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At Baselworld this week, Christophe Claret will unveil its new X-Trem-1 Sting HD watch (SFr300,000/$299,000), which defies conventional watch-world thinking by incorporating magnetism. Horologists usually go to some lengths to eliminate the effects of this because it can play havoc with the accuracy of a watch’s mechanism, affecting the all-important hairspring.
A minuscule magnet is attached to each side of the movement by silk threads; the magnet on the left travels up its track once every 24 hours, the one on the right once every hour. (You can see all of these parts below.) As the magnets move, they drag with them two hollow steel balls, floating in a pair of sapphire crystal tubes, next to which are indices for hours and minutes. What makes the innovation impressive is that the balls are not attached to the mechanism in any way.
Like many horological gimmicks, the X-Trem-1’s chief concern is not providing the time with pinpoint accuracy, since the display gives only a rough indication of the minutes past the hour.
The movement that powers the piece, nevertheless, is exceptional. Comprising 419 components and 64 jewel bearings, it is equipped with two mainspring barrels to provide 50 hours of autonomous running, plus a tourbillon regulator which (despite the vague time display) enhances overall accuracy. A pair of crowns set into the back of the watch can be folded out for winding and setting, while the case (40.8mm by 56.8mm) is made from blackened titanium.
The X-Trem-1 not only offers an ingenious method of displaying the time but also appeals to the contemporary pirate: when you breathe on the sapphire crystal, it reveals the image of a skull and crossbones. Now that is what we call a hidden treasure.