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Review: Christophe Claret Layla

With analysis, live photographs and pricing
by  on August 6, 2016
Reviews
Overview
Brand

Christophe Claret

Complication / Type of Watch

Layla

Recommended Retail Price

SGD $ 446,832 w GST.

Positives

Very innovative concept, an absolute beauty

Very distinctive features on the dial and the chime is absolutely mesmerizing

We like how Christophe Claret adapted the movement to reflect the Arabic script movement which is from right to left, very meticulous in design

Negatives

The big price tag to it

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Concept & Originality
Movement
Overall Finishing
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Future Outlook
Bottom Line

We think the Christophe Claret Layla is an amazing watch and its an absolute beauty that transcends time, combines elegance and complexity using poetic esthetics. This is a unique timepiece and not one that can be easily made. It is definitely worth a look at and will be of no surprise to us if you eventually fall in love with it, not looking at the price tag of course.

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Christophe Claret has amazed us with many of his exquisite creations, having used many inspirations and innovative ideas to create collections that possesses unique characteristics. Looking at past collections, Christophe Claret watches are rather masculine in nature and geared towards the interests of men. Not surprisingly, the brand expanded its collection to include one for the ladies too. To win over a ladies’ heart, one needs to be romantic and at the same time, charm them with one’s complexity and class.

The watchmaker has always believed in using innovative ways to create a “wow” product that exceeds expectations and set new benchmarks. True to that, they have created a Ladies watch that is very unique and one-of-its-kind in the market. The release of the Christophe Claret Layla, a variation of Margot, has certainly made a mark for the brand in the ladies’ watch market, offering a complication that carries a poetic twist to it. The design and concept of the watch was inspired by one of the most famous questions of all: “Does he love me?” and this timepiece is designed to help the ladies predict the answer to that golden question.

To delve deeper into the history of this paramount question, the story originates from the Middle Ages and it goes that Île Saint-Louis located in the centre of Paris, was a meadow lined with willows and poplars. It was an ideal place for lovers to take strolls together and “learn” the depth of each other’s love by picking petals off a daisy while reciting: “Il m’aime… il ne m’aime pas du tout” which can be translated into “He loves me… he loves me not (at all).” This tradition has since been carried on for many centuries and forms as the perfect allegory for Christophe Claret’s desire to create a timepiece that is both charming and complex, the ultimate embodiment of women.

 

The design and concept of the watch was inspired by one of the most famous questions of all: “Does he love me?”

The design and concept of the watch was inspired by one of the most famous questions of all: “Does he love me?”

 

Case, Dial and Hands

The casing of the Layla comes in Red Gold and its diameter measures at 42.5 mm which we feel is a little big for a ladies’ watch. However, the diamond bezel makes up for it, containing 65 diamonds in total with an approximate 5 carats worth of diamonds, which is literally eye-catching. The impressive feature of this watch is its ability to predict an answer for the paramount question of “Does he love me?”.

A simple press of the pusher at the 2 o’clock position causes a petal or sometimes a pair of petals to subtly disappear under the dial, similar to a daisy flower having its petals picked by a lady. The answer will appear at random in calligraphic letters (in Arabic) on the dial at 4 o’clock position.

On each press, a distinct crystalline chime resonates and can be attributed to a special mechanism designed by the brand, blending technical mastery with sublime esthetics where the hammer is adorned with a prong-set ruby. There is a window positioned at 8 o’clock that allows for a clear view of the hammer striking the gong. We really enjoyed listening to the chime and it is simply enchanting and soothing to the ears. Pressing the pusher at the 4 o’clock position will cause a reset of all petals, resulting in their reappearance around the dial, waiting to be picked once again. We tried the above and we got addicted as we got hooked onto listening to the lovely chime the complication gives off on each press and admiring the resulting movement on the dial. Both the petal display and the mechanism have been awarded a patent.

 

A simple press of the pusher at the 2 o’clock position causes a petal or sometimes a pair of petals to subtly disappear under the dial with a lovely chime resonating

A simple press of the pusher at the 2 o’clock position causes a petal or sometimes a pair of petals to subtly disappear under the dial with a lovely chime resonating

 

In the Layla, one of the challenges for the watchmaking team in Christophe Claret was the need to adapt the movement of the Margot to take into account the right-to-left direction of Arabic script. Also, another captivating feature of the watch is the natural pink mother-of-pearl dial that has delicately engraved verses penned by the Arab poet, Qays Al Mulawwah. The dial also features a pair of gold-tipped steel hands that sweeps across the three pear-shaped emeralds at the 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock position, all giving the watch its own unique character. We especially liked the choice of an Emerald green alligator leather strap which complements well with the emeralds found on the dial and the top lugs.

 

The distinctive dial design of the Layla with white petals resembling that of a daisy flower

The distinctive dial design of the Layla with white petals resembling that of a daisy flower

 

The Movement

The Christophe Claret Layla is powered using the EMT17 automatic-winding caliber and it operates at a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 vph), offering a power reserve of 72 hours featuring two barrels. Something we find impressive and can serve as proof of the complexity of this watch is that fact that the movement comprises of a total of 731 components and 95 jewels, just amazing.

 

A delicately carved, flower-shaped carrousel of colors representing sentiments of love

A delicately carved, flower-shaped carrousel of colors representing sentiments of love

 

A very distinctive feature of the movement is the automatic winding rotor which features a design of a delicately carved, flower-shaped carrousel of colors representing sentiments of love, with a central cabochon concealing the rotor’s ball bearings. Each one of the eight resplendent triangular precious stones denotes a feeling – hope, passion, tenderness.

 

Concluding Thoughts

Christophe Claret has done it again and wowed us with yet another innovative complication that mixes technical mastery with poetic esthetics. We feel the watchmakers do deserve recognition for their efforts in trying to adapt past interpretations to fit with Arabic culture and script. The ingenious mechanism designed truly brings the watch to life and has allowed a centuries-old tradition to continue albeit in a timepiece. We like the concept and innovative features of the watch and think this is only one-of-its-kind in the market, definitely distinct on its own. It is definitely worth a look for collectors who want to be enchanted with a timepiece that truly is an expression of love and a masterpiece for ages. The Christophe Claret Layla comes in a 20-piece limited series.

 

The Christophe Claret Layla is an exceptional timepiece that combines complexity and elegance together

The Christophe Claret Layla is an exceptional timepiece that combines complexity and elegance together

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