OUR HERITAGE, OUR DNAThe Netherlands has an age-old tradition in the field of traditionally-made timepieces. The traditional techniques are passed on from generation to generation. These technical skills are combined with great creativity. The Dutch province of Friesland is famous for the technically-ingenious and stunning clocks that are designed and made there. In the picturesque Frisian village of Joure, Christiaan van der Klaauw started designing and making exclusive hand-made astronomical timepieces in the early nineteen-seventies.
Christiaan van der Klaauw received his education at the instrument-maker school founded in 1901 by Nobel Physics prize winner Prof. Heike Kamerlingh Onnes. It was at this school that helium gas was liquefied for the first time in 1908. Some contemporaries who worked for the same laboratory were Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, H. Lorentz and W. Rontgen. During his education, Christiaan did his apprenticeship with the oldest observatory in the world, founded in 1633. The world-famous astronomer Prof. J.H. Oort (discoverer of the Planetoid belt named after him) was attached to this observatory. During his apprenticeship, Christiaan became increasingly interested in everything connected with astronomy, which showed later on in the production of his Frisian clocks, table clocks and, eventually, his watches.
The well-known astronomer from Leiden, Christiaan Huygens, maker of the first Pendulum clock, inspired Christiaan van der Klaauw to design his first timepieces. The bracket clocks made early on in his career were technically very complicated and had, even at this early stage, ingenious astronomical applications. The timepieces from this period are real collectors' items nowadays. In 1990 Christiaan van der Klaauw presented a true masterpiece: the Astronomical Clock. This clock was one of the reasons why he was asked to become a member of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI).
The AHCI is a society whose members belong to the best clock makers in the world. The members of this society are artists in the true sense of the word, and they are praised world-wide by experts, connoisseurs and collectors for their skills in the field of 'haute horlogerie'. A few of the most famous members are: Vincent Calabrese, George Daniels, François-Paul Journe, Franck Muller en Svend Andersen.
In 1992 Christiaan van der Klaauw won the prestigious gold medal at the watch fair of Basel with his 'Pendule Variable', which won him a definite place among the great contemporary masters. The jury was full of praise and motivated their choice as follows: "With the design of the 'Pendule Variable', Christiaan van der Klaauw has proved to be a real innovator in the field of technology and design. His creative abilities enable him to get round seemingly insoluble problems, and this earns him a lot of admiration from connoisseurs and colleagues."
When making his wristwatches, Christiaan van der Klaauw drew his inspiration from astronomy, just like he did with his clocks. His first wristwatch was the 'Satellite du Monde'. The design and the specifications astounded the world of watches, and Christiaan van der Klaauw Astronomical Watches immediately became one of the very exclusive watch brands. At the end of the nineteen-nineties Christiaan van der Klaauw designed one of his most ingenious timepieces: the Planetarium. Inspired by astronomers like Christiaan Huygens and Eise Eisinga, he succeeded in building a planetarium into a watch, which made it the smallest planetarium in the world.
In 2011 Christiaan van der Klaauw Astronomical Watches received yet another award. This time the Retro Moon was voted the most innovative watch during the Watch of the Year competition of the international watch magazine 0024.