Christophe Claret is known as the best of traditions and the future of inventions in the watchmaking world—having spearheaded the true luxury industry in the ‘80s, Christophe is renowned for his highly complex and exclusive timepieces, reserved for devotees of rare and precious objects.
The watches in the collection are truly exceptional mechanisms. They testify to expertise resolutely geared towards technological innovation and consistently pushing back the limits of watchmaking in order to offer original ways of reading the time. Simply put, Christophe Claret draws the best from traditional watchmaking excellence in inventing his own horological future.
He’s definitely a perfectionist. In this respect, he loves to quote Leonardo da Vinci: “Details make perfection, but perfection is no detail”. This leitmotif is also that of the personnel active within the Manufacturing side of the business. All have been chosen from among the finest artisans and workers in the region, in order to uphold the level of excellence and pure luxury.
We had the luxury of catching up with Christophe Claret about his start in the business and how he’s made such a name for himself, “I was not yet 20 when I graduated from the Geneva Watchmaking School, I trained for an additional year with the master-watchmaker Roger Dubuis and set up my first real horology workshop in the family home. My first ever trip to the Basel Watch Fair led to an encounter with a person who would change my life forever. Rolf Schnyder, a Swiss industrialist who had just acquired the Ulysse Nardin brand, placed an order with me for 20 minute repeater movements with jacks. I officially set up the Manufacture Claret the same year and soon became a benchmark in the field of complication movements. While continuing to create exceptional movements for the most prestigious brands, I have always also made watches bearing my own signature, one-of-a-kind creations ordered by collectors won over by such impressive horological mastery.”
The inspiration behind the designs was always everything that surrounded Christophe, including things that didn’t directly translate to watchmaking—aerospace, aviation, architecture, etc. He told us “The most significant point that sets us apart from other high end watch brands is the level of interactivity that the collector or the final buyer can get with a Christophe Claret watch. We make watches that are interactive and playful with a lot of innovation. I involve myself in every step of the product development as well as every drawing of the movement’s components, in order to have a technical and aesthetic coherence for the product as a whole. Furthermore, everything is made at Manufacture Claret, not only the movement, but also the case, the dial and the hands.”
We had the pleasure of reviewing the Christophe Claret Dualtow, a watch created for the 20th anniversary of the Manufacture and the first watch for the Christophe Claret brand. A truly innovative piece with serious power (try entering the room without someone noticing this beast on your wrist), it reflects all the creativity at Manufacture Claret with a nod to their penchant for traditional history as well. And at $535,000 this beauty arrives in pristine condition via armored truck and with bragging rights for the next decade.
Christophe told us “The inspiration behind the belt-type display came to me when I analyzed an excavator that I own and use in my Castle in France. I also came up with the name DualTow because of the excavator. The most complex part of this timepiece is of course the differential chronograph which is patented under my name.”
We also tried to find out what his favorite timepiece is…Christophe says “It is difficult to answer this question; it is like asking a father who his favorite child is! We have realized more than 70 calibers in 25 years, in which I involved myself in every one of them. But it is evident that I have more affinities with the products that are made under my own brand name, because I was able to make them without any technical or aesthetical constraints.”
The attitude at Christophe Claret is innovative and playful, and the typical ‘Christophe Claret’ man is a creative entrepreneur who appreciates true quality and jaw dropping craftsmanship. Since 1989, this watchmaker has been seeking to put together a set of ideal conditions for the birth of prodigious, atypical and excellent horological mechanisms. We think he can safely say he’s surpassed that goal.