Published, Verve Magazine, October 2016
‘In watchmaking, everything has already been done, and everything has yet to be invented.’
Born to a wealthy family in Lyon, and from the Geneva watchmaking school, Christophe Claret trained with Roger Dubuis and studied corporate management. With 25 years of experience in manufacturing for watch brands including Ulysse Nardin, Claret, who’s currently wearing his Maestoso watch, decided along the way to use his Neuchâtel operations for his own brand, where he ‘reinterprets haute horlogerie’. Besides the traditional and extreme lines with complications is his range of gaming watches. For example, while the Poker allows a real three-player Texas Hold ’Em game, Baccara doubles as a miniature casino with three games: baccarat (baccara in French), roulette and dice, each one of which also engages your audio, visual and tactile senses. Created especially for women are the Margot and Marguerite, romantic watches with a play on the ‘He loves me, he loves me not’ game, and the latter can have a personalised secret message.
Your watches are unique. How much importance is placed on art and design?
It is important to produce something with innovation. If I take inspiration from the watch industry, I would be recreating the same old design. It is very important to do something new. I am a perfectionist and for me, it’s perfection for detail and the aesthetic together that’s important.
You’ve launched a gaming collection. Do you play?
No. Never. I’m afraid to play! Some people can bet a lot of money and boom — that can go away! It’s crazy. The watch works for those who play, and those who don’t can enjoy the technicality of the complication.
What drew you to complications for women?
I’ve wanted to produce pieces for women for a long time. Despite what the other watchmakers thought, I’ve always believed that they are a big market for speciality products. That’s why I created Margot — a very complicated watch. We sold many pieces! And Marguerite happened. Today, many other brands are designing big complications for women. Though I was the first!
Do you see an audience in India?
I am very interested to sell in India. It’s a little complicated to open something there because you have tax issues. I’m sure there is a market for us. For the Marguerite and X-Trem-1, for example. I think we will be looking at India very soon.