Enough with me explaining or trying to justify why pieces like the Kantharos are so “different” looking. Every well-rounded watch collection needs some wild stuff in it, and Christophe Claret hasn’t exactly had any trouble getting people excited about their products – especially in Asia and the US. So, let’s get back to our little hands-on experience with these pieces. As you can see, Claret is offering the Kantharos in range of colors. Each has a 45mm wide case that is titanium. Some are PVD anthracite gray, and some have wither 18k white or pink gold bezels and crowns. Hands are produced with edges in materials such as synthetic ruby or blue spinel, and are bold and well-size. Legibility is very high on a watch like this, and I promise you that legibility is a deciding factor in why a lot of people like it.
When I first spent time looking at the dial, I felt it was busy and a bit all over the place. Spending time with the actual piece I began to appreciate the design a lot more. There honestly isn’t too much extra on the dial that doesn’t need to be there, and elements like the exposed hammer and window for the constant force escapement are necessary. It really comes down to what color scheme you like the most. In any event the dial is impressive. Claret himself is not a large man, but he loves a large watch. And when it comes to something like this you want bold. 45mm wide is a good size to serve as a frame for all the stuff going on here.
Perhaps the most unique element on the dial is the sapphire window/bridge for constant force escapement. This is a mechanism that ensure power from the mainspring barrel is delivered at a constant rate to the movement, no matter the torque. What this means is that over the course of a spring winding down, the movement offers the same level of accuracy. It is for sure and exotic feature, and you see it very rarely in timepieces these days. The execution of it is beautiful, and it offers a smart alternative to the tourbillon as something to promote on the dial.
Turn the Kantharos over and you can easily appreciate the fine detailing and obvious complexity of the MBA13 automatic movement – the first automatic movement presented in a Christophe Claret watch. The wide diameter movement looks stunning through the caseback exhibition window with its finely beveled edges and many parts (558 of them). Even though the movement operates at only 3Hz, the constant force escapement should “keep it regular” and helps with the 48 hours of power reserve.
The chronograph mechanism measures 30 minutes and is operated via a monopusher presser. Originally debuted on the Dual Tow, the Kantharos once again incorporates Claret’s desire for auditory recognition that you did something to the chronograph with the sonnerie gong. As we show you in our little video, pressing the pusher activates the gong which delivers a soothing “dong” each time you start, stop, or reset the chronograph. Necessary? No. Interesting and fun? For sure. When it comes down to it timepieces of this ilk ought to be all about fun. Christophe Claret doesn’t claim to bear the name of a 200-year-old watch maker and I don’t think any former kings of France wore his watches. Nevertheless, he is a talented guy with a clever sense of how to be different in a quality way in the funny little world that is the Swiss watch industry. Prices for the Kantharos watches start at 96,000 Swiss Francs. christopheclaret.com