5N Red gold and titanium, White gold or platinum and titanium
Rhodium-plated dragon motif, Black PVD-treated skeletonised dragon motif or Burma jade and pink-gold dragon motif
< 30 metres
Red gold and PVD-treated titanium
£120,600 - 175,500
Christophe Claret is a Swiss luxury watch brand founded by the owner with the same name. Born in Lyon in 1962, he entered the Genèva Watchmaking School in 1978 and went on to train with casino tier Roger Dubuis. It was the same year he started his first workshop for refurbishing old watches in his family home. Around the same time, in the same place, he dedicated himself to another mechanical sentiment; renewing motorbikes. He graduated as a watchmaker in 1982. At the 1987 Basel fair, Rolf Schnyder, the owner and CEO of the Ulysse Nardin brand – ordered twenty minute-repeater calibres with San Marco jacks from Claret.
Two years later, Christophe Claret founded the self-named company, and it soon became a yardstick in the field of grand complication calibres. By 2009, he had become a popular watchmaker specialising in grand complications and decided to launch his first timepiece in his name – the DualTow. The Christophe Claret brand now is the property of a circle of independent Haute Horlogerie brands that layout, create and deliver their timepieces completely in-house.
The Swiss watch, Christophe Claret Baccara is an impressive timepiece inspired by the world of casinos. Continuing in the steps of DualTow, Adagio and 21 Blackjack (other spirited and interactive timepieces developed and created by Christophe Claret). The Claret Baccara functions as a miniature casino with three games: baccarat (‘baccara’ in French), roulette and dice. It took almost twelve months to develop the exclusive movement that drives this micro-mechanical phenomenon. It contains a special sapphire crystal that protects the Baccara’s dial which, when blown upon, reveals a talismanic Chinese ideogram.
Inside its unique case, the Baccara accommodates a veritable mini-casino constituting baccarat, roulette and dice, all using extraordinarily complicated micro-mechanics in addition to those delivering the traditional time indications of central hours and minutes.
The baccarat cards wonderfully appear on the dial almost as if by magic. At six o’clock, the player’s cards are circulated in three small apertures framed in either rhodium or red gold, depending on the version. The banker’s cards are located at twelve o’clock. To shuffle the cards, the player presses a pusher fixed at nine o’clock, which equips a spring, which then at the same time turns three gold discs on which they are stamped.
At eight o’clock, the pusher allows the cards to get distributed to the player. Ultimately, at ten o’clock, a third pusher arranges distribution to the bank. Every time the shutter opens, for either the player or the bank, a Cathedral gong rings and this amazing striking mechanism can be glimpsed via a lateral aperture at two o’clock.
Baccara also provides the wearer with the opportunity to experience the delights and flows of the craps table: a pair of carefully designed dice measuring 1.5 mm on each side is shielded in an enclosure at four o’clock and seen via a lateral aperture in the case band and rolled by a simple jolt of the wrist.
To safeguard and improve the Baccara’s deluxe calibre, remarkable concentration has been given to the smallest details of the 45mm case. It is available in three versions: white gold and grade 5 black PVD titanium; red gold/grade 5 black PVD titanium; and platinum/grade 5 black PVD titanium. Baccara’s dial is finished by an alluring silhouetted dragon or tiger, in between the two sets of card apertures.
Laser-cut in jade or black titanium plaque, this mythical creature and famous symbol of luck seems to be safeguarding both the timepiece and its owner. The case features a black lacquered bezel hour-markers. It has two windows; one showing the striking mechanism’s hammer and going and the other shows a pair of dice. The crown is either white gold and grade 5 black PVD titanium, and it is water-resistant to 3 ATM (30 metres).
On the sapphire crystal, a lucky Chinese ideogram is hidden and only appears when the watch is blown upon. This reveals it temporarily as if conjured by a spell, this novelty gimmick adds to the overall appeal and unique value of the watch. The action is usually seen as a small rite that should not be skipped, not only by superstitious players before starting their round of baccarat but indeed by anyone hoping to start their day on a promising note.
The ideogram is generated through a metallisation process of the sapphire crystal. It was particularly advanced for Christophe Claret and it was an idea that came to the skilled and experienced watchmaker during his journey to Macao. On the other side of Baccara is the winding rotor which is seen via the anti-reflective sapphire display-back crystal. It functions as the roulette wheel on which an arrow implies the winning number. Yet, Baccara owners will have the choice of having their lucky number inscribed on an emerald set in the timepiece.
The Christophe Claret Baccara is driven by a BCR09 mechanical self-winding calibre. The movement has 538 components, 40 jewels and 6 double sets of ceramic ball bearings. It features twin-barrel and has a frequency that runs at 4 Hz (28,800 vph). Its power reserve is approximately 72 hours.
The delicate complexity of Christophe Claret’s movement makes the watch feasible to have an actual and valid game of baccarat as if the wearer was in a real casino. As the bank and the player have 252 various card combinations accessible to them, there are exactly 63,504 game chances. Or, more specifically, as the player and the bank do not certainly draw a third card, there are 24,774 various game chances. Statistics reveal that the player has 29,731 possibilities of winning (46.82%) and the bank 28,039 (44.15%). There are 5,734 possibilities of a draw between the player and the bank (9.03%).
Though a bit quite heavy, the Baccara is a comfortable watch that sits and grabs around the wrist firmly. Its large size may not be appealing to all, but for those who like an attention-grabbing timepiece, this watch is more than capable of doing so. The watch is available with a black alligator leather with a two-screw attachment system that reduces destroying the case when the strap is changed.
Due to the novelty nature of the watch, the materials used, the intricacy, unique build and interactive elements not to forget the limited numbers available; getting your hand on a Baccara can be seen as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
As such, the pricing reflects this rare status as well as the brand’s premium, luxury status. Buying this timepiece is likely to set you back somewhere between £124,767 and £173,675.
Review: Christophe Claret Baccara
Christopher Claret may come across as a novelty act to some, there aren't many watches in his collection, but when there is one, it sure does leave a massive print in our imagination (and wallets). The Baccara does exactly, immaculately representing the three miniature casino games, appealing very successful to various senses.