One of the top names in the luxury watch scene is Christiaan van der Klaauw. This man, arguably the most famous watchmaker in the Netherlands, began creating gorgeous timepieces in 1974. He began his horological venture by creating astronomical clocks. Timepieces by Christiaan van der Klaauw are renowned all across the globe. They boast innovative and beautiful designs, and often include groundbreaking mechanical advancements as well. While Van der Klaauw is a private man, there are a few interesting things about this watchmaker that you might like to know. If so, check out these ten things you didn’t know about Christiaan van der Klaauw.
He Always Focused on Astronomical Designs
Since his very first timepiece, Van der Klaauw and his company have produced almost-exclusively astronomical designs. This was solidified in 2009, when he passed the firm down to one of his most trusted designers. The new directors elected that the atelier would focus on only astronomical watches. This narrow focus allowed them to carve out a significant and profitable niche in the industry.
His Company Created the Smallest Mechanical Planetarium
The CVDK Planetarium is a mechanical masterpiece. This magnificently beautiful watch boasts an incredibly intricate design that allows it to display the real-time positions of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. This planetarium was the smallest ever created, and still holds that title.
His Firm Also Created the Most Accurate 3D Moon Phase
Another watch by this atelier, the CVDK Real Moon Joure , featured a rolling moon with “true” phases. In fact, this piece is so accurate that it will only deviate a single day over the course of 11,000 years. This means it is the best moon phase indicator ever incorporated in a mechanical watch. This design was even awarded European Watch of the Year in 2014.
He’s an Honorary Member of a Prestigious Organization
The Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (Academy of Independent Creators in Watchmaking) is a non-profit organization that was founded in Switzerland in 1985. Their purpose is to perpetuate the art of watch and clockmaking by independent workers. The Zürich-based organization made Van der Klaauw an honorary member in 1990. He is one of only seven honorary members, and the only Dutch person in the entire organization.
He Attended a Specialized College
The Leiden Instrumentmakers School was founded by Dr. Heike Kemrlingh Onnes, a well-recognized physicist. He saw a need to train young people in creating their own measuring instruments, as many scientists of the time needed to do so as well. He standardized the curriculum in 1901 and began teaching young people the arts of accuracy and precision in measurement.
Van der Klaauw’s Love of Astronomy Began in an Observatory
As a college student, Christiaan van der Klaauw spent a lot of time in the Leidse Sterrewacht, the oldest university-affiliated observatory in the world. It was established in 1633 and has been in use ever since. Van Der Klaauw found great inspiration here and never stopped appreciating the celestial beauty of space.
He Designed the First Wristwatch with a Complete Planetarium
In 1992, Christiaan van der Klaauw was quite active in Basel – the horological capital of Switzerland. At a watch fair in 1992, he introduced the very first wristwatch with a complete planetarium. This helped him to get his start as an established watchmaker. Basel is, after all, one of the prime destinations for people in the industry.
He Won an Award in Basel in 1992
Van der Klaauw also introduced a clock design in 1992. Called the Pendule Variable, it was an astronomical clock movement that was unlike anything ever seen before. In fact, it even won him an award for the Most Innovative Movement Design.
He Designed the Most Complicated Clock in the Netherlands
Some time back, Van der Klaauw designed a table clock. It included an astrolabe, complete with a starry sky and a planetarium. The clock took him two years to create. It is also the most complicated clock ever built in the Netherlands, with hundreds of moving parts.
All of His Pieces Are Limited
The handmade, gorgeous Christiaan van der Klaauw timepieces only have a few copies made of them for every new design. This makes them highly-collectible, as every single one is a “Limited Edition” by nature. They are also constructed from the best materials available. The craftsmanship and detail put into these watches, combined with their limited nature, often drives the prices of his pieces to $20,000 or more. To a serious watch collector, it is worth every penny.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker