Christophe Claret at the Geneva Watch Week 2015

Jan 18, 2015,12:15 PM

The Christophe Claret Aventicum Watch

In Roman times the capital city of the area that now comprises Switzerland was Aventicum.  Although it was the capital for over 300 years Aventicum is the small town now known as Avenches in the French part of Switzerland.  The Romans left an amphitheatre, that is now used for summer opera performances and rock concerts, many mosaics and other artefacts and the rich archaeological digs are still being worked today.  One of the most precious finds is a solid gold bust of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius discovered in 1938.

The bust of Marcus Aurelius, 1.5kg of gold

Christophe Claret has always been intrigued by the history of Aventicum/Avenches and decided to dedicate a piece to it and hope that it will help create more awareness of the site.

The Claret Aventicum timepiece puts the bust of Marcus Aurelius in center stage above the dial with an optical trick discovered by accident at UC Santa Barbara in the 1970's.  The "mirascope" was discovered when cleaning a stock of parabolic mirrors at UCSB.  The mirrors were stored in pairs with their mirrored sides to the center.  One of the workers saw that, under the right conditions, dust on the bottom mirror was reflected above the top mirror.  Using this optical trick a tiny 3mm high golden reproduction of the Marcus Aurelius bust from Avenches is projected magnified above the dial of the watch.  The effect is quite surprising and the angle of vision is quite wide.

Today, one of the opening events of the Geneva Watch Week was the press conference announcing this new watch.

Christophe Claret under siege from photographers.

The assistance at the press conference watching the 3D movie about Avenches/Aventicum with 3D glasses.

Christophe Claret with the Roman gold Marcus Aurelius bust.

I was able to visit the Claret atelier during the week to witness the assembly of this watch and get a better look at some of its parts.  As you can see this watch is true to the Claret tradition of in house production and attention to the best finishing.  The watch with a red gold case.

The case in white gold with black PVD titanium.  Although the watches are not small the titanium in the case makes that the watch is not too heavy.

The automatic rotor is decorated with images of a Roman chariot race.  These images are engraved in the glass and then coted with chrome from behind.

With the mirascope taking up the center of the dial traditional hands would not work.  The solution found was to use "bowls" attached as hands would be to the cannon and hour wheels with the hour and minute markers attached to the lips of the bowls.  The bowls themselves are made of carbon fiber assuring great rigidity at almost no weight.

The movement itself is quite thin and way below the hands as we can see here.  To have the crown in the center of the case thickness the stem is in two pieces with gears to span the distance from the center of thee case to thee center of the movement.

Let's take a look in the mirascope.  First from directly above and then from increasing angles to see how the 3D image of Marcus Aurelius forms.

The press conference also presented a new model of the Claret X-TREM-1.  This time with a slate blue PVD titanium and white gold case.  This color combination makes for a very distinguished look.

Aventicum Technical Specifications

Caliber:                    AVE15, automatic-winding
Dimensions:            Diameter: 26.20 mm
                                Height: 3.37 mm (excluding hands)
Number of parts:    186
Number of jewels:   28
Barrels:                  Twin barrels
Power reserve:      72 hours
Escapement:         Frequency: 4 Hz (28’800 vph), Swiss lever
Features:               ‘Mystery’ winding rotor in transparent sapphire adorned with
                               5 high-definition metalized chariots
Functions:              Hour and minute display around chapter ring

Dimensions:            44 x 52.11 x 18.49 mm
Water Resistance:  3 ATM / 30 m / 100 ft
Material:                Palladium-rich white gold or 5N red gold
                             and anthracite PVD-treated grade 5 titanium
                             Hands in carbon fiber
Crown:                 White gold or 5N red gold
                            and anthracite PVD-treated grade 5 titanium
                            with cabochon in black PVD titanium
Strap:                  Black alligator leather with black stitching

Features:            Mirascope with a micro-engraved bust of Marcus Aurelius

Limited edition of 38 pieces white gold, 68 pieces red gold

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Really unique!

 By: Goldenlutin : January 18th, 2015-12:39
And cleverly made. The base movement looks like a Frederic Piguet. Any info? Thanks Best regards

Official pics and thoughts

 By: Mark in Paris : January 18th, 2015-14:12
First, thanks a lot Don for providing us with these precious photos. CC is used to bringing very original displays into his watches, whether we like them or not. I must say I really like it and was very appealed when looking at the official pictures this ...