Baselworld 2012: Claret X-TREM-1 – First Impressions

Ian ElleryWatch Reviews1 Comment

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Claret X-TREM-1

It seems like all everyone is talking about at the moment is the new Claret X-Trem-1 timepiece.

Well, you’ve seen the press release, the pictures and Tom’s detailed description of the watch, but what is it really like? Well, first off it is smaller than you might expect given the stature of previous models, but the real surprise? The weight. There just isn’t any.

The Claret X-TREM-1

The back is silky smooth, the leather strap supple, the deployment clasp has a satisfying click which you know means it’s never going to come loose. When you put it on – yes, they did let me try it on – it seems to disappear. It is quite simply one of the nicest fitting watches I have ever worn.

But it is the little things about the Claret X-Trem-1 that really impress, things that don’t show up in the photos. Despite what anyone tries to tell you there are no wires inside the hour and minute tubes moving the balls up and down, this really is the first mechanical watch where the time indicators are unconnected to the movement.

Then there is the subtle button at the top of the watch that manages all of the functions; once you see it it’s obvious, but it is just so well done that it blends harmoniously into the rest of the case.

Of course what people are really interested in is the incredible time mechanism housed inside the Claret X-Trem-1. I suspect that for a complete answer a degree in Physics might be in order, but there are some excellent reasons why magnets are not normally used in watches. The challenge here is to focus that magnetism to a narrow space where it’s influence can be minimalized. The use of exotic materials throughout the watch helps as well.

In fact the amount of magnetic force used is quite small, so small that a good jolt will send the indicators to the bottom of the tube. Of course while the balls themselves may have moved the magnets have not, all that is needed is to simply give the watch a little shake and they return to their previous position. Simple really.

The Final Word

The sheer time, effort and expense of making this watch means that it will, by necessity, be limited to only 10 pieces of each case type. Even with prices around 260,000CHF it seems certain that the range will be sold out pretty quickly thus enabling Christophe Claret to amaze us all over again next year.

Ian ElleryBaselworld 2012: Claret X-TREM-1 – First Impressions

One Comment on ““Baselworld 2012: Claret X-TREM-1 – First Impressions”

  1. Robin

    If the balls were white or a lighter colour, this would be a perfect watch for visually impaired people. For the rest of us it would take a while to become accustomed to it.

    There are only so many things you can do to a watch dial and this designer certainly has done something unique.

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