At first, it looked to me as some nicely designed toy, well, a highly expensive toy, and then, it turned out to be a contemporary piece of art. This special reinterpretation of the last year’s groundbreaking X-TREM-1 watch is a one-of-a-kind piece that will be auctioned for charity at the upcoming Only Watch 2013 event. Once again, Christophe Claret used the gaming theme as the main design motif for his watch. This time, it is the “Pinball” that perfectly matches the breathtaking mechanical principles, based on the magnetism.
No, it is not a mistake. Magnetic fields are known as the great enemies of mechanical watches, but the renowned watchmaker managed to use them for displaying time without affecting the movement. If you would like to know more about this impressive mechanical system, you can read the post about 2012 Christophe Claret Novelties and of course, it will be also mentioned in this text. But first, let us take a look at the new design elements that make the new X-TREM-1 Pinball “Only Watch” model truly unique.
Starting with its vivid blue and orange color combination, this masterpiece gives the impression that you are standing next to a miniature pinball machine. Instead of sapphire crystal tubes that hold metal balls in the original version, we now have two spiral metal cages, beautifully designed in a pinball style. Of course, this is not the real pinball and balls cannot be launched for the start of the game. They “just” serve as hour and minute indicators which are driven up and down by extremely thin magnets. Thus, while showing time at retrograde hour and minute sapphire scales, placed vertically along left and right sides of the dial, these 4mm-diameter hollowed balls create the thrilling illusion that they float in the air.
Sapphire crystal on the dial side is no longer smoked, which provides a clearer look at striking blue and orange gear wheels, also decorated in the characteristic style to mimic the inside of the pinball machine. The gaming team is taken so seriously that the watch even comes with a “Tilt” marker at the top of the case. Complemented with a blue leather strap having an orange stitching, this watch is definitely one of the most catchy high-end watches in the last couple of years.
The 40.80 x 56.80 x 15 mm rectangular case with a curvex profile is crafted in polished white gold and blue anodized Perunal-type aluminium which is used for the upper part. At the bottom of the case, there is a large aperture that reveals an outstanding flying tourbillon cage, inclined at 30° and supported by a double ceramic bearing. It makes one rotation every minute, which allows it to indicate seconds.
The watch is powered by a Caliber FLY11 hand-winding mechanism which comprises 419 components and 64 jewels. It features a Swiss lever escapement, as well as dual barrels, one powering a gear train and the other one powering the escapement. Furthermore, tourbillon movement and time indication gear trains have independent energy supply that optimises the power reserve (50+ hours).
Considering the fact that the original X-TREM 1 model had the retail price of around $300,000, we can predict that the “Pinball” one-of-a-kind version will reach the extremely high price at the upcoming charitable auction in Monaco.