For many years, the precision engineers of the world-renowned Manufaktur Christophe Claret of Le Locle in the Swiss Jura have relied on Blum-Novotest to equip its processing centres with production instrumentation. The name of Christophe Claret stands for excellent quality among clockwork manufacturers.
Working with a passion
Christophe Claret himself took to watch making as though it were a religious vocation. Micro-engineering is his creed. This passion that has driven him since his childhood, comes from his fascination for high-precision, small-scale engineering: that of making watches. Their complexities and perfections have become, through observation and work, his real reason for living and exercising this art of great accuracy.
First self-educated, then trained by the best Swiss specialists who introduced him to the craft’s secrets, he started by buying, restoring and re-selling ever more complex watches before embarking on his own first creation.
Mastering tourbillons, repeaters, musical precepts, minute repeaters with Jacks, chronograph, fly-back hand with insulator, perpetual day with bi-retrograde etc., Christophe Claret searched for perfection at all levels, from the design and simulation (CAD) of a new movement to its final assembly in order to produce a unique masterpiece.
From 1987, he has supplied exclusive movements to prestigious watchmakers such as Guy Ellia and Jean Dunand. Creator of several world ‘firsts’, the micro-mechanism artist developed and transposed his ideas in the spirit of client brands who assemble the movements.
Clean atmosphere, controlled temperature and sometimes noise absorbers are de rigueur for the 2,000 sq. metres of workshops. The components are manufactured on the ground floor. On the first floor, in a controlled atmosphere, every movement is meticulously assembled by experts. The founder‘s disciples are young (average age 28) and already highly talented.
Closest production tolerances
Precision to the scale of a hundredth of a millimetre is standard, however the workshop often shapes to the scale of a micron or even a nanometre, which is the measurement for some digital controls. The flow controls organise production from some 8,000 operative ranges, to which are added some 2,000 variations. The batches are very small, sometimes only about fifty parts, launched at the rate of five per year.
Christophe Bouveret, production manager at «Le Soleil d’Or» explains: “When highly complex watches are manufactured, a considerable number of parts is needed. Thus, we have designed 30 calibres made up of 450 parts on average. The more parts, the more precise is the tolerance of each element. In this context, if the components are not machined according to very stringent precision criteria, the tolerance gap is no longer acceptable“.