Christiaan Van Der Klaauw

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Christiaan Van Der Klaauw

Christiaan Van der Klaauw

The man and name behind this eponymous manufacture, made a life in horology.

First, the study of clockmaking. In 1967, young Christiaan moved to Joure (Friesland) in Northern Holland. Friesland, famous in horology for Frisian tail clocks and grandfather clocks. Both styles are pendulum clocks. A Dutchman, Christiaan Huygens, was the first to advance the work of Galileo Galilei and attach a pendulum to a clock in 1656.

In 1974, Christiaan Van der Klaauw established his own company and produced his first independent clock. He opened his own atelier in 1978. In 1980, he manufactured his first clock with an astrological function, “Real Moon”. The “Real Moon” clock featured a carillon (a set of brass bells), indication of declination of the sun and a three dimensional moonphase. Working with astrological clocks, developing increasing complexity, Christiaan was becoming known all over the horological world. In 1989, Christiaan Van der Klaauw was admitted to the A.H.C.I. (Academie Horologere des Createurs Independants). At the peak of this success as a clockmaker, Christiaan realized interest in clocks has wained and the market was shrinking. He took a photo of his award winning table clock (Pendule Variable) and shrunk the photo on a copy machine. He cut out the image and put it onto his wrist. The image became the inspiration for the first CVDK wirstwatch, Satellite du Monde in 1996. In 1999, Christian Van der Klaauw produced the World’s smallest mechanical Planetarium. In 2005, Christiaan brought his three dimensional moonphase display to life as a wristwatch! CVDK utilized ETA 2824 and Valjoux for base calibre of  of these watches, all the while idealizing hand craft and artisanal finishing, along with these unique astrological complications.

Christiaan Van der Klaauw was reaching the point where working daily in the atelier was not going to be his life, a retirement of sorts was in view. Enter Daniel and Maria Reintjes. The Reintjes are designers, not watch or clockmakers. However, their great affinity for watches became a focal point to refine and define the offerings of the brand. Daniel and Maria Reintjes decided to focus the brand on astrological complications, making these complications the DNA at the heart of the brand. Refining the designs of existing models, while developing new ideas proved a winning combination as the Reintjes’ guided Mr.Van der Klaauw’s legacy.

2022, Dutchman Pim Koeslag buys the majority stake of Christiaan Van der Klaauw. Who is Pim Koeslag? An eighteen year old  Pim, thought he would like to be a jewelry maker. The first year of school, the class was taught jewelry making, hand engraving, silver smithing and watchmaking.  Watchmaking quickly took over as a focus, with Pim struck by a passion for mechanics and design. After internships with the Grönefeld brothers and Patek Philippe, Pim went on to watchmaking school in Amsterdam. Pim went to work for the Staas family, whom owned Frederique Constant ad Alpina. Pim started as a watchmaker then Technical Director and co-founder and CEO of Ateliers deMonaco. Pim felt like he was really integral in these companies, dedicating himself as though these companies were his own. The Staas family sold the companies to Citizen Group Tokyo and Pim took stock of his passions. “It made me understand how much I like to work in a company where you can really make a difference. Hard work, innovation, flexibility, the ability to be reactive and most of all independence are all exciting prospects for me.”

Why Christian Van der Klaauw? Pim Koeslag met CVDK for the first time at age 18. After finishing watchmaking school, Pim personally handed CVDK his CV visiting the workshop, which was in the garage next to his home. Christiaan encouraged Pim to go to Switzerland and gain more experience. 20 years later, Pim Koeslag is majority owner (and CEO) of the brand. Pim was attracted to CVDK because the brand(and watches) epitomize Independence, Craft and Astronomy.  Pim loves this foundation and wants to continue this work. “Astronomy is the base of time as we know it! Todays time measurement is based on the speed and the rhythm that the planets turn around the sun in our solar system.” While the watches are already very advanced, Pim says, “There is a lot more to be done in the way and precision that the planets  are displayed on our iconic Planetarium, that’s all I can say for the moment!” Pim Koeslag is realistic and pragmatic. He sees stewardship of CVDK as a great personal challenge. He wants to extend CVDK, strategically, to markets outside of the Netherlands, without jeopardizing luxury,exclusivity, quality and a high level of craftsmanship.

The watches? As mentioned, the Planetarium is iconic, within collectors circles it’s the most well known of all CVDK. The Real Moon, The Real Moon Tides feature active display of a three dimensional moon turning on it’s axis. The display, accurate within 11,000+ years, among the most accurate moonphase displays in watchmaking. The watches utilize modular complications, originally planned and executed by Christiaan Van der Klaauw himself, while being continually refined and idealized over many years. The base calibre now comes from Manufacture Horologere Vallee de Joux, a twin barrel calibre with 96 hours power reserve. You may imagine a movement with this much power is very well attributed to watchmakers building watches with sophisticated modular complications. Pim Koeslag envisions creating a complete manufacture calibre in time, but states wisely, this is not done overnight. The manufacture CVDK was born in 1974. The 50 Year Anniversary looms near. Pim keeps close ties to Christiaan Van der Klaauw (the man), co-developing a 50th Anniversary dream watch, slated to be the most complicated watch CVDK has ever produced! We have a lot to choose from and a lot to look forward to with this dynamic Astrological brand from the Netherlands!

Planetarium , stainless with blue aventurine glass dial.

Planetarium, stainless- Dunes of Mars -glass aventurine dial

Ariadne (Three Register chronograph with Annual Calendar and 24h indication)

Planetarium “Eise Eisinga” , winner first prize “Astrological” GPHG 2021  (now sold out).


“Real Moon Tides” with glass Aventurine dial


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