Friday, April 8, 2016

Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 (New Versions)

Four years after unveiling the X-TREM-1 timepiece, Christophe Claret reveals two new versions in damascened steel, issued in 8-piece limited edition. X-TREM-1, the first of a generation of exceptional timepieces, represents a major technical and aesthetic accomplishment: a flying tourbillon inclined at a 30° angle, mounted on a three-dimensional curvex titanium mainplate, 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 Extreme Complications Watches line expresses Christophe Claret’s determination to continue pushing the boundaries of mechanical watchmaking, integrating certain fields of research never previously applied in this domain. X-TREM-1 is a fine example of this approach that involves using a system driven by magnetic fields display the hours and minutes.
The challenge was bold and some might say a little crazy: How could someone possibly think about introducing a 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 caseband – are controlled by precision magnetic fields generated by two miniature magnets moved by cables. The cables are incredibly flexible, made from hundreds of Dyneema nanofibers 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 (4 hundredths of a mm in diameter). The resistance of the thread has been tested in the Manufacture Claret on an accelerated-wear simulator corresponding to six 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 technology was developed 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.
Driven as ever by a determination to present avant-garde timepieces, white or 5N red gold and damascened steel were the metals chosen to make the case of this new version of the X-TREM-1.

Damascened steel is traditionally produced by layer-assembling two types of stainless 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. For this new X-TREME-1 model, the grades of steel used are 316L and 304L. The difficulty lay in introducing gold or ceramic into damascened steel for the time indication, and the second challenge involved actually machining the case from the extremely resistant damascened steel.

The many details that make a difference and contribute to giving this model its strength include the subtle color match between the case, the spheres, the hours and minutes numerals, the tourbillon age and the Christophe Claret logo.

Each of the two versions is produced in an 8-piece limited edition.

Technical details

Movement
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
Dual barrels: one for the movement gear train, one for the time indications
Display-regulation escapement: The tourbillon movement and the time indication gear trains each have their own independent energy supply to optimize power distribution and duration
       
Tourbillon   
Swiss lever 
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

Functions           
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

Mainplate
Curvex with sides inclined at 30° angle
Mainplate and bridges in bead-blasted titanium
Open-worked ratchet and wheel

Distinctive features
Use of precisely-shaped magnetic fields in a mechanical movement
No mechanical connection between the indications and the movement
Winding and time-setting via lift-out rotating “bows” on caseback

Models
X-TREM-1 MTR.FLY11.130-138
Rectangular case with curvex profile
Dimensions: 40.80 x 56.80 x 15 mm
Water resistance: 3 ATM / 30 m / 100 ft
Case material: White gold and damascened steel with time indication in black ceramic
Spheres: Black chrome-treated stainless steel
Strap: Anthracite alligator
Edition: 8-piece limited series
Retail Price: Price in Swiss francs (ex VAT): 272,000.-

X-TREM-1 MTR.FLY11.140-148
Rectangular case with curvex profile
Dimensions: 40.80 x 56.80 x 15 mm
Water resistance: 3 ATM / 30 m / 100 ft
Case material: 5N red gold and damascened steel with time indication in 5N red gold or black ceramic
Spheres: 4N pink gold stainless steel
Strap: Anthracite alligator
Edition: 8-piece limited series
Retail Price: Price in Swiss francs (ex VAT): 268,000.-

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