Looking back at this year’s fairs, SIHH and Baselworld, there were quite some impressive watches, however I found it difficult to pinpoint the most impressive ones. I guess a case of “information overload”. Now, a few months later, there’s one that actually made a spectacular impression.
I’m talking about the X-TREM-1 by Christophe Claret. Claret introduced the watch by means of a video, shortly before Baselworld, but no word on the watch’s functioning! So I guessed the watch indicated time by means of magnetism, and that was indeed the case. That on itself is enough to impression and stand out from the crown, but there was something else that makes it stand out…
While many complicated watches also have ‘complicated dimension’ for wearing a watch in daily life, the X-TREM-1 excels comfort on the wrist! It is light, very light actually. And its rectangular shape with curved profile makes it fit simply perfect on the wrist.
Somehow the dimensions, being 40.80 mm wide, 56.80 mm from lug to lug and 15 mm in height, sounds rather large. But in reality, it wears absolutely great. Extremely comfortable and a pleasure to see on your wrist. I don’t know the exact weight, just that its lightness amazed me both while holding it and when it was on my wrist. That’s something that also adds a lot to a superb wearing experience.
The X-TREM-1 features a one-minute flying tourbillon that is inclined at 30°, so it’s better visible for the person wearing the watch. The tourbillon is supported by double ceramic bearings to enhance its shock-resistance.
The balance oscillates at 21,600 beats per hour (3Hz). The X-TREM-1 is full with marvelous innovations and details, like the fact there are two main spring barrels. Not that two barrels are innovative, but in this case one main spring barrel provides the energy for the tourbillon and the other main spring barrel drives the indication of hours and minutes.
The two barrels enable the use of the mystery hours and minutes displayed on each side of the case. The time is indicated by hollowed steel spheres that move 23 mm up and down inside two cylindrical sapphire tubes. The metal spheres (hollow balls) are driven by magnetic carriages following a double sliding rod on each side, and they really have no mechanical connection with the movement.
The case is composed of PVD coated titanium and white or red gold, or platinum, and produced in limited series of eight per model. On the case back, winding and time-setting can be done by lift-out rotating ‘bows’ (I assume the photo will immediately make clear what’s meant).
The timing gear train is regulated by the tourbillon, while the display gear train is regulated by a special escapement which picks up the relevant information from the timing gear train. The latter is composed of a lever that releases a tooth of the pallet-wheel of the display gear train every 25 seconds, which is is driven by a cam connected to the timing gear train. In short: yes, everything has been done to let the watch run as precise as possible 😉
I could high-light even more technical details, however I can assure you this watch is technically and mechanically extremely precise. In the end, the hours and minutes are indicated by two ‘floating’ spheres and one can only read the time by approach. On the photo below it’s approximately 4:39. The tourbillon also functions as seconds display, because it rotates once every minute (one-Minute flying tourbillon).
Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. If you desire to use this watch to time how long the eggs are cooking, then by all means by a chronograph to play with. But for any normal daily activities it tells the time perfectly alright. And while showing the time ‘by approach’ the time-keeping is very precise, so I expect the watch to keep time within chronometer specifications.
Altogether a very wearable watch, that indicates time in an entirely new way and by means of a ground-breaking technique, magnetism. For me the X-TREM-1 is already one of the most impressive timepieces of 2012, if not the most impressive. For sure it’s the most innovative, because it is the first watch indicating time by using magnetism.
More information can be found at the website of Christophe Claret.
This article is written by Frank Geelen, executive editor of Monochrome Watches.