To those obsessed with time and the contraptions that keep it, Christophe Claret is nothing short of a genius. A master watchmaker and founder of the self-titled independent watch label, he’s known to blend technology, aesthetics, architecture, and, on occasion, whimsy into his masterful creations. His latest mechanical watch, the just-debuted Maestro, unveiled ahead of next week’s luxury watch exhibition Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), mixes the brand’s legendary finesse with a sporty three-dimensional appeal.
The Story Behind the Claret Maestro
Unlike most of Claret’s movements, which are typically years in the making, Claret spent just eight months to develop the highly technical hand-wound skeletonized caliber DMC16. But the creation of this piece was more than a test of time: The Maestro is also the first in the Claret collection of complicated watches to retail for less than $100,000, an initiative to attract new buyers with an entry-level haute-complication price point. Just in time for January’s SIHH exhibition, the brand pulls all that off and more, presenting an entirely new model with a few exciting new features to boot.
The 42mm watch, also the brand’s smallest-diameter watch to date, is a study in 3D design: There’s a cone-shaped date display with the “tens” on the upper portion of the cone and the individual units on the lower portion; an all-new cone-shaped three-dimensional “Memo” function; and a crystal dome that houses entire caliber for better viewing of Claret’s signature Charles X bridges. The meticulously finished movement consists of 342 components and 33 jewels in all, is water resistant to 30 meters, and offers seven days of power reserve, made possible via two series-coupled barrels.
An Intriguing New Function
Perhaps the most exciting novelty of the watch is an unusual new function: a visual cue, dubbed Memo, to remind the wearer of a task. Rendered at the 4:00 in the form of a diamond topped with either a synthetic ruby or sapphire, the concept is a whimsical aesthetic reminder in our era of electronically generated vibrations, beeps, and LED alerts—a throwback Claret likens to the old-school tradition of tying a knot in a handkerchief, or a string around a finger.
The Christophe Claret Maestro comes in two versions. One is created in lightweight titanium, the movement accented with blue hues and a synthetic sapphire to top the date and Memo domes. The other is created in 18-karat rose gold with bright red hands and accents and a synthetic ruby atop the domes.
Price and Availability
Due to the complexity of the watch, just 88 pieces of each version will be built. The grade 5 titanium version sells for $68,000 and the rose gold rendition for $76,000. The watches are expected to arrive at approved Christophe Claret retailers sometime this summer.
For more highly technical mechanical watches, see our reviews of the Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30-Degrees Technique Sapphire and the Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon.
Related: See highlights from SIHH 2016 »