Based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the Manufacture Christophe Claret produces most complicated and playful mechanical timepieces. This world renowned watch manufacture was established by master watch maker Christophe Claret in 1989.
Christophe Claret boasts a unique, comprehensive expertise and an exclusive collection that pushes back the boundaries of possibility and offers brand new ways to display time. This expertise, which is nourished by a respect for tradition and the freedom to create, is crystallized into three lines of timepieces: The Traditional Complications collection features unique pieces and exceptional models that reinvent time measurement; the Extreme Complications collection is dedicated to creations as audacious as they are unconventional; while the Interactive Gaming Complications collection serves to remind us that time can also be recreational.
- Traditional Complication Watches: Maestoso, Kantharos, Soprano, Adagio etc..
- Extreme Complication Watches: The X-TREM-1, DualTow etc..
- Casino Game Watches: Poker, Baccara, Blackjack etc…
- Ladies’ Complications Watch Line: Margot, Marguerite etc…
About Christophe Claret, the Master watchmaker
Christophe Claret was born in Lyon, France in 1962. Graduating from the Geneva School of Watchmaking, he learnt his craft alongside Roger Dubuis, before opening his own vintage restoration workshop in the family home.
Although Christophe Claret’s destiny appeared to have been ordained, he had to wait until 1987 to achieve the recognition of his peers: Rolf Schnyder, the owner of the brand Ulysse Nardin, was sufficiently impressed by a quarter repeater movement with an automaton designed by Christophe Claret that he ordered twenty minute repeater calibers with San Marco jacquemarts at the Baselworld international watch fair.
Capitalizing on this momentum, in 1989 Mr Claret founded the Claret Manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the cradle of the world’s watchmaking industry. The manufacture soon established itself in the big league, thanks to its expertise in creating complicated movements.
|Christophe Claret, the Master watchmaker and founder of ‘Manufacture Claret’|
Working behind the scenes for the most prestigious brands, Mr Claret also created special models commissioned by collectors and bearing his own name. But it wasn’t until 2009, and the launch of the DualTow, that the public at large finally discovered the talent of this exceptional watchmaker, already acclaimed by his peers. The Christophe Claret brand now belongs to the exclusive circle of independent watch manufacturers capable of mastering the entire production process of Haute Horlogerie watches – from the original idea through to final regulation.
“In watchmaking, everything has already been done, and everything has yet to be invented”: whether a creed or a ritual, the Christophe Claret formula is evident at every stage of the design process within the manufacture’s atelier. The watchmaker takes his inspiration from tradition and heritage to create exceptional and surprising creations. His watches are at the cutting edge of technology and innovation, offering new forms of expression for the most classic of grand complications. Sometimes playful, often spectacular, the timepieces are infused with the emotion of discovery, discipline and intuition that turn a watchmaker into an artist.
There was nothing to suggest that the young Christophe Claret would eventually make the cycle of time his own. It was only after a chance visit to a watchmaker-restorer at the age of 14 that the possibility presented itself. From that point on, the mechanics of time would grow to become his passion. At just 19 years of age, he graduated from the Geneva Watchmaking School, continuing his education with the master-watchmaker Roger Dubuis who, in taking him under his wing, passed on the secrets of restoration and the mysteries of complex horological mechanisms.
Upon returning to his native city of Lyon, Christophe Claret set up his first horological workshop in the family home. He decided to specialize in restoring antique timepieces, perfecting his finishing techniques and crafting open-work or “skeletonized” watches.
1987 was a year of revelation: during his first visit to the Baselworld international watch fair, Christophe Claret met a man who would alter the course of his life. Rolf Schnyder, a Swiss industrialist who had just acquired the Ulysse Nardin brand, placed an order with Mr Claret for twenty minute repeater movements with San Marco jacquemarts. It provided the impetus he needed and two years later Mr Claret founded his first company, which was soon followed by another, ‘Manufacture Claret’.
Manufacture Christophe Claret
Within a decade, the name Christophe Claret became a benchmark in the field of complicated movements. Following on from Ulysse Nardin, seventeen other prestigious customers, including Franck Muller, deGrisogono, Girard-Perregaux, Jean Dunand and Harry Winston, turned to him to develop their most complex calibers. Christophe Claret therefore decided to establish his company within a setting worthy of his reputation and his ambitions.
In 1999, Christophe Claret acquired the Manoir du Soleil d’Or, a venerable mansion on the hills overlooking the nearby town of Le Locle, a stone’s throw from the Musée d’Horlogerie des Monts. There he set up his workshops, breathing new life into the residence formerly owned by the watchmaker Urban Jürgensen.
|Manufacture Christophe Claret|
From 2002 to 2008, Manufacture Claret expanded its workshops by a further 2000 m2. Today, operating at the cutting edge of technology and expertise, it employs almost a hundred highly-qualified experts in over thirty separate disciplines.
While continuing to design exceptional movements for the most prestigious brands, Christophe Claret also produces watches bearing his own name, often one-of-a-kind creations commissioned by collectors won over by Mr Claret’s superlative horological mastery. Initially a low-key activity, his Christophe Claret branded pieces gained a higher profile in 2009 when he created the DualTow to celebrate the Manufacture’s 20th anniversary. This mechanical distillation of all of the watchmaker’s talent unlocked a freedom to create which resulted in highly complex, exclusive pieces.
|Christophe Claret DualTow|
The Christophe Claret brand now belongs to the extremely exclusive circle of independent Haute Horlogerie brands that design, develop and produce their watches entirely in-house. To gain recognition in the world of Haute Horlogerie is something that very few watchmakers can now expect to accomplish. In order to succeed, Christophe Claret constantly reviews the manufacture’s quality criteria. Respect for watchmaking traditions and time-honoured savoir-faire go hand in hand with a quest for innovation and excellence.
Because he understands that environment influences creativity and quality, Christophe Claret has always made sure that his staff enjoy superior working conditions. The offices and workshops are regularly refurbished, and the organization of work is fine-tuned to encourage communication and cooperation. Staff benefit from ultra-modern equipment in a beautifully tranquil setting.
Every year, Christophe Claret invests in new machines and tools, often designing his own machines under the name of Christophe Claret Engineering. The Flashcut Laser cutting machine designed by the company offers as yet unrivaled cutting accuracy and speed. The simultaneous 16-axis CNC, which took three years to design and develop, is used to produce the manufacture’s most complex mainplates and cases.
|CHRISTOPHE CLARET KANTHAROS|
New models start their life in the design department. Movement design engineers, watch exterior design engineers, designers and computer graphics specialists all give shape and color to the exceptional complications conceived by Christophe Claret. Then it’s over to the watchmaking ateliers. The hundreds of components that make up the movements are painstakingly produced by the very finest craftsmen, assisted by state-of-the-art technology. CNC operators, bar turners, electroplaters, case finishers and heat treatment specialists perform the ultra-precise movements that characterize this extremely demanding discipline.
Alongside the machines, the nimble fingers of the craftsmen and watchmakers practice their discipline like an art belonging to a bygone era, yet paradoxically more alive today than ever. Haute Horlogerie is one of the few sectors that could not have survived without these extremely specialized skills, finely honed and often drawing on traditional craftsmanship.
A large part of the work is carried out exclusively by hand. Specialists in anglage, trimming, drawing-out and decoration draw on years of experience often handed down from generation to generation. The guilloché, engraving and enameling work is entrusted to only the very finest craftsmen in Switzerland. Finally, the master watchmakers of the manufacture assemble each and every part of the movement, from A to Z.
All of the components then undergo stringent testing in the “TCR” Testing, Certification and Reliability) atelier, where they receive their certificate of production. Chiming watches are subject to particular scrutiny: to guarantee a perfect melody, the quality of the gongs, the frequency and the duration of the notes and their intervals are all computer-tested. Each piece then undergoes a final validation by Christophe Claret himself.
Official Website: https://www.christopheclaret.com/en/