Thursday, October 29, 2015

Christophe Claret Mecca

Christophe Claret unveils a timepiece whose symbolic power is highlighted by the ingenious optical phenomenon of the mirascope. At the center of this limited edition conveying a message of peace, the iconic Kaaba monument symbolizing the Muslim faith appears to literally burst out of the dial.

Exactly like the effigy of Emperor Marcus Aurelius enthroned at the heart of the Aventicum model unveiled in 2015, the micro-engraving of the Kaaba is highlighted by the mirascope, a process invented about thirty years ago at the University of California. The mirascope is composed of two identical parabolic mirrors arranged one on top of the other, creating an elliptical shape. The convex mirror on top has a hole in the middle. When an object is placed in the center of the concave bottom mirror, the reflection from the top mirror creates a hologram of the object, which appears nearly two times larger than it actually is. In implementing this optical effect in the Mecca model, the Kaaba looks as if it is thrusting out of the middle of the watch and offers a 360-degree view of the famous cube-shaped building erected at the center of the sacred mosque in the Holy City of Mecca.
Mecca, like all Christophe Claret signature timepieces, epitomizes the highest standards of fine watchmaking embodied by the brand. Developing the technically demanding mirascope to function perfectly took extreme dedication and focus. Two months of research and several prototypes were integral to obtaining the desired optical effect. The next critical step was designing and crafting the hour and minute hands, which had to be reconfigured, as the mirascope was now the centerpiece of the watch. The hands became pointers revolving on an invisible ring around the perimeter of the dial, each equipped with a counterweight to optimize stability. The challenge of creating the hands was to find a material light enough to compensate for the relatively larger – though mainly concealed – size of the display mechanism. The solution was to use anticorodal (aluminum), which has an excellent rigidity/weight coefficient.
The Mecca timepiece features a wealth of emblematic elements and references to the Muslim faith. First, the dial which opens on to the micro-engraving of the Kaaba is decorated with an oriental-inspired engraved motif lacquered in gray and green, the color of the Muslim faith. To accentuate the symbolism of the piece, the Arabic hour numerals were then replaced at 5 o’clock by a white ceramic stone and at 7 o’clock by a black spinel. The latter symbolizes the black stone located at the South-East angle of the Kaaba through which Muslims start the seven rounds of the Tawaf in a counter clockwise direction. The white ceramic represents this same stone, as described in the Koran before it became black due to repeated touching by pilgrims.
The ball-bearing cover is adorned with a transfer depicting the Kaaba, with the movement’s self-winding oscillating weight rotating around it. It should be noted that Christophe Claret has obtained a patent for the sapphire element connecting the ball bearings to the oscillating weight concealed behind a circle Crafted in sapphire so as to reveal the meticulous movement finishing, the oscillating weight bears a transferred world map featuring white dots symbolizing Muslims turning around the Kaaba.
Three Arabic expressions set the final touch to this new invitation to experience spirituality. At 12 o’clock, Masjid al-Haram means “The sacred mosque”. At 4 o’clock, the word “Tawaf” evokes the seven turns that the pilgrims must perform around the Kaaba. Finally, at 8 o’clock, Makkah al-Mukarramah means “The Holy City of Mecca”.

Technical details
Caliber: AVE15, self-winding
Diameter: 26.20 mm
Thickness: 3.37 mm (without hands)
Number of parts: 186
Number of jewels: 28
Barrels: Twin barrels
Power reserve: 72 hours
- Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vph)
- Swiss lever
Features: ‘Mystery’ oscillating weight with sapphire crystal segment and transferred motifs

Hours and minutes display

Dimensions: Ø 44 x 18.49 mm
Water resistance: 3 ATM / 30 m / 100 ft

Case: Grade 5 titanium and anthracite gray grade 5 PVD titanium; Hands in anticorodal, anodized black, 3N yellow gold
Crown: Grade 5 titanium and anthracite gray grade 5 PVD titanium
Strap: Black alligator leather with black stitching

Case: Grade 5 titanium ; Hands in anticorodal, anodized black, 3N yellow gold
Crown: Grade 5 titanium
Strap: Black alligator leather with black stitching

Distinctive features:
The Mecca timepiece is inspired by the Aventicum model: the dial center features a mirascope with a micro-engraving of the Kaaba, the cube-shaped “sacred mosque” (Masjid al-Haram) in Mecca, around which Muslims turn seven times in an anti-clockwise direction as part of the Tawaf ritual.

At 7 o’clock, a black spinel symbolizing the black stone located in the South-East angle of the Kaaba, where the Tawaf begins. At 5 o’clock, a white ceramic represents the black stone that the pilgrims touch with each turn and which was initially white in the Koran. The Kaaba is surrounded by an engraved Oriental-inspired motif lacquered in green and grey.

The ball-bearing cover bears a transfer depicting the Kaaba, considered to be the center of the world. On the sapphire oscillating weight revealing the movement, a transferred world map depicted with white dots symbolizes Muslims turning around the Kaaba, when the oscillating weight turns. The circumference of the oscillating weight bears an Oriental-inspired pink transferred motif.

A decorative plate bears a green transfer bearing three inscriptions in Arabic:
At 12 o’clock: Masjid al-Haram, which means “The sacred mosque”;
At 4 o’clock: Tawaf, which refers to the ritual of seven turns around the Kaaba that Pilgrims must perform;
At 8 o’clock: Makkah al-Mukarramah, the name of “The Holy City of Mecca”.

Limited edition of 63 pieces

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