One really needs to be a dedicated horology fan to wrap your mind around the innovations and inventions that come from the mind of Christophe Claret. His latest new limited-edition watch collection is known as the Angelico and comes in both gold and titanium-cased variants. I got to meet up with Claret at Dubai Watch Week 2023 and was impressed with his ability to continue to push forward in the area of micro-mechanical engineering with an emphasis on merging classic complications with modern materials and engineering sensibilities. The Angelico watch looks a lot like the Christophe Claret Maestro watch released in 2017, but is notably more complex and more expensive. Like the Maestro before it, the Angelico features a detent (as opposed to Swiss lever) escapement in wristwatch form. There are vanishingly few watchmakers who have attempted to design detent escapements for use in wristwatches because of their fragility when it comes to shock. Detent-style escapements are extremely accurate, but really designed for more stable surfaces and immobile clocks.

With the Maestro, Christophe Claret succeeded in engineering a shock-resistant detent escapement. For the Aneglico, he has placed the entire escapement assembly on a rotating platform (it makes a full rotation every 90 seconds, I believe) effectively making the first detent escapement tourbillon. More so, he designed the movement with a fusee and chain-style transmission system, but rather than using a traditional metal chain, he opted for a strong nano-fiber cable in a material that he first used in the Christophe Claret X-Trem-1 collection. This small cable is red, and according to Claret, has improvements over metal in both efficiency, longevity, and performance (less friction I imagine). Recall that the point of this conical system is to gradually move power from the mainspring to the movement.

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Inside the Angelico watch is Christophe Claret’s in-house-made caliber DTC08 manually-wound movement. The regulation system operates at a frequency of 2.5Hz (18,000 bph) and has a total power reserve of 72 hours between two barrels. I anticipate that this movement will use a lot of power. It also has an interesting way of telling the time. Minutes are indicated by a small ruby arrow hand which moves around the periphery of the dial. The movement then has dual jumping hour windows, which are designed to offer the time in two different time zones. The pushers on the side of the case allow for easy one-hour advances of the jumping hour windows. Given the relatively small space afforded to the indication of the time, the Angelico isn’t Claret’s most legible watch, but it isn’t illegible either, provided your eyes can read the hour windows and see the minute indicator arrow. The rest of the dial space is dedicated to a grand view of the movement and wide-diameter tourbillon assembly with the interesting and proprietary detent escapement system.

It has been a few years since Christophe Claret developed a new case, so its existing modern-style round case is aging, having been used in various forms for at least a decade now. The timepiece is also on the larger side at 45mm wide and 15.32mm thick. It is, however, wearable and doesn’t look so thick given that much of the case thickness is in the form of the highly domed sapphire crystal that sits over the dial. The case is water resistant to 30 meters. The version of the Christophe Claret Angelico that I photographed is produced in 18k red gold with black and red dial accents as the reference MTR.DTC08.000-010. Christophe Claret also produces the Angelico with a titanium case as the reference MTR.DTC08.020-030. Each of them is part of a limited edition of 10 pieces — which is apt given the exclusive nature of this difficult-to-assemble watch and the interesting niche nature of this luxury timepiece for machine nerds fans. The price for the Christophe Claret Angelico watch is 218,000 Swiss Francs in titanium and 238,000 Swiss Francs in 18k red gold. Learn more at the Christophe Claret website.

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