The Christophe Claret Aventicum model presented at the start of this year introduced the first “hologram watch” and opened up an entirely new price segment for the high-end watchmaker. The mirascope housed at the centre of the dial magnifies two-fold the tiny object at its centre, making it appear to hover above the dial. At the model’s launch, the miniature sculpture was a gold bust of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, symbolising Christophe Claret’s work with the Roman Museum at Avenches (in Latin “Aventicum”), the former Roman capital of the Helvetii tribe.
It was clear at the time, though, that this new miniaturized mirascope could be used to magnify any type of tiny sculpture. Furthermore, the watch’s design offers other opportunities for personalization. The cover of the mirascope occupies most of the centre of the dial (the hour and minute hands move around its circumference) and lends itself perfectly to engraving for special motives. The transparent case back, with its peripheral sapphire winding rotor, offers yet more possibilities for personalization.
Hope and Peace
The unique piece that Christophe Claret is offering for the Only Watch 2015 charity auction is a perfect example of the endless possibilities offered by this new design. A green emerald – a symbol of hope – seems to levitate from the centre of the dial, surrounded by a green and white lattice-motif. The back of this white gold watch is dedicated to peace, with a portrait of Alfred Nobel at the centre of the sapphire crystal oscillating weight, surrounded by a green agate translucent section revealing the movement beneath. Remarkably, Christophe Claret still found room to list all 129 winners of the Nobel Peace Prize in chronological order radiating from the centre to the circumference. Names such as Martin Luther King, Henry Kissinger, Mikael Gorbachov and Barack Obama rank alongside venerable institutions such as the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
A question of faith
An altogether different interpretation of the design is found in the limited edition of 56 pieces entitled “Mecca”. On the dial side, the design appears almost identical, with the two sole exceptions being that the case is in titanium and that the object projected holographically from within the watch appears to be a cube. This cuboid object is the Kabaa, which is the most sacred site in Islam and is found at the Al Masjid al-Haram, or “Sacred Mosque” in Mecca, Saudia Arabia. The black stone on the south-eastern corner of the Kabaa is the starting point for the Tawaf ritual performed by Muslims on pilgrimage to Mecca as one of the five pillars of Islam. Pilgrims must walk around the Kabaa seven times in an anti-clockwise direction. This black stone is represented on the dial of the watch by a subtle black diamond that replaces the number 7 on the chapter ring. A white ceramic insert at 5 o’clock also represents the black stone, which pilgrims are supposed to touch each time they pass it. It is white because the stone was originally white in the Koran.
The case back also features the Kabaa at the centre, with a world map covered with a myriad of white dots symbolizing Muslims walking around the Kabaa as the oscillating mass moves. The circumference of the sapphire oscillating mass bears engravings for Al Masjid al-Haram at 12 o’clock, Tawaf at 4 o’clock and Makkah al-Mukarramah (“The Holy City of Mecca”) at 8 o’clock.
The Christophe Claret “Mecca” watch also has a compass incorporated into its leather strap to help Muslims with their prayer orientations, since they are required to face Mecca – or more specifically the Kabaa – when they pray.
Both of these models are fitted with the Christophe Claret AVE15 self-winding mechanical movement, which operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour and has twin barrels that ensure a power reserve of 72 hours.