to the massive and complex bubble-style sapphire crystal that sits on top.
The Christophe Claret Maestro is a limited edition of 88 pieces in each metal. It will be officially introduced during the SIHH 2017 and will be priced before taxes at 68,000 Swiss Francs (titanium) and 76,000 Swiss Francs (pink gold). christopheclaret.com.
We have been lucky enough to visit Christophe Claret while they were finishing the assembly of the first prototype. Here are the photos, and as you can see, this is quite a sculptural movement…