Thursday, March 22, 2012

Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 Watch Use Magnets to Display Time

Most watch makers steer far away from magnets.  After all magnets can confound the precision of a watch; however Christophe Claret embraces magnetism and uses its properties to display time.
The futuristic proportions of the titanium three dimensional curvex main plate compliment the innovative technologies of the movement.  The flying tourbillon is at a 30 ° angle for more visibility, which in itself is quite a technological feat, except this tourbillon is straddled on either side by magnetic fields.  Tiny hollow steel spheres   encased in hollow Sapphire crystal tubes travel unaided to indicate the time on a retrograde display.  The spheres are not attached to any mechanical component, but move as a result of magnetism. 

The XTREM name of the watch summarizes its  impact in horology.
X - Experimental
T - Time
R - Research 
E - Engineering 
M - Mechanism

I am truly intrigued with Christophe Claret's use of magnetism - a natural phenomenon - which watch makers work to avoid by creating anti-magnetic watches, but its seems Christophe Claret wants to tame environmental adversaries and use it for his own devices -  almost like capturing a bolt of lightening to illuminate a city.  What wonders that would do to the natural resources of the world. 
Capturing a lightening flash may be far off in the future, but Christophe Claret's use of magnetism is now. 

 The 4mm diameter spheres weighing only 0.100 grams are precisely coaxed up and down the 23mm cylindrical hollowed tube by a uniform magnetic field created by tiny magnets.  The tiny magnets are attached to thin, strong, woven silk thread the likes of which are used in the medical field. - SOFSILK
The hours and minutes are coated in Super-LumiNova as well as Super-LumiNova graduations within the sapphire tubes.  This enables visibility of the time in the dark. 
Christophe Claret utilized the expertise of professor Besson at  the School of Business and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD), to ensure the magnets had absolutely no effects on the precision of the movement.  
The watch is hand wound - probably because an oscillating weight would be impossible due to the  magnetism.  However two barrels are used to store the energy - one  for the flying tourbillon (affixed with double ceramic bearings to increase resistance to shock) to ensure constant uniform timekeeping. The second barrel is dedicated to powering the  display gear train regulated by a unique escapement interacting with a timing gear train. A complex series of mechanical events  cause the movement of the magnets and consequently the attraction of the hollowed steel spheres.  The spheres themselves only react to magnetism and have no connection to any mechanical mechanisms. The timepiece is equipped with  more than 50 hour power reserve

The  movement is thoroughly tested and is provided with a certificate guaranteeing quality and precision.

The timepiece is available in three version , -  rose gold, white gold or platinum each accompanied by bead-blasted black PVD coated grade 5 titanium.  Only 8 pieces of each is available.  The cost of the white gold is 264,000 Swiss francs; rose gold is 268,000 Swiss Frans and Platinum is $288,000 Swiss Francs.


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