Christophe Claret offers highly complex and exclusive timepieces, in four categories: Traditional, Gaming, Extreme and Ladies collections. As they defined the brand is reserved for aficionados of rare and precious objects.
I met Christophe Claret’s watches for the first time last year in person; this was the X-trem-1. This amazing piece includes a flying tourbillon inclined at a 30° angle. Hours and minutes are indicated by 2 tiny hollowed steel spheres, isolated within sapphire tubes on the left and right sides of the case-band. They are in a magnetic field, and so move with no mechanical connection.
The Margot timepiece from the Ladies collection was awarded with the prize for Ladies High-Mech at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2014 and received an international recognition, making the brand more widely known.
With their latest piece they virtually took us back all the way to Ancient times.
The area of today’s Switzerland was inhabited by Celtic tribes from the Iron Age, and then the Romans between 58 B.C. (Julius Caesar’s Gallic wars) and end the end of Augustus’ reign (14 A.D.) gradually conquered the territory. The Eastern part of the area fell under the Raetia province, while the Western regions Gallia and the mostly Germania Superior province. They established thriving cities and the old Celtic settlements also blossomed. The former included Julia Equestris (Nyon) and Forum Claudii Vallensium (Martigny); the latter included the former Helvetian capital, Aventicum (Avenches) and Lousonna (Lausanne). The city of Aventicum prospered most during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, after the Emperor raised Aventicum to the status of a colonia or colony. In the city of Avenches today in Switzerland, they are conducting archeological excavations, to uncover the remains of the ancient amphitheatre, theatre, the Cigognier and Grange-des-Dîmes churches as well as ancient baths.
One of the amazing relics was unearthed in 1939: a solid gold bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. This precious discovery is one of only three known Roman busts of this style in the world.
In 2013, Christophe Claret decided to create a three-dimensional film in partnership with Philippe Nicolet and his production company, NVP3D, to document the incredible relics now belonging to the Avenches Roman Museum and the town of Avenches.
Aventicum, the 3D film and the Aurelius relic all served as inspiration for the creation of the watch.
A micro-engraved (less than 3mm) gold replica of the Marcus Aurelius bust can be found in the centre of the dial. Due to an invention called the mirascope, you are able to see this little sculpture.
The mirascope is comprised of two identical parabolic mirrors arranged one on top of the other, creating an elliptical shape. The convex mirror on top has a hole in the middle. When an object is placed in the centre of the concave bottom mirror, the reflection from the top mirror creates a hologram of the object, which appears nearly two times larger than it actually is.
Because the centre of the watch is occupied by Marcus Aurelius and a labyrinth, the hands were placed on an invisible ring that runs on the inner ring of the watch dial. The reverse features a Latin quotation from Marcus Aurelius: “Perfice Omnia facta vitae quasi haec postrema essent”, or “Perform every act in life as though it were your last.” The rotor of the automatic movement is decorated with five numbered Roman Gaul racing chariots. The two-horse chariot was used in ancient Rome for sport, transportation, and ceremonies. The timepiece is available in two limited editions: 68 pieces in 5N red gold and anthracite PVD-treated, grade 5 titanium; and 38 pieces in palladium-rich white gold and anthracite PVD-treated, grade 5 titanium.
Photo credits: Christophe Claret, Loupiosity.com.
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