The Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 timepiece is now available in new versions enhanced with the damascened steel.
Christophe Claret’s X-TREM-1 is an extreme complications watch that represents a major technical and aesthetic accomplishment: a flying tourbillon inclined at a 30° angle, mounted on a three-dimensional curvex titanium main-plate, equipped with a retrograde hours and minutes display system that is radically different from existing watchmaking conventions. Two tiny hollowed steel spheres, isolated within sapphire tubes on the left and right sides of the caseband, magically move with no mechanical connection thanks to magnetic fields.
The X-TREM-1 watch incorporates a system driven by magnetic fields display the hours and minutes. It is an unorthodox concept to introduce magnetic field – the arch enemy of horological mechanisms – into the heart of a watch. The Christophe Claret team has done just that by creating a system where two small steel spheres – hollowed to make them lighter and encased within two sapphire tubes placed to the right and left of the case-band – are controlled by precision magnetic fields generated by two miniature magnets moved by cables.
The cables are incredibly flexible, made from hundreds of Dyneema nano-fibers all contained within an ultra-high-strength polyethylene gel, capable of withstanding tensile forces of up to a kilo. The entire thread is thinner than a human hair. The resistance of the thread has been tested in the Manufacture Claret on an accelerated-wear simulator corresponding to 60 years of operation.
The spheres have no mechanical connection with the movement, with each one floating inside the two tubes and creating outstanding horological magic. This extraordinary mechanism was developed in partnership with the School of Business and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD) in Yverdon-les-Bains, and a team headed by Professor Besson.
The entire construction and finishing of this timepiece meets the extreme demands systematically imposed by Christophe Claret. Ultra-light titanium was used for the three-dimensional curvex mainplate and the bridges. The flying tourbillon is fitted with double ceramic bearings to enhance its shock-resistance. It is inclined at a 30-degree angle in order to make it even more clearly visible to the wearer. The hand-wound watch draws its energy from two barrels enabling the use of a sophisticated display without disturbing the rate of the tourbillon, and thus the accuracy of the watch. The first barrel is reserved for the tourbillon, the second for the hours and minutes.
New Damascened Steel Versions
A keen student of history, Christophe Claret felt it would be an interesting exercise to craft the case of the X-TREM-1 – the most innovative and contemporary model in his collection – from damascened steel produced using ancestral methods.
Damascened steel was first made in the Caucasus around 2500 BC, soon after the discovery of iron, and subsequently spread throughout Europe as well as to Asia. Damascened steel is traditionally produced by layer-assembling two types of steel. Several successive forging and folding steps result in a piece of metal that may comprise several hundreds of layers. This extremely technical high-end alloy boasts excellent properties: a homogenous structure, pure material, as well as extreme resistance to corrosion and shocks.
The X-TREM-1 blue Damascus edition boasts a pleasing aesthetic alliance between Blue PVD titanium and blue PVD damascened steel. Driven as ever by a determination to present avant-garde timepieces, PVD-treated grade-5 titanium and damascened steel were the metals chosen to make the case of this new version of the X-TREM-1.
The X-TREM-1 Damascus model in white gold with Damascus steel features black lacquer numerals and black chrome-treated stainless steel spheres. The 5N red gold with damascened steel version features 5N red gold numerals and 4N pink gold-colored stainless steel spheres.
For these new X-TREM-1 models, the grades of steel used are 316L and 304L. The difficulty lay in introducing gold or lacquer into damascened steel for the time indication, and the second challenge involved actually machining the case from the extremely resistant damascened steel, and especially to develop specific tools, capable of machining the damask composed of two different stainless steels.
Each X-Trem-1 edition is produced in an 8-piece limited edition.
Caliber: FLY11 – mechanical, hand-wound movement
Dimensions: 26.6 x 46.4 x 11.94 mm
Number of components: 419
Number of jewels: 64
Power reserve: 50+ hours
Barrels: Dual barrels: one for the movement gear train, one for the time indications
Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 vph)
Tourbillon rotates once every 60 seconds
Flying tourbillon inclined at 30° supported by a double ceramic bearing, with cone-shaped pinion transmission
Mystery hours and minutes displayed with indications provided by hollowed steel spheres moving 23 mm inside two cylindrical sapphire tubes. The metal spheres are driven by magnetic carriages following a thread.
Seconds displayed on the tourbillon cage
Movement state-of-wind indication
Fast time adjustment is via an integrated pusher on the caseband at 12 o’clock
Quick time correction per pusher at 12 o’clock (Tboard Key)
Use of precisely-shaped magnetic fields in a mechanical movement
No mechanical connection between time indications and the movement
Winding and time-setting via lift-out rotating “bows” on caseback
Rectangular with curvex profile
Dimensions: 40.80 x 56.82 x 15 mm
Water resistance: 2 ATM / 20 m / 67 ft
X-Trem-1, Reference: MTR.FLY11.180-188
- Material: Titanium PVD Blue and damascened steel blue with black lacquer numerals; Sapphire tubes
- Spheres: Orange-colored stainless steel
- Strap: Blue alligator
- 8- Piece limited series
- Price in Swiss Francs (ex VAT): 268’000.-
X-Trem-1, Reference: MTR.FLY11.130-138
- Material: White gold and damascened steel with black lacquer numerals; Sapphire tubes
- Spheres: Black chrome-treated stainless steel
- Strap: Anthracite alligator
- 8-piece limited series
- Price in Swiss francs (ex VAT): 272,000.-
X-Trem-1, Reference: MTR.FLY11.140-148
- Material: 5N red gold and damascened steel with 5N red gold numerals; Sapphire tubes
- Spheres: 4N pink gold-colored stainless steel
- Strap: Anthracite alligator
- 8-piece limited series
- Price in Swiss francs (ex VAT): 268,000.-