Insider: Christophe Claret Mecca. Hands-on with the Timepiece with a Mirascope and the Kaaba at the Center of the Dial.

Regardless of the different religions our readers follow or don't follow, the Christophe Claret Mecca is a timepiece that deserves to be featured here at WCL as it is one of the most fascinating timepieces out there. Religious orientation aside and just like they did with the Christophe Claret Aventicum we reviewed here, the Christophe Claret Mecca follows the same design principle and execution, but this time the mirascope highlights the micro-engraving of the Kaaba, the cube-shaped mosque at the center of Islam's most sacred site — Al-Masjid al-Haram— in the Holy City of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Around this sacred building with a cornerstone known as the Black Stone, Muslims turn seven times in an anti-clockwise direction as part of the Tawaf ritual. The Christophe Claret Mecca features a wealth of emblematic elements and references to the Muslim faith and is fitted with a nicely finished tripartite 44 mm case composed of grey anthracite grade 5 PVD titanium and presented on an elegant black alligator strap with black stitching and deployant buckle.

The Dial

The micro-engraved Kaaba can be found in the center of the dial. Measuring less than three millimeters this micro-engraved Kaaba is displayed in magnified form thanks to a clever invention called the mirascope. A mirascope is an illusion maker conformed of an object placed right above the center of a concave mirror sitting at the bottom and topped with another concave mirror on top with a small opening where the optical illusion gets reflected and becomes visible. In implementing this optical effect in the Christophe Claret Mecca —just like on its predecessor Aventicum— the Kaaba looks as if it is thrusting out of the middle of the watch.

Surrounding the center of the dial, a chapter ring with Arabic numerals features a diamond at 5 o’clock and at 7 o’clock a black spinel. The latter symbolizes the black stone located at the South-East angle of the Kaaba through which Muslims start the seven rounds of the Tawaf in a counterclockwise direction. While the diamond represents this same stone, as described in the Koran before it became black due to repeated touching by pilgrims. Towards the center of the dial and where the opening for the mirascope is located, a black dome features the word 'Mecca' and a hand-engraved Oriental-inspired motif lacquered in green and silver grey. 

But one must wonder, how can you tell time on this watch? Well, there are two carbon fiber discs underneath the center of the dial where the mirascope is located. These discs are held at the center pinion and each of them is equipped with a small yellow gold tab on its outer circumference and respectively marked with a letter 'H' or a letter 'M' to mark the hours and minutes with the help of the Arabic numerals chapter ring.

The Display Case Back & Movement

Turning over the Christophe Claret Mecca, the watch delivers additional surprising and quite complex elements. The ball-bearing cover for the sapphire oscillating weight bears a transfer depicting the Kaaba in a way where it appears at the center of the transferred world map depicted with white dots right over the oscillating weight. This white dots symbolize Muslims turning around the Kaaba, as the oscillating weight spins around. The circumference of the oscillating weight bears an Oriental-inspired pink transferred motif while a decorative plate bears a green transfer bearing three inscriptions in Arabic as follows:

  • At 12 o’clock: Masjid al-Haram, which means 'The sacred mosque';
  • At 4 o’clock: Tawaf, which refers to the ritual of seven turns around the Kaaba that Pilgrims must perform;
  • and At 8 o’clock: Makkah al-Mukarramah, the name of 'The Holy City of Mecca'.

The beating heart inside the Christophe Claret Mecca is the in-house automatic calibre AVE15 composed of 186 parts, 28 jewels and twin barrels to provide a power reserve of 72 hours while beating at a frequency of 28,800 vph.

On the Wrist & Pricing

On the wrist, the Christophe Claret Mecca wears true to its size but extremely high on the wrist due to the thickness of its case —18.49 mm— and the super domed sapphire crystal protecting the dial. The Mecca is available in a limited edition of 63 pieces and overall is one of the most fascinating timepieces out there that for sure will be a conversation piece as people stare in awe at the mirascope illusion.

Sticker Price CHF49,000 —approximately $50,500 USD. For more info on Christophe Claret click here.