It might sound surprising, but the Dutch watchmaking scene is much more active than many imagine. One of the most prominent and enduring names in the Netherlands is, without a doubt, Christiaan van der Klaauw. Specialised in astronomical timepieces – think about the Planetarium – CdvK has recently been acquired by Pim Koeslag (ex-Frederique Constant) who presented his first watch, a neatly revamped version of the classic Ariadne. And today, in partnership with Dutch retailer Ace Jewelers, both entities are giving this watch an even more cosmic look. Here’s the Christiaan van der Klaauw stAriadne.
Christiaan van der Klaauw is amongst the most famous watchmakers in the Netherlands – a man born and raised in the city of Leiden, where Christiaan Huygens, the greatest Dutch scientist of all time, started his studies… An honourable member of the AHCI, he has dedicated almost entirely his career to the creation of astronomical watches, led by the fantastic Planetarium, a marvel of miniaturisation that displays the solar system on the wrist. However, for the first model created under his leadership, Pim Koeslag decided to redesign one of the brand’s most classic models, the Ariadne, a full calendar chronograph with moonphase. Despite being simpler mechanically than the Planetarium or the Real Moon Tides, it is still deeply influenced by heavenly bodies and astronomical phenomena.
The idea behind this new edition of Christiaan van der Klaauw’s watch made for Ace Jewelers was to add yet another layer of cosmic to the watch, not through complications but through elements of design… And it mostly takes the shape of star-shaped hour markers, giving the watch its unusual name, the stAriadne. Inspired by 1950s so-called Stelline dials, mostly made famous by the Rolex 6062 and 6098, such dials remain rare, with only a handful of examples in modern production – think about SJX’s Habring² Erwin Star.
Apart from this new layout and different colours for the dial, the stAriadne of Ace Jewelers is closely based on the latest generation of the CdvK Ariadne, which we’ve extensively reviewed here and filmed in colourful versions for Reijersen (another Dutch retailer). This full calendar chronograph is housed in a case that’s typical of the brand’s production, with a rounded central element, fully polished and executed in steel. The straight lugs are adorned with a screw-like cabochon, and the right side is home to an onion crown and double gadroon-shaped pushers (again, two classic design elements). The watch measures 40mm in diameter and is worn on an alligator strap, closed by a folding clasp.
The display is both complex and classic, mostly due to a familiar movement inside. This stAriadne, just like the classic Ariadne, combines chronograph counters and calendar indications appealingly – date by hand, day and month in windows at 12, moon phase indicator at 6 and 24h indicator at 9. This stAriadne version distinguishes itself with a fog grey dial with a frosted effect and, of course, the applied star-shaped markers. The radially brushed counter rings – normally silver-toned – are executed in deep black, as are most of the hands, the moon phase display, and the discs for the day and month. Note that the month and day discs can be ordered either in English or in Dutch (I’d recommend the latter, just to add more exclusivity).
Inside the case is the calibre CVDK7758, which is based on the tried-and-tested Valjoux 7750 architecture. Decorated with blue screws, circular graining and Geneva stripes, it also features a handsome rotor, hand-engraved by Jochen Benzinger with a guilloché pattern and a sun… which is the brand’s logo, also named the “Sun with 12 Claws” (because Klaauw means claw…)
A limited edition of 50 individually numbered pieces, the Christiaan van der Klaauw stAriadne is exclusively available for pre-order from Ace Jewelers boutique in Amsterdam as well as online via AceJewelers.com. Production starts Q2 of 2024, with an average of 5 watches per month leaving the CvdK manufacture. It is priced at EUR 9,450 (incl. VAT) or EUR 7,810 (excl. VAT for exports outside the EU).