A Dane who spent eight years restoring the treasures of the Patek Philippe Museum, Christian Lass set up his own workshop in 2018 and has just unveiled his first timepiece, the 30CP.
Inspired by mid-20th century Swiss timepieces – as many such watches are – the 30CP is powered by a movement of Mr Lass’ own design. Beyond its flowing lines and fine finishing, the movement is also notable for its intriguing “special hairspring adjuster floating on a ruby ball” that is based on a mechanism Abraham-Louis Breguet invented for marine chronometers.
The success of Philippe Dufour, and more recently Akrivia, has fuelled a slow proliferation of independent watchmakers specialising in highly-finished, time-only watches. Mr Lass, however, has managed to do something subtly different.
Though the 30CP has a conventional, classical aesthetic on the front, the movement is unexpected. Its architecture is defined by flowing lines – the arched, almost wave-like balance bridge is particularly interesting – as well as some symmetry. But it is more than a pretty face, for Mr Lass has managed to incorporate a hairspring adjuster arm that pivots on a ruby ball. The combination of movement aesthetics and the adjuster help set the 30CP apart from its peers.
I have yet to see the 30CP in the metal, but the photos of the prototype already indicate a high quality of decoration, which will surely be refined in the production watches.
Simple done excellent
“The main idea was to make a high-grade, time-only piece,” explained Mr Lass, “A bit like Dufour’s Simplicity, which is based on a 1950s movement.” He added, “I wanted to create a watch in my workshop and not outsource the work to elsewhere – that was the dogma if you will.”
Consequently, Mr Lass makes the dial, case, as well as much of the movement himself. Only the wheels of the going train are taken from an existing movement, the Girard-Perregaux cal. 27, which in turn is based on the AS 1130, a movement sometimes known as a Wehrmachtswerk, or “army movement”, being one of several calibres made for German army-issue wristwatches (and also favoured by Svend Andersen for its reliability).
The bridges of the movement as well as the dial are German silver, while the case for the production models will be 18k gold in either of its three colours. And 30CP is also something of a family project: all of the engraving on the dial and movement is the work of Mr Lass’ wife, Hannelore Gleich. An artisan who operates her own workshop, Gravalance, Ms Gleich engraves all the components of the watch by hand, and then fills them with black lacquer.
The special adjuster
The movement is very much Mr Lass’ own, with its most unusual feature being the “multi-directional hairspring adjuster for the free-sprung, overcoil chronometer balance”.
“The two screws on top can tilt the bridge from side to side while the screw on the underside, together with the ruby ball, can tilt the bridge in the other direction, as well as raise or lower the bridge,” explains Mr Lass, adding “The screws act against each other and will lock the bridge in place after adjustment.”
According to Mr Lass, he drew inspiration from a similar feature A.-L. Breguet installed in his marine chronometers in the 19th century. “[Breguet’s] system was too bulky for building it into a modern wristwatch movement,” notes Mr Lass, “So we have designed this mechanism that rotates over a ruby sphere, allowing the bridge to be adjusted in all direction while keeping the hairspring stud in the right place.”
Mr Lass has sold six of the first 10 watches, with delivery times approximately one year.
Key Facts and Price
Christian Lass 30CP
Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 11.5 mm
Material: 18k red, yellow, or white gold
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: 30CP movement
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Hand wind
Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Strap: Leather with pin buckle
Availability: Direct from Christian Lass, with delivery time of approximately a year
Price: 50,000 Swiss francs without taxes
For more, visit Christianlass.com.
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