Christophe Claret Aventicum
Christophe Claret has often been known to debut highly complicated and sometimes cleverly playful timepieces during the Geneva fair — such as last year’s Poker watch — but the brand went comparatively low-key this year (well, low-key for Claret) with the elegant Aventicum, a watch whose central attraction is not a high-tech horological feat but an eye-catching and artistic optical effect. Brand founder and namesake Claret, a history buff, envisioned the watch as an homage to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and the ancient Roman city of Aventicum, whose ruins now lie in Switzerland, near the town of Avenches. In the center of the dial is a miniature gold bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, measuring less than 3 mm high, which is magnified by an invention called a mirascope. Never before used in watchmaking, the mirascope is comprised 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. Thus, the bust of the Roman Emperor (a replica of an actual bust found in the ruins of Aventicum in 1939) appears to be thrusting out of the middle of the watch.
But it wouldn’t be a Christophe Claret watch without some other playful touches as well. Because of the mirascope’s prominent place in the dial’s center, the hours and minutes are indicated (on Roman numerals, naturally) by small pointers made of carbon fiber, revolving on an invisible ring on the dial’s periphery. And the movement’s transparent sapphire winding rotor, visible through a display caseback, is adorned with five tiny Roman racing chariots, with which the owner can occupy a few free moments by engaging in an interactive chariot race. By positioning the watch horizontally and performing one or two waving movements, the chariots are jumpstarted by the rotor’s action, which then stops. The player whose chariot finishes above the “A” of Aurèle (Aurelius), engraved on the periphery, is the winner.
The Christophe Claret Aventicum is available in two limited editions: 68 pieces in rose gold and anthracite-PVD-treated grade 5 titanium (49,000 CHF) and 38 pieces in white gold and anthracite-PVD-treated grade 5 titanium (53,000 CHF). Both versions come on a black alligator leather strap.
Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Monsieur Bovet
This new timepiece from Bovet represents a synergy of the Fleurier-based brand’s two most important developments of recent years: its convertible Amadeo case — which allows the watch to transform easily from wristwatch to pocketwatch, pendant watch, or desk clock — and its innovative Virtuoso II movement, introduced in 2014 in two models from Bovet’s Dimier collection. (Dimier watches differ from those in the Bovet Fleurier collection in that they are equipped with a traditional winding crown on the side, as opposed to a pocketwatch-inspired winding crown at 12 o’clock) The Virtuoso II movement is the brand’s first non-tourbillon in-house movement, which also boasts a dual display of hours and minutes on both sides of the movement (meaning each watch can have two dial displays), and a patented, double co-axial seconds display mechanism that indicates seconds on both sides while sharing the same axis but with opposite directions of rotation. Such a mechanism lends itself perfectly to the versatile Amadeo case system, and a reversible watch with two different dial designs on the front and back.
The hand-wound Virtuoso movement also stores a seven-day power reserve in a single spring barrel and has a frequency of 21,600 vph. On one dial side, an off-centered subdial at 12 o’clock displays the hours and minutes while a seconds carriage at 6 o’clock uses a triple hand to trace the 120º arc of the seconds scale. The rest of the clear dial offers a view of the elegantly curved bridges, the center wheel and its bridge (at 4 o’clock), the balance spring and balance cock, and a power reserve indicator (at 10 o’clock). On the reverse side, the dial has a more classical, timeless look, with a gleaming, lacquered dial in black or white, central hours and minutes hands in Bovet’s serpentine style, applied Roman numerals, and an aperture at 6 o’clock for another view of the co-axial seconds carriage.
The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Monsieur Bovet is available in a 43.5-mm-diameter case in rose gold or white gold. Each comes on a full-skin alligator leather strap with an ardillon buckle, along with a rhodium-plated silver chain for the pocketwatch and pendant watch conversions. The rose gold model costs $74,700 and the white gold model, $78,200. Both are limited editions of 100 pieces.