Wow Watch Wednesday: Claret’s Dual Tow

Claret DualTow

Yesterday we published Part.1 of an exclusive interview with Mr Christophe Claret, Founder and Owner of Christophe Claret SA, creators of the some of the world’s most complicated timepieces. In Part.1 Claret talked quite openly about his company and how they are fairing through the financial crisis, as well as his vision for the future of his company.

Today, in Part.2 we shift the focus to the DualTow, a superb timepiece created by Claret and released under the company’s brand name in 2009 to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

BaselWorld 2010 saw the return of the DualTow, in the form of an all black, highly attractive version aptly named the Night Eagle. Scheduled to be produced in a limited production of just 68 pieces, the sophisticated design allows for maximum viewing pleasure of the highly complicated movement housed within.

And believe us, you are going to want to see as much as possible!

As one would expect from such an accomplished brand the DualTow features several complications, including one patented innovation. Time is displayed on two rubber belts and the complex movement features a single-pusher planetary-gear chronograph with 12-hour, 60-minute and 60-second chronograph counters complete with striking mechanism that causes a gong to chime each time you press the chronograph pusher. As is standard on most high-end timepieces the DualTow also features a stunning flying tourbillon.

Priced at over half a million dollars, the DualTow truly showcased to the world what Claret is capable of and allowed him to well and truly step into the limelight. Fortunately, he was also willing to share some thoughts on this exceptional piece with us

Read on to find out what he had to say.

Claret Dual Tow Night Eagle
The all-black Claret DualTow Night Eagle

TWL: Let’s talk about the Dual Tow. How long did it take to make, from the very first sketch to the first unit?

CC: I can’t tell you that, it’s confidential, but I can tell you that we worked very hard and fast, way faster than the usual 3 to 4 years of development required for a new model, which is a standard in the industry…

TWL: Was there anything you learnt from the work you deliver every day for your clients that you incorporated into the Dual Tow?

CC: No, in fact, nothing we did not really know already… Sometimes our clients have specific requests that might not be, in my opinion, a good idea. On some occasions, I let them know my feeling, even if I’m not supposed to! And I must admit that most of the time, considering the final result, they should have listened to me!

TWL: What challenges did you face in perfecting the use of the belts to display the time?

CC: They are in rubber, on which we all have a good knowledge. The challenge was to guarantee that it would last decades. We tested if for a simulated 60 year period, without any problem.

TWL: What were the greatest technical challenges you faced in making this movement a reality?

CC: Clearly the differential chronograph – 12-hour, 60-minute and 60-second chronograph counters with operating mode indicators of the chronograph.

TWL: Does the final design resemble what you first imagined in your mind or has it changed dramatically from concept to reality?

CC: Yes, completely. We have issued a book on the genesis of the Dual Tow. If you look at the first sketches you will see that they are very similar to the final piece.

Claret DualTow
Original copy of one the very first sketches of the DualTow – Amazing!

TWL: What is next for Claret?

CC: First, our objective is to sell all the Dual Tow.

TWL: How many have you sold so far amongst the 68 units scheduled?

CC: 17. We plan to produce 22 units per year, which implies a complete production process for this model of around 3 years.

Then our second objective is to produce one novelty per year. Not sure if we’ll begin right from 2011, but we should be able to stick to the plan once the crisis is behind us.

On a day to day basis, I am trying to run the business whilst keeping all my staff of experts. I decided to introduce a reduced working week at the beginning of May so now my staff do not come into work on Fridays. Orders decreased this year, so I had to reduce our production pace and draw cash from our reserves, but so far, we’re safe! I’m reasonably confident we will achieve our goals.

Olivier Muller
Olivier Muller is half Swiss, half French, and has been raised in the world of haute horlogerie & luxury watches right from the cradle. He now works in Public Relations in Paris.


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