PublicationsTimepiece Extravaganza The exquisite Christophe Claret Napoleon Westminster Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon Christophe Claret wanted to pay homage to Napoleon Bonaparte on the occasion of the bicentenary of his death by producing an exceptional watch. Share

The “Napoleon” is a Westminster flying tourbillon minute repeater provided with a jaquemart automata featuring Napoleon with his soldiers. He was a genius military strategist, having won many victories in memorable battles. His tactics are still taught in military schools around the world.

A military campaign, entirely handmade miniature painting, is thus staged in the first painting of this series of unique pieces. The animated characters are embossed and enhanced with colors. Napoleon, to reward his bravest soldiers, created, from the start of his reign, the Legion of Honor and his famous medal. Christophe Claret decided to put the exceptional symbol on the tourbillon cage of this timepiece.

The exquisite Christophe Claret Napoleon Westminster Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon

The Westminster minute repeater mechanism allows you to play a musical tune when the quarters ring. Each quarters has a different ringtone “C D E G ; G D E C ; E G D C”. This ringtone, resulting from a collaboration between Christophe Claret and a virtuoso violinist, offers notes with optimal quality. This musical tone is accompanied by the animation of the stage automatons.

The “Napoleon” is available in two limited editions of 8 pieces, an edition in Red Gold and an edition in Titanium. All unique, they are each differentiated by their decor. With this work, artist-watchmaker Christophe Claret once again confirms his excellence.

The exquisite Christophe Claret Napoleon Westminster Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon

Since the day when Christophe Claret, then a student, entered the workshop of a watchmaker-restorer, he has nourished a passion for complicated timepieces, in particular old pocket watches, often equipped with a locking mechanism. Minute-repeaters, real little « chefs-d’œuvre » of precision striking hours, quarters and minutes on demand.

He has continuously studied, understood and improved this grand complication which many consider to be the finest in watchmaking. Because to technical complexity is added musical poetry. In 1989, the first caliber signed by Christophe Claret was a minute repeater. A series of watches with evocative names followed: Adagio, Soprano, Allegro, Concertino and today Napoleon, becomes the new flagship of these unique prestigious pieces.

The exquisite Christophe Claret Napoleon Westminster Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon

The Napoleon movement sets the tone in the family of traditional complications watches, the first of the four collections of the Christophe Claret brand. It is inspired by previous creations by the master watchmaker, while once again pushing the limits of what is possible in this area.

With a frequency of 3 hertz (21,600 vibrations per hour) by means of its flying tourbillon, the NBC98 caliber comes to life thanks to a single barrel. The mechanism has a power reserve of around 60 hours. The request for the minute repeater is traditionally made through a sliding pusher on the left side of the case. We can therefore contemplate the animation of the Jaquemart automata, while listening the melodious sound of time by the Westminster cathedral ringing.

The exquisite Christophe Claret Napoleon Westminster Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon

Christophe Claret is the designer of this four-branch balance wheel which offers an inertia / weight ratio close to the ideal balance: although very complex to manufacture, this aerodynamic balance is easy to adjust and balance.

The “cathedral” stamps of Napoleon’s “Westminster” ringing have been the subject of special care – as always with Christophe Claret. This type of bell has the particularity of going around the movement twice in order to express sounds that are longer, clearer and more powerful. Excellence is required for their manufacture in drawn steel, for their assembly and tuning. They benefit from a patented in-house invention which blocks significant vibrations despite their exceptional lengths and thus prohibits all parasitic noises.

The exquisite Christophe Claret Napoleon Westminster Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon
Christophe Claret, CEO & Founder
Photo: Courtesy of Christophe Claret 

As with its technical design, the aesthetic of Napoleon is the fruit of the work and creativity of Christophe Claret. The case harmoniously combines the polished and satin finishes of 5N red gold or titanium, highlighting the play of lights. Grade 5 titanium is hard and very difficult to machine, it has the advantage of being extremely light and above all of sublimating the transmission of the ringing sound. The dial also magnifies the light and dark, with its unique nuances of hues and personalized materials.

The Napoleon proudly displays a handmade miniature painting of a different battle setting on each of the 8 unique pieces.

Technical Specifications

  • Caliber: NBC98, mechanical, hand-wound movement
  • Diameter: 37.00 milimeters
  • Height: 9.03 milimeters
  • Components: 511
  • Jewels: 36
  • Barrel: Single mainspring barrel
  • Power Reserve: Approximately 60 hours
  • Escapement: Swiss lever 3 Hz frequency (21’600 vph) flying tourbillon with cage bridge decorated with the Legion of Honor. Tourbillon rotates once every 60 seconds
  • Functions: Hours, minutes – Hours, quarters and minutes repeater on demand – Inertia wheel – 4-note minute repeater playing Westminster
  • Chime: 4-jaquemart automata animated when ringing – Slide to activate the minute repeater function – 2-position crown. Drawn: time setting. Thrust: winding the movement
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