Marguerite By Christophe Claret: A Daisy By Any Other Name . . .
by Ian Skellern
As a general rule I do not like beginning an article on one watch by starting with another. However, to understand Marguerite, Christophe Claret‘s second ladies’ watch, we have to first address the stylish elephant in the room called Margot, which is the brand’s first ladies’ watch.
To say that Margot was a big hit is quite an understatement. Since its launch at Baselworld 2014, Margot won over the hearts and minds of even those for whom “haute horlogerie” and “men’s mechanical watches” are synonymous.
Margot was my favorite watch from Baselworld 2014, and I was just one of many. Check out what our panel thought at Ladies High-Mech Pre-Selected: Round Table Discussion Of The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2014.
Few were surprised or thought the award undeserved when Margot took first prize in the Ladies High-Mech category at the 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
And if you are curious like I was about the market for extremely creative and well-executed, high-end ladies’ complicated watches costing around $200,000, Christophe Claret revealed that his brand was selling around one Margot a month.
But − and this is quite a big but − not everyone (and in my circles, hardly anyone) has $200,000 to spend on a ladies’ watch.
And, while the “she loves me, she loves me not” complication on the Margot is highly original and very poetic, it’s not the kind of thing the wearer is likely to use frequently unless in a particularly tempestuous relationship. In which case it might be better to lock the watch away until things calm down.
So to address those for whom Margot is just too much of a stretch, or don’t need its love-life-predicting functionality, Christophe Claret has developed Marguerite (“marguerite” is French for “daisy”). And while Marguerite may have come second to Margot chronologically, she is certainly just as pretty and, at nearly one-third of the price, is sure to find a place on many more wrists.
Superficially, Marguerite and Margot look very similar and it would be easy to confuse the two models. The most obvious difference is that Margot has three large Arabic numerals on the dial at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock (though these numerals can temporarily disappear!), and the second difference is that Margot has two case band pushers (at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock), while Marguerite has just one pusher at 2 o’clock.
Time on Marguerite is indicated by two beautiful butterflies (filled with colored Super-LumiNova): one on the petals displaying the hour, the other on the pistil displaying the minutes. For the hours it isn’t simply the butterfly that flies around the petals, but the petals themselves that rotate each hour.
Those flower petals are crafted in solid gold and painted with white lacquer.
If you look carefully you will notice that the hour butterfly is slightly darker than the minute butterfly. The hour butterfly represents the female sitting on the flower with the male flying around frantically trying to attract her attention. That pretty much sums up life!
The dial conceals a secret message
And if that was all there was to Marguerite I’d be very happy. But this is Christophe Claret, after all, so there is more. When you press the pusher at 2 o’clock, the ring around the dial surrounding the flower rotates imperceptibly by 1.5 degrees. And thanks to a very precisely applied matrix of miniscule squares, the hour numerals disappear to be replaced with the phrase, “Il m’aime passionnément” (“He loves me passionately”).
No hit and miss love messages on Marguerite like the oft-fickle Margot!
It should also be possible to commission Marguerite with a personal message.
The secret message is only revealed while the pusher is pressed; the dial reverts to normal as soon as it is released.
For those with a penchant for surprise in terms of their loved one’s affection and who might find constant reaffirmations of “Il m’aime passionnément” tiresome, fear not. On the back of the automatic winding watch, a mystery rotor in the form of flower petals has interspersed rubies. When the rotor turns, the rubies declare, “He loves me” or “He loves me not.” It’s like playing roulette with your heart.
Snowflakes and champagne bubbles
While diamonds aren’t necessary on ladies’ watches, they certainly can’t hurt. And in the case of Marguerite they really set off the watch nicely. If you look closely, you may notice that the pattern of the diamonds is different to anything you may have seen before. This is because Claret has developed two new types of stone setting: flocon (French for “flake” as in snowflake) and champagne.
The flocon-set case has the diamonds set relatively uniformly across the bezel and lugs as though they had fallen like snow, while the champagne setting sees a higher density of diamonds on the lower half of the bezel and lug that gradually becomes fewer toward the top – just like champagne bubbles rising in a flute. Both settings feature the same quantity and weight of diamonds.
And if that wasn’t enough there is still more for those that pay attention to the details: those butterflies are in colorful Super-LumiNova, so reading the time in the dark is as much of a pleasure as by day; the screw heads and cabochon ruby-set crown feature flower motifs; and the strap color complements the color of the dial.
For more information, please visit www.christopheclaret.com. And if you missed it, you might like Christophe Claret In Bloom: Introducing Margot, His First Ladies Watch.
Case: 42.5 x 12 mm, white or red gold, with champagne- or flocon-set diamonds
Movement: automatic winding, twin-barrel Blancpain caliber with Christophe Claret module and rotor, 72-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes; dial complication, game with winding rotor
Limitation: 30 pieces each of the champagne-set and flocon-set diamond cases in both white gold and pink gold (120 pieces overall)
Price: 69,000 Swiss francs for all models