Two butterflies from Christophe Claret to his Marguerite
Following the technical and commercial success of the Margot, the Le Locle-based watchmaker has now introduced the Marguerite, a simpler, more affordable piece that nevertheless keeps the same spirit.
Christophe Claret glows with genuine happiness when he evokes “his” Margot. By simply pressing the pusher on this watch, we can pluck petals from a daisy and play the eternal game of “he loves me, he loves me not”. The 731-component watch is “the greatest complication ever created for women” and it brought the brand great technical and commercial success. Claret is now seeking to attain the same level of success with Margot’s little sister, the Marguerite. As Claret himself explained on the beautiful summer’s day the watch was presented to the press near Lake Neuchâtel: “We needed to create a piece similar to the Margot but much simpler and thus more affordable”.
Two butterflies to read the time
Christophe Claret relayed the task of displaying time to two butterflies in this new collection for women. The first one perches on one of the petals of the daisy on the dial’s center and turns with it to indicate the hours.
The second one is found at the tip of a curved stem moved by a turning ruby, which serves as the pistil. It is placed slightly higher than the other one and seems to be dancing above it to indicate the minutes. Similarly to the Margot, the petals are in white lacquered engraved titanium, but instead of subtly disappearing into the dial, they simply rotate.
An unexpected complication that changes the watch’s appearance is unveiled by pressing the second pusher at 2 o’clock. The numerals 3, 6 and 9 disappear and are replaced by the simple sentence “Il m’aime passionnément “(He loves me passionately). To achieve this, the numerals and the sentence were painted on a mother-of-pearl dial, protected by a transparent sapphire with a mosaic of metal squares. When the pusher is pressed, the sapphire rotates 1.5 degrees and the squares display the numerals or the sentence in alternation. This is another similarity to the Margot except the Marguerite features a more streamlined display.
The oscillating mass allows us to play the English version of the game on the back of the piece. The English reads “he loves me, he loves me not”, a meritoriously simple binary version of the French: “Il m’aime, un peu, beaucoup…”
But why flowers? Firstly, because clients took an instant liking to the Margot and the piece became one of the brand’s flagship models in no time. Incidentally, it was also awarded at the “Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève”. Indeed, as the Le Locle-based watchmaker prudly revealed: “We sell at least one [Margot] per month”. This is indeed remarkable for a watch whose public price ranges between CHF 198,000 and CHF 278,000. Secondly, a need was felt to create a more affordable piece (the Marguerite costs CHF 69,000) by simplifying everything as much as possible without however diminishing its initial elegance and poetry. Even the strap’s attaches were designed with this in mind; they come with a flower-shaped nut instead of the Margot’s pear-shaped diamonds.
Diamonds like Champagne bubbles
Nonetheless, the Marguerite does also have diamonds. In fact, the case is set with some 100 diamonds, i.e. “four times less than the Margot”, as Claret explains. He admits that he has not counted the exact number of diamonds used. They can be seen in two new settings, namely “flake” and “champagne”. The ‘champagne bubbles’ are concentrated at 6 o’clock where they look to be floating up just like they would on a flute.
Claret likes to stand out from the rest with its complications, which range from traditional minute repeaters and tourbillons to new-watchmaking Dualtow, including more playful ones such as the Blackjack. This time around, he has introduced a self-winding hour/minute watch, and that was a significant event. Earlier in 2015, he unveiled the Aventicum that sported a smart animation on the dial. The Marguerite houses a Blancpain base movement and an in-house mass, just like the Margot.
Three new points of sale
The continuous disinterest of the Asian market clearly indicates the next course of action. The brand needs to create simpler and more affordable watches and also has to extend its sales network. Hence, it has opened three new points of sale in only a few months: Seddiqi in Dubai, Gübelin in Lucerne and Chronopassion – Laurent Picciotto’s store – in Paris.