Christophe Claret’s Kantharos [Video]

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June 2013

Kantharos: a name carrying echoes of a bygone era, yet clearly ready to conquer the modern world. Its Greek-sounding origins endow it with instant mythical status. A stellar performer in the equestrian world, Kantharos, son of the renowned Coeur de Lion, is a thoroughbred with an outstanding track record. Kantharos is now destined to show the same energy in making its entrance onto the watchmaking scene. A king among chronographs and a force of nature, Kantharos features a constant-force escapement that ensures supreme precision. The automatic-winding chronograph’s cathedral gong audibly chimes with each change of function – a concept invented and developed by Christophe Claret.

Kantharos Timepiece by Christophe Claret
Kantharos Timepiece by Christophe Claret

Elementary: the starting and stopping of the chronograph is heard before the time is read off on the wrist. Christophe Claret started with a simple premise: athletes launch out of starting blocks when the gun is fired; boxers begin and stop their fights when a gong is struck; horses burst out of the stalls when the starter gives the signal. So it is logical to hear exactly when the chronograph starts and stops timing. Kantharos enriches the world of short-time measurements with an ingenious striking system triggered by each change of mode (start, stop, reset).

In addition to this innovative complication, Kantharos is also equipped with a constant-force escapement. Majestically enthroned on the dial side at 6 o’clock, this clever mechanism is a key component that considerably reduces timing variations. The energy delivered to the escapement remains constant from beginning to end of the power reserve. Precision is the overriding goal. The perpetually moving mechanism exercises a hypnotic visual effect, which may be admired beneath a meticulously chamfered sapphire bridge revealing the full extent of the master-watchmaker’s know-how.

The Kantharos' Movement (Verso)
The Kantharos’ Movement (Verso)

This technical perfection is matched by architectural balance: Kantharos leaves nothing to chance. Its layered dial skillfully plays on depth and transparency, accentuating the visual field, while catching and holding light. Designed like an amphitheater in which the actors display their remarkable skills. The titanium and ruby red indicators are enhanced with Super-LumiNova, while the chronograph seconds hand is a vivid red. Despite their strong personality, the numerals and hour-markers are relatively discreet so as not to clutter the dial. With chronograph counters on either side, the constant-force device appears to be at dial level – an impressive structural achievement in itself. The distinctive nature of the counters, inspired by aircraft instrument panels, is further enriched by an original disk display system. One sapphire disk carries the numerals, while a second black and white disk positioned below features a red indicator. Each is rimmed with a graduated step, giving the display a pleasing sense of dimensionality.

Housed inside a 45 mm-diameter case in titanium and white gold, the movement was designed, developed and assembled in-house. This extremely complex caliber is not built up layer by layer, as is usually the case, but is fully integrated – a unified approach that enhances finesse, performance and coherent technical and aesthetic appeal. The movement design is a feat in its own right. The platinum rotor boasts increased inertia and the mainspring guarantees a 48-hour power reserve. Clearly visible through the sapphire crystal case back and fitted with 75 jewels – an impressive number that single-handedly symbolizes the complexity of the mechanism – the caliber conceals nothing of its refined finishing. Among its 558 components, the swan-neck regulator spring and oscillating winding rotor feature hand-crafted finishes reflecting the finest haute horlogerie traditions.

Source: Christophe Claret