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Christophe Claret's Angelico for SIHH 2019

Tourbillon with long detent escapement and cable-type fusee
A vision of absolute precision

In 2019, Christophe Claret is celebrating a double anniversary: the 30th anniversary of his
Manufacture and the 10th anniversary of his brand. The watchmaker is continuing to
explore the technical territories of Fine Watchmaking and enriching his collection of
traditional complication watches with a limited-edition anniversary model. For the first
time within a wristwatch, the Angelico model combines a tourbillon with a long detent
escapement and a cable-type fusee transmission system. When the quest for absolute
precision becomes a fascinating show.

How can one continue innovating in light of the extraordinary wealth represented by the
watchmaking heritage? Which new challenges should one take on when 18th century
watchmaking virtuosos have already accomplished so much in the realm of time
measurement? Such are the questions encapsulated in Christophe Claret’s creations since
the founding of his Manufacture in Le Locle just over 30 years ago. While he cultivates a
fascination for the Renaissance, its aesthetics and its currents of thought, he drew
inspiration from the golden age of chronometry for the in-house development and
construction of Angelico: his new eminently technical timepiece.

Writing a new chapter in the history of Fine Watchmaking, the Angelico model is a
contemporary tribute to the quest for absolute precision embodied by the 18th century
marine chronometers. For the very first time in a wristwatch, Christophe Claret has taken up
the challenge of combining a tourbillon with a long detent escapement with a cable-type
fusee transmission system. This mechanical feat broadening the horizons of traditional
horology is complemented by an instant-jump dual-time display complete with day/night
and 72-hour power-reserve indications.

Named after Italian Renaissance “painter of angels”, Fra Angelico, this timepiece celebrates
the noble pedigree of the watchmaking art. An art that deserves a capital A: truly “Art for
Art’s sake”, according to Christophe Claret.

 

A majestic embodiment of the traditional watchmaking art
Successfully equipping a wristwatch with a tourbillon featuring a traditional long detent
escapement, a mechanism originally designed to operate in a perfectly stabilized position, is
an authentic challenge taken on by the watchmakers of the “Soleil d’or” Manufacture.
Regarded as the quintessence of chronometric precision, this type of detent escapement
first appeared in the 18th century, at a time when watchmakers were competing to create a
time-measuring instrument of maximum precision, serving to determine a ship’s exact
geographical position at sea. Incorporated into marine chronometer mounted on gimbals,
this mechanism demonstrated exemplary reliability in long-term navigation – its only
weakness being extreme sensitivity to lateral impacts, which is incompatible with the allimportant
sturdiness required for wear on the wrist.

As a true chronometry purist, Christophe Claret has once again taken the most complex path
by choosing to equip the Angelico watch with a long detent escapement. To prevent the
detent from turning over, an anti-pivot cam, integral to the sprung balance, works in
conjunction with the safety finger. This fabulous mechanism, whose reliability had already
been demonstrated in the Maestoso watch, is fitted for the first time in a tourbillon.

To cope with the risks of over-banking, a flexible thrust bearing fitted on the wheel and
connected to the balance absorbs any excess energy. Once again, the challenge is among
those that only a rare few virtuoso watchmakers are capable of meeting.

Enthroned at the heart of the Angelico watch, the tourbillon performs its stately dance
involving one full turn in six minutes, in order to reduce the impact of its inertia. Christophe
Claret has focused on two materials renowned for their lightness: the carriage is made of
titanium, and the bridges from aluminum (316AL). The choice of a large 16mm cage
diameter provides ample scope to admire the beauty of the detent escapement, a rare
mechanical sight exercising a powerful fascination.

 

Constant force
Chronometric (precision timing) performance is an endless quest, as well as an ambition and
a passion. All three of these forces drive the creation of each of the watches developed,
designed and assembled since 2009 within the Manufacture Claret. In addition to the
tourbillon with detent escapement unveiled at the heart of the Angelico model, it is also
endowed with the constant force delivered by the cable-type fusee transmission mechanism
linked to the double mainspring barrel. Traditionally equipped with a chain, this device,
developed to ensure a constant supply of energy to the movement, once again
demonstrates Christophe Claret's capacity for innovation. Instead of the chain, whose design
is based on the alignment of multiple links, the watchmaker has made the unprecedented
choice of connecting the double mainspring barrel to the fusee via a Dyneema nanofiber
cable. There are two reasons for this. The first is to optimize efficiency by eliminating all the
friction between links entailed by a traditional chain; and the second is to increase and
precisely regulate the power reserve: the number of times the cable is wrapped around the
fusee or the barrel is double that of a system equipped with a chain.

While super-thin at just 0.18 mm in diameter, meaning the equivalent of three hairs’
breadths, this cable is extremely resistant. By way of example, such a cable is strong enough
to pull a weight of nearly 10 kilos. While such force is obviously not required to ensure the
transmission of energy to the movement of the Angelico watch, the robustness of the cable
is a real guarantee of reliability. Especially since, so as to avoid any risk of breakage, it is tied
and then wrapped twice around the barrel or the fusee. Based on the self-locking principle
used to ensure secure ship cargo stowage, this system guarantees perfect distribution of the
force exerted on the cable. At the foot of the barrel fitted with two superimposed springs,
designed to achieve optimal performance, the winding of the cable drives the 72-hour
power reserve indication, while the "stop work" indication, placed on the fusee bridge,
indicates the end of the barrel winding.

 

Time plays the starring role
While the mechanical challenge remains the essential focus from the watchmaker’s
standpoint, the functionality of a timepiece is a major issue. At the heart of the Angelico
watch, the performance of the show staged by time is also measured by the readability of
the indications. The two time zones are thus indicated via a jumping hour display appearing
in counters at 5 and 7 o'clock, along with a day/night indication. To ensure an unobstructed
view of the mechanism’s inherent beauty, the minutes are displayed by a peripheral hand
adorned with a natural ruby on the red gold version, and a blue sapphire on the titanium
version.

From an aesthetic point of view, the Angelico watch offers a fresh immersion into the
beauty of mechanics. Topped by a domed crystal, the 45.50 mm 5N red gold or titanium
case makes depth of field its best asset. While technical sophistication reigns supreme, the
details are once again perfectly highlighted, as evidenced in the hand-chamfered Charles X
bridges, as well as the escapement’s incabloc shock-absorbers concealed beneath a natural
ruby or blue sapphire, Christophe Claret's aesthetic signatures. The show continues through
the sapphire crystal caseback, providing a chance to admire the instant-jump dual-time
mechanism.

Available in two 10-piece limited editions in 5N red gold or titanium, Angelico embodies the
perfect blend of traditional watchmaking and inventiveness that Christophe Claret has been
brilliantly illustrating within his brand for ten years. To mark the occasion, the watchmaker is
extending the warranty on all timepieces to five years: an additional pledge of reliability
available to all devotees of Fine Watchmaking for whom, like Christophe Claret, nothing is
more beautiful than the perfect match between aesthetic harmony and technical
innovation.

Christophe Claret's Angelico for SIHH 2019 Dual
Christophe Claret's Angelico for SIHH 2019 Soldier
Christophe Claret's Angelico for SIHH 2019 Dual
Christophe Claret's Angelico for SIHH 2019 Soldier
Christophe Claret's Angelico for SIHH 2019 Dual
Christophe Claret's Angelico for SIHH 2019 Soldier