Cloudy mornings and rainy afternoons is all we saw in Geneva – all day, every day. I woke up on a Sunday morning to loud bells ringing outside my hotel room at the Mandarin Oriental. It really irritated me at first because it woke me up in a shock. But as I got used to the sound I started to appreciate the beauty of the bells ringing in such a harmonious sequence.
As I was enjoying the bells of the church, I started my day by organizing a few of my watch designs. Hearing those bells and viewing the scenery outside my hotel room really put me in a good mood. So I started creating and designing new watch concepts and ideas, inspired by the architectural beauty of Geneva.
As the hours went by, I got suited up and ready for my afternoon meeting with the one and only Christophe Claret. Christophe Claret is a watchmaker and has his own manufacture called Manufacture Claret, as well as two watch companies. One of his watch companies is named Christophe Claret and the other is Jean Dunand.
I arrived to the breathtaking Manufacture Claret and was greeted by Mr. Claret himself. We spent some time talking, reviewing designs, and conversing about both our future visions for the world of watchmaking. After my little meeting with Mr. Claret in his office, we took a stroll around the manufacture, and he showed me some new projects he was working on. Obviously I can’t share all the details, but you can expect some amazing mechanical designs in the next few years from Christophe Claret.
We continued our discussion as we walked around the manufacture, and Mr. Claret explained some of the new machines he invented himself. Yes, you read that correctly; he invents and builds his own machines to produce all of his watches. This man is an understated genius, and in my opinion, more or less the Einstein of watchmaking. He introduced some of his latest creations that basically knocked my socks off. When you have seen his genius designs – for example the the X-Trem 1 – that’s all you can expect from someone like him!
For those of you who don’t know what the Christophe Claret X-Trem is, I will happily explain. The X-Trem 1 is a highly complicated in-house mechanical movement. It boasts a very unique design that looks like a spaceship on your wrist. Central on the watch but slightly lower than usual is the 30 degree-angled Christophe Claret tourbillon. What makes this watch so mechanically complicated and amazing is the fact that it has magnetic balls indicating the time. Christophe Claret is the first watchmaker to figure out how to mix magnetics with a mechanical movement without the two colliding. I think that is pretty amazing.
He was also the inventor of the orbital tourbillon. The orbital tourbillon is a mechanical feature that allows the tourbillon to function while moving in a clockwise motion around the dial within 24 hours. It’s mind blowing to see the creations that Christophe has developed. It makes you wonder how a human being can invent and create something so beautiful as the orbital tourbillon or the X-Trem 1.
Over the years I have met with many owners of watch companies, and unfortunately some have proven to be rather unpleasant people to work with. But if I could say anything about Mr. Claret, it is that he is nothing less than amazing. Mr. Claret is so smart, humble, innovative, gifted, open-minded, and most of all, a stand up guy. He is always considerate of others’ designs and creations. He gives the best advice and nothing less. He makes sure to inspire others and keep their passions alive. If it was not for him I would probably have given up on my passion for watches years ago. But Mr. Claret keeps the passion in me alive, day in and day out. He never gave up on his dreams to bring passion and honesty to the watchmaking world. So that means I shouldn’t either.
As I bring my trip to Geneva to an end with this part 3, I hope you will agree I saved the best part for last. I want to thank you all for reading my articles and hopefully feeling the same passion as I do for the art of watchmaking. Until my next article!