Christiaan van der Klaauw was born in Leiden, in the Netherlands. This is where the Leiden Observatory has been operating since the 17th century, and Christiaan showed a keen interest in astronomy from an early age.
After graduating from engineering college in Leiden and completing a course in clockmaking, van der Klaauw started work at a clock manufacturer in 1967. In 1974 he began producing complex astronomical clocks on his own. He built a succession of clocks featuring mechanisms designed to replicate the complex motion of celestial bodies, in homage to the astronomical clocks in European churches that date back to the 14th century. Before long, van der Klaauw had established an undisputed global reputation as a leading craftsman in the field of astronomical clocks. His standing rose further with the decision to expand into astronomical watches in 1994. Van der Klaauw has created a number of astronomical designs on behalf of leading watch brands, such as the Midnight Planetarium (Poetic Complication) Timepiece with Van Cleef & Arpels, which replicates the motion of planets in the solar system. Released in 2014 to considerable acclaim, the Midnight Planetarium mechanical watch was conceived as an intricate mechanism designed to replicate the laws of space, and established van der Klaauw as the preeminent astronomical watchmaker of our time.
CEO Daniël Reintjes
Daniël Reintjes has worked closely with Christiaan van der Klaauw for many years and was appointed CEO of the company that bears his name in 2009. Himself an accomplished designer with a long history of joint collaboration with leading jewelry manufacturers, Reintjes is the driving force behind the global success of the van der Klaauw brand.
Planetarium White gold with aventurine dial (Released 1999)
A masterful complication watch that replicates the planetary motions of the six main planets of our solar system
This 1999 masterpiece, “the watch with the smallest planetarium in the world,” firmly established Christiaan van der Klaauw as the world’s finest creator of astronomical clocks and watches.
This particular model was dedicated to four key figures in astronomical history: Nicolaus Copernicus, founder of the heliocentric theory; Johannes Kepler, who formulated the laws of planetary motion; Christiaan Huygens, inventor of the spring balance at the heart of the mechanical watch who also discovered Saturn using his own home-made telescope; and Eise Eisinga, who built the world’s oldest planetarium.
The stunningly rendered watch face is made from Aventurine glass in a deep indigo color, and features countless tiny chrome pieces that scintillate like stars, creating the effect of gazing up at the night sky through a telescope. The time is indicated by two Breguet hands, while the month and date are displayed at the top of the dial.
The most exceptional feature of the watch is undoubtedly the van der Klaauw planetarium display at the six o’clock position, which faithfully replicates the motion of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn around the sun. All functions other than the time display are realized with astronomical modules designed by van der Klaauw. Each of the six planets of the watch completes a full cycle of the dial in precise synchronization with the motion of the planet that it represents.
The cycle times are 87.97 days for Mercury, the innermost planet on the watch face, followed by 224.7 days for Venus, 365.24 days for Earth, 686.98 days for Mars, 11.86 years for Jupiter and 29.46 years for Saturn on the outer edge. These cycle times are rendered with incredible accuracy.
This model also features a generous twin-barrel power reserve that provides up to 96 hours (four days) of continuous operation.
The 3-D planetarium display is truly ahead of its time. The striking design includes finishing touches on the case, sapphire windshield and Aventurine glass dial.
The sheer size and scale of the universe is beyond our ability to fully grasp. Yet this timepiece enables us to sense the immutable laws of the cosmos and the endless flow of time. This masterpiece of craftsmanship by Christiaan van der Klaauw appeals not jut to astronomy aficionados but to all who are fascinated with the beauty of our universe. The motion of the celestial bodies can be observed and admired on one’s wrist, at any time of day.
The astronomical complication watch Planetarium was nominated for the Innovation Award in the prestigious German watch magazine Chronos in 2001 and remains one of the defining astronomical complication watches of its time.
White gold with aventurine dial
This watch is available for viewing in the gallery
*Gallery viewings by appointment only
Case diameter 40 mm
18K white gold case
Power reserve 96 hours approx.
Delivered with special watch box fitted with a winder