Unlike Five Card Stud, Texas Hold ‘Em has players share amongst a pool of cards while they each have two of their own. Claret designed the Poker watch to offer up to three players the ability to play at once. The way he designed this was rather brilliant- and remarkably effective. Each time you “draw” by pushing the center pusher on the left side of the case all the cards spin and are “dealt.” That includes the shared hand as well as the three individual hands. A series of slanted blinds makes it so that you can only see one hand at a time. It actually works, and amazingly, each of these small blinds must be inserted by hand on each dial.
Two additional pushers on the left side of the case act to reveal or hide the Turn and River cards. The Flop (first three cards) are always displayed. Each time one of the pushers is pressed they also activate a satisfying chime that uses the same hammer and gong system that complex minute repeater timepieces rely on. You can play each game quickly and start over with just three pushes. It is honestly as easy as video poker. I am not a huge poker person, but I was really impressed by the refinement of the system. It takes what would otherwise be something gimmicky to a real high-end wrist treat. Though I should have expected as much given that Christophe Claret did prove himself already with the 21 Blackjack and Baccarat watches.
Many agree that the Poker is the best of the three gaming watches, but I sort of feel that they each have individual merit. Actually, the Poker is the “least” expensive of the three given that Claret was able to refine the system to make it as simple as possible. The dial is meant to look like a card table and has a series of laser-cut card motifs designed into it. The case is 45mm wide and offered in a combination of 18k red gold and titanium, 18k white gold and titanium, or fully in black-coated titanium with either gold, ruby, or spinel blue hands. Personally, the gold and black model is my favorite as it seems to emphasize the theme best. Not only is the look of black and gold very flattering and masculine, but it also emphasizes the glitzy nature of the Vegas-esque motif.
Inside the watch, of course, is a fully mechanical automatic movement made in-house at Christophe Claret. Finishing is always good, and like previous models in the gaming collection, the automatic rotor has been turned into a roulette wheel. So that actually means there is a separate game you can play on the rear of the watch- though you need to take if off for that. The automatic rotor system has been augmented with a feature that forces it to stop at a specific point so that the wheel is pointing to a specific number. In its own way, it is just as fun to play with as the Poker complication. If you notice the “Lucky Number” emerald on the caseback, it is meant to point to…. well your lucky number. Claret offers a tool that allows you to adjust it to point to what ever your lucky number is… assuming it is between 0 and 35 (I believe that is how high the numerals go). It is just one of those little features that helps the watch feel more personal for the owner- even though they are part of a strict limited edition production anyways.
While it wasn’t possible to photograph the final “fun” feature of the watch, the front sapphire crystal does have a secret picture of a pin-up girl. Claret first used this feature in the Baccarat watch and when you breathed onto the crystal and caused condensation to form, an image would appear. I believe it was originally a dragon, and for the Poker watches it is a pin-up girl. It’s nothing racy (but that would be cool as well) and each of three versions of the Poker watch has a different picture on it. They’re another little bit of added whimsy.
Are the Christophe Claret Poker watches an homage to a tradition of fine watchmaking in is most conservative form? Thankfully not. What Christophe Claret does is take the principles of traditional watchmaking and transforms it using modern considerations that none of this stuff is necessary, but it is fun. Claret himself is perhaps his most excited client. With joy and passion, he shows off his latest mechanical wonder and his enthusiasm is infectious. These are cool watches and they certainly aren’t for everyone. Each will be limited to just 20 pieces (so 60 pieces total will ever be made). For more technical information I suggest you refer to our initial article on the Christophe Claret Poker watch (that we link to at the beginning of this article). The collection is priced between 160,000 – 172,000 Swiss Francs each, depending on the case material. christopheclaret.com