January 19, 2014
by Ariel Adams
What we originally thought were rotating louvers are actually a “privacy blinds” system that prevents you from seeing the other player’s cards. Yup, imagine three adults sitting around a tiny poker table that takes the form of this watch. So if all three people are sitting in the right place, at the right angles, then they should only be able to see their own hand. In poker there are apparently 32,768 possible hand combinations assuming you are playing with a single deck. Given that there are three players in the Poker watch, that is a total of 98, 304 possible combinations that the dial can display. Let’s put that into perspective a bit. Do you recall the Girard-Perregaux Jackpot Tourbillon watch from 2007 with the working slot machine on the dial? That only had 125 possible output combinations.
In center plane of the dial contains five cards which are visible to everyone. This is part of how Texas Hold ’em is played. Unlike Five Card Stud where every player gets their own five cards, in Texas Hold ’em each person gets two private cards and seven visible cards that they can use to make the best possible hand of five cards. Not all of the five “public” cards are displayed at once. Three cards are initially displayed (the “flop”) and the players start to make bets. Then one more card is displayed (the “turn”) and more bets are placed. Finally the last card (the “river”) is displayed and the case is then determined based on who has the best possible poker hand. The movement inside of the Christophe Claret watch is designed to adhere to these rules, and the cards in the middle are displayed first as a set of the left three, and then the right two additional cards are displayed each with the press of a pusher.
Claret clearly has at least one patent on his poker mechanism, and you have to admit the implementation is rather brilliant. This isn’t a piece for mere video poker enthusiasts, this is a serious item of haute horology decided to a game. Christophe himself is very open about the fact that he applies the rules and values of traditional watchmaking in the production of extremely exclusive and highly entertaining modern luxury toys. He knows that people don’t need things like this. So what he does is create something that people want. This are amazing watches but they aren’t what we could call “beautiful” in the classic sense. They don’t have elegantly symmetrical dials or timeless designs, but they do have a serious right to demand envy because they represent an apex of “cool” that so few people in this world will be able to access.
If you recall the Blackjack 21 you will remember that the watch actually had three games in one. There was blackjack on the dial, three tiny dice in a small chamber, as well as a roulette wheel connected to the automatic rotor. The roulette wheel makes a comeback once again in the Poker timepiece. It is displayed on the back of the watch and actually allows you to play roulette. Shake the watch and as the rotor loses momentum and the system ensures that it stops on a precise number. Under the spinning roulette wheel there is a view of the mechanical movement. I just think that is so insanely cool how cleverly it all comes together.
There is one more little surprise feature I neglected to mention. Debuted on the Baccarat watch and once again showing up on the Poker is a special image on the sapphire crystal that is only visible under moisture. Basically you need to put your mouth close to the dial and breathe on it heavily. When you do so the image of a pin-up girl will materialize on the sapphire crystal. Why? Well because according to Claret that is what Vegas is like. So just breathe heavily and girls will arrive? Come on… it is a fantasy watch through and through.
In total there will be three limited edition versions of the Christophe Claret Poker watch and each model will be limited to just 20 pieces. That includes 20 pieces in 18k red gold with PVD black titanium, 20 pieces in PVD black titanium, and 20 pieces in 18k white gold and titanium. Price will be between 160,000 – 172,000 Swiss Francs depending on the version (about $175,000 – $190,000). christopheclaret.com