Christophe Claret and his playful complications
It seems that this year, Baselworld was under the charms of the wizard of watch complications, Christophe Claret. As someone, who is a full master of his art, he was in the mood to have some fun with engineering and presented two light-hearted concepts, the Margot for ladies with a “He loves me… he loves me not” game and for gents the Poker, the latest addition to Christophe Claret’s trilogy of gaming watches.
Margot — “He loves me… he loves me not”
When it comes to complications, often watchmakers will focus on gents and ladies are somehow left aside. Many high end ladies’ pieces are more about their material, the outside, rather than what’s going on in the inside. It’s always refreshing to see a ladies’ watch has an interesting complication, something innovative, something designed to bring joy to the feminine soul.
Margot is one of these rare birds, it integrates “He loves me… He loves me not.” game powered by an ingenious complication. You have to keep in mind that in French, unlike in the English version of this game, there more nuances than just the basic, yes or no. In French, you have more possibilities: loves me a little, loves me lots, loves me passionately, loves me madly, or doesn’t love me at all.
By pressing the pusher at 2 o’clock, Margot will reveal its prophecy. With each press, a petal — sometimes a pair of petals, it is impossible to foresee — will subtly disappear under the dial in a smooth action. The eagerly-awaited answer appears at random in calligraphic letters (in French) on the dial at 4 o’clock: Un peu (a little) – beaucoup (a lot) – passionnément (passionately) – à la folie (madly) – pas du tout (not at all)?
Each time, the answer is given, a distinct, crystalline chime resonates. The hammer adorned with a prong-set ruby can be admired trough a case-band window at 8 o’clock.
The reset pusher is at 4 o’clock, instantly making all petals to reappear and changing the display at 4 o’clock to an ellipsis (…).
The display back reveals the automatic winding rotor, a delicately carved, flower-shaped carrousel of colours symbolizing sentiments of love, with a central cabochon concealing the rotor’s ball bearings. Each one of the eight resplendent triangular precious stones denote a feeling – hope, passion, tenderness… Which one will line up with the red-lacquered heart when the flower halts its waltz?
A timepiece like the Margot can only be built and decorated using the most upscale materials. Christopher Claret is offering four different models, limited to 20 pieces each, priced between 198,000 to 278,000 CHF.
I think, my wife will have to wait… Anyway, she knows I love her.
In the mean time, let’s admire the Margot in action:
After the 21 Blackjack and Baccara, here comes Christopher Claret’s third card game watch, the Poker.
Poker was actually to be the first of the gaming timepieces launched by Manufacture Claret. While the game seems simple to organize on a table, its watchmaking version is an extreme test and no technical solution had been found until Mr Christophe Claret himself came up with the answer.
While the first prototype was working in 2011, it required two years to perfect the intricate complication. Devising the gearing and bringing it all together in a mechanical movement – in other words, orchestrating a complete 52-card game following the rules of poker – is a real feat, one which offers Haute Horlogerie exciting new technical prospects.
In total, Poker packs in 32,768 different combinations, i.e. 98,304 combinations for three players. The probabilities have been calculated so that everyone has approximately the same
chances of winning.
Users can immerse themselves in real three-player Texas Hold’em, each player facing each other around the watch. The first hand is dealt by means of a pusher at 9 o’clock. This winds up a spring, which simultaneously spins four concentric discs − one of which made from sapphire − on which the cards are printed. There is no way of speculating as to the position of the discs. After a few moments the discs are immobilized at random by dampers. All the discs are mounted on ceramic or ruby bearings so they turn as freely as possible.
Once the push-piece at 9 o’clock has been pressed, the now shuffled cards are dealt in windows at 6 o’clock, 10:30 and 2:30. An ingenious mechanism of angled shutters makes them invisible to the other players. After this first betting round, the pusher at 10 o’clock reveals the flop, i.e. three cards which appear on the left of the dial.
Another push-piece at 8 o’clock then reveals the turn, one card on the right of the dial.
Finally, the same push-piece deals out the river, also on the right of the dial. True to his mastery of chiming watches, Christophe Claret equipped Poker with a cathedral gong, which sounds whenever the flop and turn/river pushers are pressed.
How did Christophe Claret managed to have all these complications in a case of just 45 mm, is mind boggling.
This world of the casino even continues through to the back of the watch. The transparent case-back provides a view of the oscillating winding rotor in the form of a roulette wheel.
This rotor design is already an icon of the Christophe Claret Interactive Gaming Complication collection. Once activated by one or two shaking motions, the oscillating weight turns for a few moments before stopping: no more bets please! An arrow points to one of the 37 numbers on an inner ring. Did your number come up by chance? If so, it may have been thanks to a special key opposite a green emerald set on the case-back. This personalization is much appreciated by
those who believe in their lucky number.
Poker is available in four versions: two-tone, black PVD-treated grade 5 titanium and white gold; two-tone, black PVD-treated grade 5 titanium and red gold; monochrome, black PVD-treated grade 5 titanium, with blue spinel hands; and monochrome, black PVD-treated grade 5 titanium with red ruby hands. Poker is covered by a worldwide patent. Each case material is limited to just 20 pieces.
With this timepiece, you’ll have a hard time keeping your poker face. It’s OK, you can let your jaw drop and drool:
To learn more about the magical creations of Christophe Claret visit www.christopheclaret.com.