Christophe Claret created Aventicum, a tribute to the capital of ancient Roman Helvetia and to highlight the extraordinary work of the Avenches Roman Museum.
Christophe Claret has always been intrigued by the history of Aventicum, which was the capital of Roman Helvetia for more than 300 years and the ruins of which now lie near the Swiss town of Avenches. Even today at the Aventicum excavation sites, archaeologists continue to unearth precious artefacts dating from this rich era of antiquity. In 2013, Christophe Claret decided to create a three-dimensional film in partnership with Philippe Nicolet and his production company, NVP3D, to document the incredible relics now belonging to the Avenches Roman Museum and the town of Avenches.
The ancient capital city’s history, coupled with the 3D film, has served as inspiration for the Aventicum timepiece. A micro-engraved gold replica of the Marcus Aurelius bust can be found in the centre of the dial. Incorporating a technique never before used in the history of watchmaking, the faithful, small-scale representation of the Emperor – measuring less than three millimetres – is displayed in magnified form thanks to a clever invention called the mirascope.
The mirascope is comprised of two identical parabolic mirrors arranged one on top of the other, creating an elliptical shape. The convex mirror on top has a hole in the middle. When an object is placed in the centre of the concave bottom mirror, the reflection from the top mirror creates a hologram of the object, which appears nearly two times larger than it actually is. In implementing this optical effect in Aventicum, the bust of Marcus Aurelius looks as if it is thrusting out of the middle of the watch. The illusion is so realistic that it is hard to resist attempting to touch the gold sculpture through the sapphire glass, but it would be in vain…
Turning over Aventicum, the patented, transparent sapphire-winding rotor of the automatic movement can be admired through the display back. The rotor is embellished with five numbered Roman Gaul racing chariots in full swing of a thrilling competition.
Aventicum is available in two limited editions: 68 pieces in 5N red gold and anthracite PVD-treated, grade 5 titanium; and 38 pieces in palladium-rich white gold and anthracite PVD-treated, grade 5 titanium, 72 hours power reserve.