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To kick off 2023, Dutch atelier Christiaan van der Klaauw and Oudewater-based retailer Reijersen Jewelers have collaborated on two beautiful new expressions of the brand’s popular Ariadne complete calendar chronograph. This special Collector’s Edition of the Ariadne — available with a frosted turquoise and frosted salmon dial — is the first model to leave the Christian van der Klaauw workshops under the new leadership of distinguished watchmaker Pim Koeslag. Koeslag, the new technical director and co-owner of the CVDK brand, and Reijerson have worked together in the past, designing numerous well-received watch collaborations for the collecting community. Manufactured exclusively for Reijerson Jewelers, the new Ariadne Collector’s Edition is a classic yet whimsical take on the complicated dress watch, boasting a striking frosted dial in two new colorways and a gorgeous hand-engraved rotor by Jochen Benzinger.

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History of Christiaan van der Klaauw

As one of the most renowned Dutch watchmakers in the business, Christian van der Klaauw is the only atelier in the world that is completely devoted to the design and production of exclusive, hand-made astronomical watches. Van der Klaauw was born in the city of Leiden — the same city where legendary Dutch scientist and astronomer Christiaan Huygens started his studies in 1645. As one of the most important figures of the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century, Huygens is known for his invention of the pendulum clock, as well as his discovery of the true shape of the rings of Saturn.

Using the work of Huygens as inspiration, Christiaan van der Klaauw presented his first astronomical clock in 1974. During the following years, he continued his work on astrological clocks and developed the ability to create and work on movements of increasing complexity. Accordingly, he became very well-respected throughout the horological world — enough so that he was admitted to the prestigious AHCI (Academie Horologere des Createurs Independents) in 1989.

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In the 90s, van der Klaauw undertook the challenge of recreating his award-winning table clock, the Pendule Variable, down to the size of a wristwatch. In 1996, he unveiled his first wristwatch — the Satellite du Monde. In 2005, van der Klaauw released his now-famous Planetarium wristwatch. Using ETA for its base caliber, this inventive timepiece displays the entire solar system on the wrist while featuring impressive artisanal finishing throughout.

In 2021, Christian van der Klaauw won arguably the most prestigious award in the business — the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG) — for Planetarium Eise Eisinga. Viewed as the brand’s masterpiece, the Eise Eisinga contains the smallest mechanical planetarium in the world, showing the real-time orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn around the Sun.

Planetarium Eise Eisinga

The Ariadne

Carrying on Christian van der Klaauw’s tradition of creating exceptional timepieces with ties to astronomy, the Ariadne is the brand’s take on the classic complicated dress watch. Using the Valjoux 7750 as its base, the Christiaan van der Klaauw Ariadne features a module that is fully equipped with a complete calendar, moonphase complication, pointer date, and chronograph complications, as well as a 24-hour scale that acts as a day and night indicator. Even with all of this information present on the dial, the Ariadne still maintains a balanced design with ample visual space.

While at first glance it reads like a classical dress piece, it’s more than meets the eye, thanks to its effective finishing, whimsical design language, and the pop of its signature complication, the moonphase. Featured at 6 o’clock, the moonphase on the Ariadne is finished in a gorgeous blue that contrasts with the other dials, allowing it to command slightly more visual attention than the other subdials on the watch.

The Ariadne Collector’s Edition

While the Ariadne has traditionally boasted a precious metal case, the new Collector’s Editions feature stainless steel cases. Fully mirror polished and clocking in at 40 mm, the stainless steel case offers a slightly more contemporary feel than the gold options, while contrasting with the turquoise and salmon tones beautifully. Another design trait that stuck out to us is the bold, thick lug profile that adds some welcome wrist presence and injects a sporty, confident sensibility to the piece. Further complementing the case design are the cabochons gracing the lugs, the onion-shaped crown, and the scalloped chronograph pushers.

As with most CVDK timepieces, perhaps the dial is the true star of the show here. It is impressive how the brand has managed to fit so much information on this dial while maintaining legibility and harmony. This careful balance of visual interest and legibility is achieved by the thoughtful use of different textures and finishing techniques. The background of the dial is frosted, which appears matte in most lighting circumstances. The dial and subdials are framed by raised rings that feature circular brushing as well as beveling on the edges. Accordingly, the subdials “pop” in the light and contrast nicely with the background, giving the piece a multi-layered, dynamic appearance. Adding to this 3D effect are the applied Breguet numerals, which are thermally blued and match the moonphase subdial handsomely. Adding a signature touch, Christiaan van der Klaauw’s 12-pronged sun-shaped logo is proudly displayed at 3 o’clock.

Completing the look is a brownish-gray buffalo leather strap for the salmon version and a blue buffalo leather strap for the turquoise version. The straps are fitted with a specially designed signature steel folding clasp with the CVDK logo.

The piece features a sapphire crystal caseback, allowing owners to view the thoughtfully finished caliber CVDK7758. The movement features thermally blued screws, Geneva stripes, and circular graining. But the intriguing and novel aspect of the movement lies within the rotor, which is guilloché-rhodium-plated with the brand’s “sun with 12 claws” logo featured in pink-gold plating at the center. Perhaps most notably, the gold-plated rotor is hand-engraved by celebrated engraver Jochen Benzinger. The hand engraving is beautifully done and adds a whimsical, personal touch to the piece.

With the Ariadne Collector’s Edition, Christian van der Klaauw and Reijersen Jewelers have created a beautiful, compelling expression of the classic complicated dress watch. While salmon and turquoise have recently become two “it” colors within the industry, they manage to feel fresh and far from derivative on this piece. Manufactured exclusively for Reijersen Jewelers, the Ariadne Collector’s Edition will be available as a limited edition of 50 pieces per colorway. Priced at 8,950 CHF, the pieces will launch on January 20, 2023, at the Reijerson store in Oudewater. Learn more on the brand’s website.

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