There is a lot of good stuff in this new watch Maestro by Christophe Claret. At his Manufacture in Le Locle, he makes movements for other brands such as Ulysse Nardin, and so he has no problem about rethinking calibres and giving them a totally new construction. In this piece, the cantilevered bridges based on watches from the Charles X period that he restored are strongly present, along with other innovative features. Claret has chosen some parts of the movement to be highlighted, and they are above the grey mainplate, including the balance wheel, and the skeletonized mainspring barrel that allows the user to see how much of the seven-day power reserve is remaining. The rate regulator on the balance is in prominent view.
Conical date display
The watch has a degree of symmetry, with the balance wheel opposite the cones for the date display, an interesting, three-dimensional way of displaying the number. It is neat and logical, with the top part of the cone, where there is less space, used for the four digits for the tens (Christophe has chosen to display the first nine days in “01” format). The date is adjusted by using the pusher at 2 o’clock.
Just to the right of the date is the Memo function. There is a ruby or sapphire on the lower side of a small cone, and this reminds you of a daily task that has to be done. When you’ve done it, you press the pusher at 4 o’clock, and the cone rotates, so that in the place of the coloured gem, there is a diamond. During the night, the watch automatically rotates the cone back to the starting position, so that next day you have to do the same thing all over again. It’s an original idea; on the watch, the cone is very small, it becomes a very personal message. I can’t help thinking of Nietzsche and his dark thoughts on eternal recurrence (“This life, as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh… must return to you…”) but I’m sure that Christophe had more joyful daily tasks in mind.
The open-dial architecture is enhanced by a dome-shaped watchglass without a bezel. The watch is 42 mm in diameter (the smallest to date in the Christophe Claret collection), and even though the movement architecture is very vertical, the thickness of the piece is not excessive, at 16.06 mm. The DMC16 calibre is designed and built in-house, hand-wound, with 342 components and 33 jewels. The balance wheel is in PVD-coated aluminium, which enables it to be coloured, a complex process. It runs at 3 Hertz, 21,600 vibrations per hour.
Prices and references
The Maestro watch is made in two versions, pink gold with ruby accents, or titanium with sapphire accents. Both are 88-piece limited editions. By Christophe Claret’s standards, they are priced quite low. The references are MTR.DMC16.100-188 for the titanium version, 68,000 Swiss francs, and MTR.DMC16.000-088, 76,000 Swiss francs. Not including tax.
Find out more at the Christophe Claret website.