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Christophe Claret - Interview with Christophe Claret

Christophe Claret Interview with Christophe Claret

WorldTempus had an opportunity to talk to Le Locle watchmaker Christophe Claret about his brand, his awards and what the future might hold.

How would you sum up the first half of 2016 for Christophe Claret?
Watchmaking is going through a difficult time at the moment. But, luckily for Christophe Claret, we are doing quite well because our products are innovative. But you don’t get anything for nothing. I’ve realised that it’s absolutely vital for us to participate in events all over the world, which helps to boost sales. In fact, sales are up by 10% compared with last year. Also, potential clients always appreciate being able to meet “in the flesh” the person who created the timepieces. That’s a significant bonus.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? Will we see anything new before Christmas?
We will continue our globe-trotting, to raise awareness of our brand and promote sales. Apart from that there’s nothing new, apart from ongoing development of our existing calibres. For the SIHH we will be introducing a technical product at the accessible price of CHF 68,000. We want to offer a men’s product with some interesting complications at a more affordable price point than our other watches.

The Margot won the GPHG Ladies’ High-Mech Watch Prize in 2015. What can you tell us about that?
The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève is the holy grail, it’s like the Oscars of watchmaking. It’s a token of recognition by your peers, and it’s also an acknowledgement of the coherence of the product, and a mark of global appreciation. There’s no question that winning the prize has given us greater market recognition.

Margot

Have you entered any watches for this year’s GPHG?
Yes. This year we’ve entered the Marguerite. It’s a product that combines magic and romanticism.

The Margot is your ladies’ timepiece. Can you tell us where you draw your inspiration for this mechanical poetry?
My inspiration comes from many sources: antiques, magic, cars, nature, music... The Margot is mainly inspired by nature and poetry. I’ve wanted to make a genuine grand complication for women for a very long time. In the almost thirty years I have spent making movements for other people, no one has ever taken me up on the idea. So I said to myself, when I have my own watchmaking company, I’ll make a timepiece just for women. Hence the Margot: romantic and poetic.

What is the distribution of men’s and women’s watches at Christophe Claret?
At the moment we are split 75% men’s watches and 25% women’s. Obviously, we’d like to even this up. But to do that we need to promote our women’s collections. We’re not short of ideas, but you have to have the resources to meet the demand.

What is Christophe Claret’s flagship men’s watch? And which is your favourite?
It has to be the X-TREM 1, which is very successful. After that, I’d have to say the Maestoso, the Soprano and the Allegro. It’s very difficult for me to pick out a favourite because all my watches are like my babies – I made them all from A to Z, and I spent a great deal of time on designing them. But the watch I wear every day is a Maestoso, it’s one of my favourites.

X-TREM 1

I’m a perfectionist. It’s important to me to be able to rely on the expertise of a designer, to ensure that the product is aesthetically, mechanically and technically coherent. The whole process involves a variety of different skills. And if the product is extremely well designed and innovative, in theory the current market crisis shouldn’t affect it.

Apart from the ability to customise the message contained within the Marguerite, do you have any other personalisation requirements in terms of women’s watches? And what about men?
Yes, of course. Women appreciate personalisation. I’m convinced that the Marguerite, for example, has great commercial potential, because there are no limits on the ability to customise the message. Everything is possible. As far as men are concerned, we don’t have any customisable watches in our catalogue, but we regularly receive requests for one-off pieces. We are very responsive, and we do our best to meet these requests satisfactorily.

How many pieces do you produce each year?
We currently produce around 100 pieces per year. We want to increase that figure, and also our sales. In order to do this, we also need to expand our points of sale. That’s all in the pipeline.

What are you working on at the moment?
Every year I work on four or five movements, including one or two for Christophe Claret. It’s at times of crisis that you need to move, you need to innovate. You need to offer products that are a little bit off the beaten track. You won’t have to wait long to see what I’m talking about! (Laughter).

 

 

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