Christophe Claret always surprises us with his creations by combining excellent craftsmanship and great imagination of his. This time around at the SIHH 2017, we see the unveiling of the Maestro, an interesting take on the horological creativity of Christophe Claret. The main attraction is the unique architecture of the watch with its glass dome, date display and the featuring of a 3D MEMO function.
Case, Dial and Hands
The Maestro comes in a 42 mm case which is considered to be one of the smallest diameter in the Christophe Claret collection. The case is available in either grade 5 titanium or 5N pink gold and features a unique curvex shape. One of the most attractive features has still got to be the glass dome which also serves as the bezel of the watch, this design is certainly challenging to attain considering the toughness of the material. We like the unique architecture of the watch with its use of the glass dome and the aesthetics were certainly well complemented by the inner bezel ring with its matt and polished finishing.
The dial can be easily recognized as that of Christophe Claret’s with its characteristic two-tone, bi-material hands that is certainly eye-catching. The dial also features a pretty interesting date display at the five o’clock position, made of two cone-shaped aluminum disks that gives it a 3D look with the top of the display set with a natural ruby or sapphire. The date display would perform a semi-instantaneous jump between midnight and twenty past midnight.
One of the most interesting features of the watch has got to be the 3D MEMO function which is a cone-shaped disk located between the 3 and 4 o’clock position. This function was inspired by the expression “tie a knot in your handkerchief” to remind one of something important and the MEMO does so by functioning as a mechanical reminder for its user. Once the user has decided on his/her commitment, a simple press on the pusher will pivot the MEMO function, returning it to its initial position each night in a twenty-minute process that is driven by a semi-instantaneous jump system. However, we find this to be a bit short, as there is no reminder on when the important thing is happening. Especially when this function is on a watch, we would expect it to make a discrete reminder at a specific time.
Like the 3D date disks, the MEMO is also decorated with a sapphire or ruby and a diamond depending on the model. We are impressed with the 3D MEMO function and think this clearly displays the ingenuity of Christophe Claret in inventing horological features.
The Maestro is powered by the DMC16, a mechanical hand-wound movement that operates at 21,600 vph and features an impressive 7-days power reserve. We like the aesthetics of the movement, classic Christophe Claret design with its famous Charles X style stepped and skeletonized bridges. The movement also features skeletonized barrel and ratchet-wheel along with a balance wheel that was entirely developed and produced in-house.
In the watch we examined and photographed in SIHH, we find the finishing to be very plain. Perhaps its a prototype used for the fair, but the finissage is unremarkable. The bridges are large plates, and heavily “decorated” with descriptive print. As can be seen in the photograph above, the bridges appear to be sand blasted to achieve a course finish and devoid of any fine finishing safe for the anglage, which appears to have been machined.
The Maestro is a product of which intrigues the imagination, much like other creations from Christophe Claret. From a functional perspective, we like the 3D MEMO function and thought it was pretty cool with the use of a semi-instantaneous jump system. Though as we mentioned, it falls short of being great. Aesthetically, we like the architecture of the watch especially with its use of a glass dome and also the display of Christophe Claret’s trademark stepped and skeletonized Charles X style bridges.
Priced at CHF 68,000 for the Grade 5 Titanium version and CHF 76,000 for the 5N pink gold version, the Maestro price positioning is not a surprise, especially considering it comes from Christophe Claret.