January 16, 2018
Who’s afraid of the venomous Mamba? Definitely not Christophe Claret, who has tamed its dangerous beauty, the better to reveal it at the heart of the Maestro Mamba in a 28-piece limited edition. The sinuous, meticulously hand-engraved body of the African snake coils around the movement. Will you be able to resist the mortal enchantment of its bite?
Christophe Claret is a born provocateur, now venturing into the perilous wilds of the African jungle by placing the voluptuous undulations of one of the world’s most dangerous snakes at the heart of the Maestro watch. Agile, swift and incomparably aggressive, the green Mamba appears ready to strike anyone who comes within reach of its toxic venom. Wrapped around the movement, its undulating hand-engraved body creates a powerful contrast between the tangy green brilliancy of its scales and the matt black shade of the movement. Surging from the intricacies of the movement, between the hours and minutes hands, the MEMO function indicator and the sprung balance, the Mamba defies all challengers with its piercing eyes. A threatening and disturbing vision enveloping the horological mechanism with a dangerous aura of mystery.
Having decided to craft the strap in authentic green Mamba skin, Christophe Claret left no stone unturned. An obstinate quest led him to Mozambique, where the Mamba was hunted on land belonging to the owner of the largest tsavorite mine – which is why the watchmaker chose these gems to adorn the Maestro Mamba.
The Maestro watch was a natural choice to accommodate the rippling coils of the Mamba snake. Following the model unveiled in 2017 and infusing a new dynamic into the Tradition collection, the Maestro Mamba appeals through both its shape and its proportions, including the pure and powerful lines of its 42 mm black PVD-treated titanium case topped by an impressive sapphire crystal dome. A boldly contemporary model intended for trendsetters and influencers, the Maestro offers a spectacular view of the movement and the snake’s sinuous body, which may be admired from every angle and along every sleek scale. The Maestro is also ideal because of its hand-wound movement, whose skilfully arranged components are displayed in all their glorious technical profusion, vividly reflecting that of a luxuriant jungle.
The overall construction is revealed through a multi-dimensional architecture. Like all timepieces by Christophe Claret, the Maestro showcases a wealth of details mingling technical and aesthetic elements in an exceptionally coherent manner. Brand enthusiasts will recognize the watchmaker’s inimitable touch in the famous Charles X stepped and skeletonized bridges – with 26 interior angles – that have become a signature of the Maison. The skeleton-working of the bridge supporting the escapement represents a clever blend of classicism and modernity that affords a chance to appreciate all its subtle features.
The visual adventure through the intricacies of the movement continues with two series-coupled barrels ensuring optimal efficiency and majestically positioned at 12 o’clock. Here too, the bridges are skeletonized to provide an exemplary view of the blade spring of the first barrel and thus enable the wearer of the watch to gauge the state of the seven-day power reserve.
A return to fundamentals
In terms of horological complications, the Maestro Mamba once again illustrates the creative audacity cultivated by Christophe Claret. Witness the patented large date display at 5 o’clock, composed of two cones – one for the tens on the upper part and the second for the units – and performing a semi-instantaneous jump between midnight and twenty past midnight. As if to echo the 3D effect of this voluminous date display, the Maestro’s characteristic MEMO function appears between 3 and 4 o’clock. Inspired by the expression “tie a knot in your handkerchief” to help one remember something important, the MEMO is an ingenious mechanical reminder intended for absent-minded individuals as well as fans of technical gadgets. Whatever daily objective the owner of the Maestro has set himself, the MEMO is there to remind him of his commitments. In the initial position, meaning when the owner must do something, a tsavorite appears at 6 o’clock on the side face of the MEMO, like the gem set at its top. Once the objective has been met, a simple press on the pusher at 2 o’clock pivots the MEMO function, which will display a diamond on its side face at 6 o’clock, instead of the tsavorite. The MEMO will return to its initial position each night in a twenty-minute process driven by a semi-instantaneous jump system.
Whether it’s a cue to pay a daily compliment to a loved one, to meditate for ten minutes a day, to do a good deed, to avoid a trap or avert a danger: there are any number of good reasons to activate the MEMO. But one thing is for sure: with death lurking in the black eyes of this snake that is as aggressive as it is venomous, and when the possibility of its mortal sting thus accompanies every minute, hour and day, the Maestro Mamba provides a constant reminder of fate and the fragile nature of time.
The highly complex Maestro watches come in two new black PVD-treated titanium versions respectively fitted with green Mamba and orange Pantherophis snakeskin straps. These two 28-piece limited editions each retail at CHF 96,000.