Less than two weeks ago aBlogtoWatch previewed the newest mechanical gaming watch by Swiss Christophe Claret. Able to play a full game of Texas Hold 'em, the Christophe Claret Poker is the most complicated mechanical gaming watch this or any other watch manufacture has ever produced. As we previously mentioned, this is the third and perhaps final in a collection of limited edition ultra-luxury "toy" timepieces meant for whimsy and fun, and the exploration of all that can be done in a time wrist-worn mechanism.
It all started with the Christophe Claret Blackjack 21, but did you know that it was not what he intended to release first? In fact the Poker was to be his first gaming watch but it proved a bit more complicated than his team anticipated. So back in 2011 Christophe Claret released a watch that played Blackjack which would eventually lead up to the Poker piece now in 2014. We have yet to see the piece hands on, but look forward to giving you a full hands-on review after Mr. Claret antes up.
At 45mm wide the Poker fits the same aesthetic mold as Claret's previous gaming timepieces. It is a case design that he debuted with the Blackjack 21, but has seen life in other models that don't even closely fit the gaming theme (such as the musical Soprano watch). There is typically a trio of models available featuring Claret's penchant for materials and bright colors. While he always focuses on the 18k white gold and titanium models first (I guess he loved the red accents), one of the most visually interesting variations is when he uses blue spinel hands mixed with black.
In the Poker collection this latter combination finds itself in the PVD black-coated titanium model with blue accents. The hands are edged with blue spinel, while other models have had lined with synthetic ruby (red), as well as onyx (black). These are easily some of the coolest hands around, and in person they look even better. The case design is strictly modern. While Claret is more than capable when it comes to producing classically themed timepieces, he seems to have zero interest in doing so for the watches with his name on it. Yes, Christophe Claret does continue to produce and assist in the design of highly complex mechanical movements for a range of other watch brand clients. Few very people on the planet produce anything even remotely like what Christophe Claret does.
The movement inside of the Poker watch is both more simple and more complicated than we originally anticipated when we previewed the new watch. We stated that it would allow the user to play a game of Poker against the watch itself. That is still true if you wish to play alone, but the system is actually designed for up to three players. The game of course is Texas Hold 'em, and Claret chose it because it reduces the internal complexity of the system. Having said that, the in-house made PCK05 automatic movement still contains 655 parts, 72 jewels, a collection of ball bearings, and it even operates at a modern frequency of 28,800 bph while maintaining a power reserve of 72 hours.
In fact, the movement is like two machines. One is for keeping the time, while the rest is for the poker game. The gaming system is completely powered by pressing the pushers as we understand it - which means there is no drain on the mainspring barrel. I also includes a signature Christophe claret "cathedral-style" gong that chimes each time one of the pushers is pressed. That doesn't add to the functionality, but it does add to the pleasure of playing with the Poker watch. So how does it work?