Game on: This mechanical watch lets you play poker – with yourself
For punters eager to take a wrist, Christophe Claret’s Poker watch should provide hours of entertainment.
This isn’t the best time to be taking a gamble on pretty much anything since one reckless decision in a pandemic-plagued world could lead to business ruin or well, death. And now with even lottery companies closed, where are people supposed to direct their risk-taking energies? Thanks to the genius of Christophe Claret, they can look to their wrists.
The independent watchmaker known for making impressive complications for other brands as well his own has released a new edition of his Poker watch, now sporting a much livelier dial. Instead of the stylised card motifs that embellished the original watch, the 45mm case now surrounds what looks like a miniaturised version of an actual poker table complete with tiny 3D chips, cards and casino tips. This reference is limited to 12 pieces.
For those who missed it the first time, the Christophe Claret Poker doesn’t just look like it was inspired by the game, it lets you play it. With two other “players” and a “dealer”. First unveiled in 2014, it was the crowning jewel of Claret’s gaming watches, which comprise the 21 Blackjack and Baccara before it.
The Poker watch follows Texas Hold’em rules since the use of the five community cards makes it mechanically less of a nightmare to build. To begin, activate the pusher at 9 o’clock to shuffle and deal the cards, and each player will see their two cards under the privacy blinds.
Once bets are placed, the first three community cards, known as the “flop”, will be revealed on the left via a pusher at 10 o’clock. Subsequent betting rounds precede the reveal of the fourth card (the “turn”) and the final card (the “river”) on the right side of the dial. The one with the best five-card combination out of the seven available wins.
All of this is executed mechanically with the 655-part automatic PCK05 movement, which is astounding seeing as there are 98,304 possible permutations when three people are playing.
To add to this wizardry, Claret also incorporated a gong that will chime every time one of the pushers is pressed. And like the other two gaming watches, Poker has a rotor that doubles as a roulette wheel.
The Poker watch was actually the first gaming watch Claret wanted to make, but the sheer complexity of the undertaking meant he had to start smaller, which is how we ended up with the 21 Blackjack in 2011.
The game is simpler, with only 84,736 combinations and just one player against the dealer, but the watch also included two 1.5mm dice in a cage on the side of the watch case and a roulette wheel rotor so the wearer could have three casino games in his hand.
Just a year after that, Claret presented the Baccara, which also came with dice and roulette, but tweaks the formula a little to allow the wearer to play a game of baccarat (“baccara” in French). Instead of trying to get as close to 21 points as possible in five cards, the goal of baccarat is try and reach nine points with three cards.
Claret has stated that while he was never a casino patron himself, he loves watching how people behave in them and a behind-the-scenes tour of one in Macau gave him the inspiration for this trilogy.