I haven’t personally met many of the watchmakers I feature on Total Watch Reviews. If I had endless financial resources I would attend every show and visit numerous production facilities in Switzerland. However in reality I would have to win the lottery to fulfil this ambition. Fortunately Baselworld is a great place to meet many of the leading personalities in the watch industry. It is also a perfect opportunity to try on timepieces that previously I could only dream of. As well as attending several scheduled appointments I also tried my luck with quite a few other companies. A great example is luxury Swiss watchmaker Christophe Claret.

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Even though I have never personally met Christophe Claret I am aware of his reputation. Certainly in the world of contemporary horology he is a leading light. In fact over the last 25 years he has created numerous complicated mechanical movements for his own label and other prestigious brands. A great example is his creative input on the wonderful Chapter One for American based company Maîtres du Temps. In 2008 Steven Holtzman established this unique company as a collaborative platform for renowned watchmakers.

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Certainly in my opinion the X-TREM-1 has to be the most innovative timepiece that Christophe Claret has ever produced (with the exception of maybe the Palace for Jean Dunand). I remember publishing an article on my website back in June 2013 about their ‘Only Watch’ donation called the X-TREM-1 Pinball. From that day forward I always hoped I would have the opportunity to wear this wonderful watch. Fortunately this year at Baselword I got the chance and was definitely not disappointed. The only comment I can make is that the timepiece is actually much smaller than I envisioned. In fact based on the specified dimensions (40.80mm x 56.80mm x 15 mm) I imagined it to be a similar size to the T1000 Gotham by Rebellion. Nevertheless this certainly isn’t a criticism in any way because I found the watch felt exceptionally comfortable and lightweight on the wrist.

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Visually the appearance of the X-TREM-1 Chocolate is right up there with the ‘Best of the Best’ contemporary watches on the market. Certainly a lot of thought has gone into the design and I can really imagine this timepiece will be a future museum piece. As well as serious features like the exposed tourbillon and magnificent open worked dial, there are also fun elements. For example, hours and minutes are displayed by seemingly floating spheres (operated by magnetic force) in two sapphire cylindrical tubes. Professor Besson at the School of Business and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD) in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, developed this technology.

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At the heart of the watch is a highly sophisticated manual winding tourbillon movement. The Caliber FLY11 comprises 64-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. Each of the mechanisms 419 individual parts have been fastidiously assembled and decorated by hand. Functionally the X-TREM-1 Chocolate features mystery floating hour and minute indications. The timepiece also has a power reserve of 50-hours and is water resistant to a depth of 30 metres.

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The X-TREM-1 Chocolate is limited to only 8 pieces and has a hand sewn alligator strap with titanium folding buckle. Priced for the connoisseur at: $308,000.

For more information about Christophe Claret visit the company’s website: http://www.christopheclaret.com

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