The biggest buzz in Basel surrounded Christophe Claret’s DualTow, an amazing timepiece created to celebrate the eponymous manufacture’s 20th anniversary. The hand-winding caliber CC20A has 582 parts including 73 jewels and features a one-minute tourbillon and a patented single-pusher planetary-gear chronograph with a striking mechanism that chimes when the chronograph pusher is activated. All parts except the hairspring are made in Mr. Claret’s manufacture. The hours and minutes are displayed on rubber belts that were inspired by the tracks on Caterpillar vehicles. Each belt has its own tensioning system. Twin parallel barrels provide more than 50 hours of power reserve. The movement took 2 years to develop, which seems little time given its uniqueness and complexity, but the short development cycle is a tribute to Mr. Claret’s experience and expertise. The case measures 42.75 x 48.2mm not including the articulated lugs. The buckle allows the strap to be extended by 10mm to maximize wearing comfort.
During an interview, Mr. Claret stressed that he is not launching his own brand. In fact this is not the first time he has created his own complete watches. Ten years ago he created 10 pieces bearing his name, and they sold quickly, and discretely, to collectors. Ten years later the operation is more visible; the DualTow will be offered through approximately 12 select retailers worldwide. At press time the USA retailer had not been identified. A total of 68 pieces will be produced over next 3 to 4 years. The first piece should be delivered in 3 to 4 months.
The DualTow offers collectors an opportunity to create a unique piece by selecting from several options. For example, the case is available in red gold, white gold, platinum, and titanium, and the hour and minute belts are available in a variety of colors. A “configurator” on Mr. Claret’s web site allows potential buyers to create their one-of-a-kind piece, and once a particular set of options has been selected, the web site will not allow another watch to be configured in exactly the same way, thereby guaranteeing that each piece is unique. Each DualTow will be offered at $570,000 – there is no premium for platinum or discount for titanium. Mr. Claret commented that at this level, the money is in the movement, not the case.