Christophe Claret | 58'000 € Tax inc.

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Aventicum is inspired by a gold bust of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius unearthed in 1939 at Avenches, Switzerland. At the heart of this timepiece, Christophe Claret has placed a small-scale reproduction of this bust in gold, 3mm high and micro-engraved. Its full beauty can be appreciated thanks to mirascope optics that magnify and project the micro-sculpture like a three-dimensional hologram.
Christophe Claret has always been intrigued by the history of Aventicum, which was the capital of Roman Helvetia for more than 300 years and the ruins of which now lie near the Swiss town of Avenches. Even today at the Aventicum excavation sites, archaeologists continue to unearth precious artefacts dating from this rich era of antiquity. Among the excavated objects was a priceless finding: a solid gold bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, which was found in 1939 when an old pipe was being cleaned.
A micro-engraved gold replica of the Marcus Aurelius bust can be found in the centre of the dial. The faithful, small-scale representation of the Emperor – measuring less than three millimetres – is displayed in magnified form thanks to a clever invention called the mirascope. In implementing this optical effect in Aventicum, the bust of Marcus Aurelius looks as if it is thrusting out of the middle of the watch.
Turning over Aventicum, the patented, transparent sapphire-winding rotor of the automatic movement can be admired through the display back. The rotor is embellished with five numbered Roman Gaul racing chariots in full swing of a thrilling competition.
Aventicum is available in two limited editions: 68 pieces in 5N red gold and anthracite PVD-treated, grade 5 titanium; and 38 pieces in palladium-rich white gold and anthracite PVD-treated, grade 5 titanium.

Technical specifications

Caliber: AVE15, automatic-winding
Dimensions: Diameter: 26.20 mm / Height: 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
‘Mystery’ oscillating weight with sapphire crystal segment and transferred motifs
Dimensions: 44 x 52.11 x 18.49 mm
Water resistance: 3 ATM / 30 m / 100 ft

Who's who

Both arrived in watchmaking at about the same time, both tend to take the roads less travelled, both take care to cultivate their distinctiveness – and yet they had never worked together. It has taken Christophe Claret and Laurent Picciotto, unrepentant outsiders in the new wave of watchmaking, twenty years to find each other.

I'd already noticed his creations when he was still working for other brands, all powered by Claret movements,” recalls Laurent Picciotto. “His name would keep cropping up – and always in conjunction with top-level grandes complications.” Gradually, the Claret name established itself and high-flying watches arrived in quick succession, until the Claret name finally became a brand in its own right.

The two brands now complement one another perfectly. Chronopassion is just the right match for the watchmaker, whose creations are as extravagant as he himself is discreet, providing its unrivalled experience in unconventional watches and worldwide renown. The arrival of Christophe Claret at rue Saint-Honoré marks the logical outcome for two independents; champions whose paths meet at the summit. “Claret is so outstanding that collaboration was inevitable,” explains Laurent Picciotto.

From the first sapphire bridges by Claret (“twenty years ahead of their time,” notes Picciotto) to the recent X-Trem-1 and Margot, the master watchmaker from Le Locle has woven a path that successfully combines fun with technical skill and creativity to produce pure poetry. “For me, the Margot is a best-seller: a watch which makes you want to play and that’s also redolent with emotion,” explains Laurent Picciotto. “When you place it on the table, it generates the same reaction as the X-Trem-1: a ‘wow’ effect; the thrill of discovering an outstanding object, so perfected that it’s irresistible.”

Little wonder, then, that Claret’s place at Chronopassion is so natural. It’s that of a coherent brand which has reached full maturity. The watchmaker’s creations can’t even really be termed “complicated” any more; they go much further than that. They explore unknown territory, pushing back the technical and creative boundaries of watchmaking – as do all those selected by Chronopassion. 

Journalist : Olivier Müller

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