Long a specialist in astronomical complications, Christiaan van der Klaauw (CVDK) has just unveiled an unconventional take on one of its signature models, the Planetarium Eise Eisinga Black DLC SHH Edition. Named after the 18th century Dutch astronomer Eise Eisinga, the model has been facelifted in an eight-piece limited edition for Sincere Haute Horlogerie (SHH), a retailer headquartered in Singapore.
In contrast to the typical CVDK offerings with polished cases in steel or gold, the SHH edition has a frosted steel case with a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating that contrasts starkly with the turquoise-painted dial. The centrepiece of the dial is the planetarium display at six o’clock that tracks the real-time motion of six largest planets in the solar system.
Practically synonymous with astronomical complications, CVDK offers a wider variety of such complications than any other brand. Amongst its best-known is the planetarium, which has the advantage of being easy to understand since it’s basically a display of planets moving around the Sun.
The key point to understand about the planetarium is its rate of motion – the display moves very, very slowly because it’s a real-time reflection of the planets in the solar system. They travel slowly around the Sun, at least relative to the scale of time on Earth, so the rings of the planetarium move at an imperceptible pace.
The quickest orbit is Mercury’s, which still takes almost 90 days, or three months, to complete one round around the Sun. Earth takes a year, 365 days, while Saturn requires almost 30 years. In other words, the planetarium will appear essentially to be stationary to the wearer.
More broadly, this is a notably different take on the conventional CVDK watch, with the all-black case and turquoise dial giving it a high-contrast and slightly more contemporary look. Though I prefer the traditional look myself, this an interesting option for anyone who finds the typical CVDK watch too conservative.
Additionally, the all-black coating reduces the perceived size of the case slightly. This is useful as case is moderately sized at 40 mm in diameter, but it is thick at 14 mm, which is taller than some automatic chronographs.
A blue-painted ceiling planetarium
The SHH Edition is based on the Planetarium Eise Eisinga, a limited edition from 2020 available in either polished steel or rose gold that featured the same turquoise dial.
The dial is inspired by the real-life Eise Eisinga Planetarium located in Franeker, a city in the north of the Netherlands. Originally the home of Eise Eisinga, the building contains a planetarium that Eisinga built into the ceiling of the living room in the late 18th century.
Made of wood planking painted royal blue and matched with scales painted in gold, the planetarium is driven by a pendulum-wound mechanism concealed above the ceiling. Now the oldest working planetarium in the world, the planetarium so impressed the the Dutch king of the time, William I, that he purchased the home, which is today a museum.
The dial is painted to mimic the ceiling planetarium, complete with faux planks and woodgrain. It is the work of Gaël Colon, a Swiss miniature painter who specialises in watch dials.
The dial has a concentric calendar display at 12 o’clock showing the date and month, while the planetarium is at six o’clock. It depicts six of the largest planets in the solar system – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – orbiting around the Sun, represented by a polished sphere in the centre of the display. All of the planets are hand painted, with Earth represented by a blue sphere.
The case is identical to the standard CVDK case, but finished with a matte sandblasting and DLC coating. It has an open back that reveals the CVDK7386 movement.
Like most of CVDK’s movements, the CVDK7386 inside is the brand’s in-house complications module on top of a Technotime automatic with a large diameter and long power reserve of 96 hours, or about four days. (Technotime went bust several years ago but was acquired by its larger rival Soprod.)
According to CVDK, the planetarium module is the smallest planetarium in the world – an impressive achievement although it doesn’t help with legibility for the display.
Key facts and price
Christiaan van der Klaauw Planetarium Eise Eisinga Black DLC SHH Edition
Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 14 mm
Material: Steel with DLC coating
Water resistance: 50 m
Functions: Hours, minutes, date, month, and planetarium
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 96 hours
Strap: Crocodile with pin buckle
Limited edition: Eight pieces
Availability: Only at Sincere Fine Watches
Price: 59,600 Singapore dollars including taxes (equivalent to US$43,700)
For more, visit Klaauw.com.
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