By Rebecca Doulton
"Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do, I'm half crazy all for the love of you."
The romantic summer pastime of plucking petals from a daisy to find out whether 'he loves me' or 'he loves me not' is the whimsical motif that animates the dial of Christophe Claret's Margot, a delightfully feminine and very complicated timepiece. A magician amongst horologists who is renowned for his complicated men's watches, Christophe Claret has pulled his first ladies' watch, complete with a love roulette and chimes, out of his top hat.
A natural blue mother-of-pearl dial inscribed with verses by Victor Hugo encircles the 12 white lacquered petals attached to the yellow sapphire heart. The fun really begins, though, with Claret's game of romantic roulette. By activating the pusher on the case at 2 o'clock, a petal, sometimes two - you never can tell - disappears under the dial and the answer to your query appears in French in the window positioned at 4 o'clock.
Being French, the possibilities of emotion extend well beyond the succinct English 'he loves me', 'he loves me not' options. Five different answers appear at random, ranging from un peu (a little), beaucoup (a lot), passionnément (passionately), à la folie (madly) and pas du tout (not at all). But there is more. At each press of the pusher, a chiming mechanism resonates.
Chiming watches are one of Claret's signature complications. On the Margot watch, a small window on the side of the case reveals the tiny hammer - offset with a ruby - that strikes the cathedral gong. Once you have determined where you stand in your loved one's heart, a pusher at 4 o'clock magically restores the 12 petals to their original position on the dial. Lighting up the flower, the bezel of the white gold case is decorated with a choice of either baguette or snow-set diamonds.
Claret loves games of chance, and the back of the watch is no exception. The automatic winding rotor that keeps the watch ticking has been carved in a flower-shaped carousel, with eight stones highlighting the tips of its petals. The game here is to see which of the different stones, which represent tenderness, passion, loyalty, friendship, hope, purity, joy and trust, will line up with the red heart at 6 o'clock.
Needless to say, the movement of the watch, with 731 individual components and twin barrels for 72 hours of power reserve, is a consolidation of Claret's grand mastery of complications. The petal display mechanism - with over 75 different possible combinations -has been awarded a patent.
With so much emotion at stake, it's easy to forget the main function of the watch. Three pear-shaped diamonds at 3, 6 and 9 o'clock and Claret's logo at 12 o'clock orient the timekeeping functions, which are read by delicate gold-tipped markers. Limited to 20 pieces, this melodious barometer of the heart retails for 278,000 Swiss francs (excluding VAT) for the baguette-set version and 198,000 for the snow-set model.