Arthur Touchot and Alex Rose face off and discuss their pick from Christophe Claret. How do the X-TREM-1 and the Allegro compare?
Alex’s Pick: The Christophe Claret X-TREM-1
Launched in 2012, the X-TREM-1 was radically different from anything we had known, even within the independent world. Instead of using conventional hands, hours and minutes in the X-TREM-1 are indicated by two tiny hollowed steel spheres that are pulled up and down sapphire tubes by an invisible, magnetic force. As a result, they appear to hover without any mechanical connection.
Verdict: It’s difficult to know where to start with this Christophe Claret. It’s such a crazy concept, using magnets to control the hours and minute indicators. Of course, mixing magnets and mechanics is usually a major no no in the watch industry because of the detrimental effect magnetism can have on a watch’s accuracy. But when it is mastered, the effect is like magic trick. And that is why I love this piece. It’s intriguing, clever and entertaining. And that’s exactly what a watch should be.
Arthur’s Pick: The Christophe Claret Allegro
If Christophe Claret has been designing chiming watches for more than 25 years, the Allegro is without a doubt the most modern interpretation to come out of the Swiss manufacture. It follows the Adagio and the Soprano, and draws some similarities to the latter, although it introduces a completely redesigned in-house movement. For a closer look at this year’s design, please click here.
Verdict: Besides being one of the rarest and most complex complication, reserved only for an exclusive group of watchmakers, the minute repeater is the most classic complication. And as such, it is usually seen in very purist watches, such as the Girard-Perregaux Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges or the Ulysse Nardin Répétition Minutes Hannibal Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts. Christophe Claret goes against the grain with the Allegro, an unexpected minute repeater that looks like a sports watch. Making that work is Christophe Claret’s greatest magic trick.