Christophe Claret’s new masterpieces: X-TREM-1 & Poker

Text: Press
Photo: Christophe Claret

The watchmaker from Le Locle reveals two new X-TREM-1 versions in blue damascened steel, issued in 8-piece limited edition. Poker is demonstration of Christophe Claret’s daring know-how

X-TREM-1, the first of a generation of exceptional timepieces, represents a major technical and aesthetic accomplishment: a flying tourbillon inclined at a 30° angle, mounted on a three-dimensional curvex titanium mainplate, equipped with a retrograde hours and minutes display system that is radically different from existing watchmaking conventions. Two tiny hollowed steel spheres, isolated within sapphire tubes on the left and right sides of the caseband, magically move with no mechanical connection thanks to magnetic fields.

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The mastery of magnetism, which allowed this feat was developed in partnership with the School of Business and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD)

Technics The Extreme Complications Watches line certainly deserves its name. It expresses Christophe Claret’s determination to continue pushing the boundaries of mechanical watchmaking, integrating certain fields of research never previously applied in this domain. X-TREM-1 is a fine example of this approach that involves using a system driven by magnetic fields display the hours and minutes. The challenge was bold and some might say a little crazy: How could someone possibly think about introducing a magnetic field – the arch enemy of horological mechanisms – into the heart of a watch? The Christophe Claret team has done just that by creating a system where two small steel spheres – hollowed to make them lighter and encased within two sapphire tubes placed to the right and left of the caseband – are controlled by precision magnetic fields generated by two miniature magnets moved by cables.

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This X-Trem-1 edition is produced in an 8-piece limited edition

The cables are incredibly flexible, made from hundreds of Dyneema nanofibers all contained within an ultra-high-strength polyethylene gel, capable of withstanding tensile forces of up to a kilo. The entire thread is thinner than a human hair (4 hundredths of a mm in diameter). The resistance of the thread has been tested in the Manufacture Claret on an accelerated wear simulator corresponding to 60 years of operation. The spheres have no mechanical connection with the movement, with each one floating inside the two tubes and creating outstanding horological magic. The mastery of magnetism, which allowed this feat was developed in partnership with the School of Business and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD) in Yverdon-les-Bains, and a team headed by Professor Besson.

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For this new X-TREM-1 model, the grades of steel used are 316L and 304L

The entire construction and finishing of this timepiece meets the extreme demands systematically imposed by Christophe Claret. Ultra-light titanium was used for the three-dimensional curvex mainplate and the bridges. The flying tourbillon is fitted with double ceramic bearings to enhance its shock-resistance. It is inclined at a 30-degree angle in order to make it even more clearly visible to the wearer. The hand-wound watch draws its energy from two barrels enabling the use of a sophisticated display without disturbing the rate of the tourbillon, and thus the accuracy of the watch. The first barrel is reserved for the tourbillon, the second for the hours and minutes.

An astounding feat by Christophe Claret – Poker

The Poker is equipped with an extremely sophisticated mechanism to reproduce the randomness of the game. We have already had the Blackjack and Baccara, now comes Poker, the latest addition to Christophe Claret’s trilogy of gaming watches. Christophe Claret’s fertile imagination has managed to devise the mechanism for this sophisticated card game and enclose it within a case just 45mm in diameter. For up to three players, there are an incredible number of gameplay possibilities. While he revels in taking on the most improbable challenges, Christophe Claret also likes to combine grace with utility.

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In total, Poker packs in 32,768 different combinations, i.e. 98,304 combinations for three players

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.

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This Christophe Claret Poker completely original automatic-winding in-house caliber comprises no fewer than 655 components

Users can immerse themselves in real three-player games of the most popular variant of poker: Texas Hold’em. As a recap of the rules, a game of Texas Hold’em starts with two closed cards being dealt to each player, i.e. visible only to the player. Five other open cards are dealt out in stages: three, known as the flop, after the first betting round; an additional card, the turn, after another betting round; and finally a last, the river. To have the best hand in Texas Hold’em poker, the player must have the best possible combination of five cards from the seven in their hand.

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The dial of Poker is entirely made and assembled within Manufacture Claret and was designed to offer excellent legibility of both the time and the Poker game

This is how the PCK05 movement came into being. This completely original automatic-winding in-house caliber comprises no fewer than 655 components, and features two mainspring barrels that provide approximately 72 hours of power. There are bound to be some late nights! But no need to worry, as well as its gaming functions, Poker has not abandoned its time display role, with two central hands providing excellent legibility. Poker is the very first timepiece that manages to replicate the game in an automaton watch. The ease of use when playing Poker is as impressive and unexpected as its intrinsic complexity. Up to three players face 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.

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This Poker is produced in an 12-piece limited edition. An exceptional timepiece, which, like winning a big game, is only for the lucky few

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. Now comes the showdown.

Christophe Claret: X-TREM-1 & Poker

Christophe Claret: X-TREM-1

Movement: Caliber: FLY11 – mechanical, hand-wound movement Dimensions: 26.6 x 46.4 x 11.94 mm Number of components: 419 Number of jewels: 64 Power reserve: 50+ hours Barrels: Dual barrels: one for the movement gear train, one for the time indications Escapement: – Swiss lever – Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 vph) – Tourbillon rotates once every 60 seconds – Flying tourbillon inclined at 30° supported by a double ceramic bearing, with cone-shaped pinion transmission Functions: – Mystery hours and minutes displayed with indications provided by hollowed steel spheres moving 23 mm inside two cylindrical sapphire tubes. The metal spheres are driven by magnetic carriages following a thread. – Seconds displayed on the tourbillon cage – Movement state-of-wind indication – Fast time adjustment is via an integrated pusher on the caseband at 12 o’clock – Quick time correction per pusher at 12 o’clock (Tboard Key) Distinctive features: – Use of precisely-shaped magnetic fields in a mechanical movement – No mechanical connection between time indications and the movement – Winding and time-setting via lift-out rotating “bows” on caseback – Skeletonized barrel – Case: Rectangular with curvex profile Dimensions: 40.80 x 56.82 x 15 mm Water resistance: 2 ATM / 20 m / 67 ft Référence : MTR.FLY11.180-188 Material : Titanium PVD Blue and damascened steel blue Spheres Orange-colored stainless steel Strap : Blue alligator 8- piece limited series Price in Swiss Francs (ex VAT) : 268’000.-

Christophe Claret Poker

Movement: Caliber: PCK05, automatic-winding mechanical movement, Dimensions: 38.6 x 9.92 mm (with cathedral gong), Number of components: 655, Number of jewels: 72 – Double barrels, Power reserve: 72 hours – Escapement:          Swiss lever, 4 Hz /28,800 vph – Functions: Hour and minute display, 2 games: Texas Hold’em Poker game with chime, and roulette wheel, Patented cathedral gong – Case: Dimensions: 45 x 15.95 mm, Water resistance: 3 ATM / 30 m / 100 ft – Reference: MTR.PCK05.001-020, Case: Black PVD-treated grade 5 titanium, Dial: Blue PVD titanium, Tokens: Anticorodal color anodized – Hands: Red ruby and black PVD-treated titanium, with Super-Luminova®, Crown: Black PVD-treated grade 5 titanium, Strap: Black alligator, Limited edition: 12 – Price in Swiss francs (ex VAT): 164’000.-