In 2012 boutique watchmaker Christophe Claret created a stir in the horological world with the introduction of the X-TREM-1, a timepiece that used magnetic fields to display time. It was an audacious piece of watchmaking from a non-conformist watchmaker. Now, five years later Christophe Claret has unveiled a new X-TREM-1 limited edition timepiece in collaboration with American jewelry brand StingHD.
The concept of using magnetic fields to tell time is ironic considering magnetism is the mechanical watch’s arch nemesis. You can read more about the mechanical watch’s fight against magnetism here. Christophe Claret created a system where two small steel spheres – hollowed to make them lighter and encased within two sapphire tubes placed on either side of the caseband – are controlled by precision magnetic fields generated by two miniature magnets moved by cables. The cables are incredibly thin (thinner than human hair), flexible and strong. There is no contact between the mechanical movement and the magnetic fields.
A limited edition of eight pieces, X-TREM-1 – Sting HD features the X-TREM-1’s characteristic inclined flying tourbillon (this time adorned with a skull) and a retrograde hours and minutes display system controlled by magnetic fields.
It uses a black PVD-treated titanium case to frame the sapphire crystal which shows a bit of the movement. In a quirky addition, breathing on this sapphire crystal reveals a toothy skull thanks to the use of a special treatment on the crystal. The two sapphire tubes that frame the case of the X-TREM-1 have black PVD-treated stainless steel ring-bound tubes. The numerals on the display are coated in red lacquer, a good contrast to the black PVD case.
The resistance of the thread has been tested at Manufacture Claret on an accelerated-wear simulator representing a time period of six years. The team worked with the School of Business and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD) in Yverdon-les-Bains to develop this technology.
The in-house Fly11 movement is composed of 432 components and uses ultra-light titanium for the 3D curvex mainplate and the bridges. The flying tourbillon is fitted with double ceramic bearings to enhance its shock-resistance. It is inclined at a 30-degree angle in order to make it clearly visible to the wearer. The watch uses a double wing concept, one barrel supplies energy to movement and tourbillon while the second barrel powers the hours and minutes display system.
The most striking result of the brand’s partnership with Sting HD is the presence of a black chrome-plated aluminum skull designed by Sting HD on the flying tourbillon. The tourbillon cage had to be redesigned to fit in the ruby-eyed skull. This model comes with two straps designed by Sting HD: one in black stingray leather, and the other which can be personalized by its owner. In addition, the presentation box also includes a matching, handcrafted bracelet adorned with a black diamond encrusted skull with ruby eyes.