These pages contain reference material about Dutch watchmaker Christiaan van der Klaauw and his signature complication, the Satellite du Monde. First shown at Baselworld in 1994, the Satellite du Monde incorporated a synodic calendar which shows the position of the sun and moon relative to points on the earth. This is similar to a moon phase indicator but incorporates a world time indication as well. The Satellite du Monde was offered for sale to the public in 1995 as Christiaan van der Klaauw’s first wristwatch and was reissued a few times over the following 15 years, notably in 2000 and 2008. The watch is quite rare today, with only a few dozen known to exist. Rarer still are the compact ladies and chronograph models.
- Introducing Christiaan van der Klaauw
- 1994: Satellite du Monde Prototype
- 1995: The Satellite du Monde Line
- 2003: Satellite du Monde CK 4 and Klaauw-Benzinger Movements
- 2008: Satellite du Monde CKSM
Introducing Christiaan van der Klaauw
Christiaan van der Klaauw is a Dutch clockmaker known for his astronomical clock and watch complications. After completing his clock maker’s course, van der Klaauw relocated from Leiden to Joure in 1967, working for a producer of grandfather clocks.
In 1974, he set up his own company and began working to develop exceptional astronomical complications for his clocks. His remarkably elaborate clocks included planetarium and chiming models, gaining him renown in the field. He was invited to join the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI) in 1989 and became a full member in 1990. van der Klaauw’s clocks reached their pinnacle in this period, with his remarkable Planeto Astrolabium shown on the AHCI stand at BASEL 90.
In 1992, van der Klaauw exhibited a dramatically different clock. The Pendule Variable featured a synodic calendar, showing the relative position of the sun and moon, around the dial. This model won the award for innovation at BASEL 92 and would be the basis for the Satellite du Monde wristwatch. The design is remarkably similar to the production watch, including the world time track, dual-colored day/night disc with sun, and rotating moon.
A similar clock from the same time period is even closer to the Satellite du Monde watch. It lacked the other complications of the Pendule Variable, focusing on the synodic display exclusively, and added a complete list of 24 world cities, alternating inside and out. It also has Arabic numerals, albeit at the four corners only. Many other details are the same as the Pendule Variable, including the case and pedestal. It is unclear what this clock was called by van der Klaauw, but it seems likely that it might have shared its name with the eventual wristwatch.
1994: Satellite du Monde Prototype
Christiaan van der Klaauw showed his first wristwatch prototype at BASEL 94. The Satellite du Monde (“satellite of the world”) watch closely resembled the previous synodic clocks, but with a miniaturized version of the complication added to an ETA 2892 movement.
One notable element is the inscription on the dial: The brand is listed as “ch vd klaauw” and the lower section reads “la haye”. This had me confused at first, until I realized that The Hague is known as “la Haye” in French. Although this is far from Joure, where van der Klaauw located his company, he was originally from Leiden in South Holland, near The Hague. He must have been commemorating his home on the dial. Interestingly, early examples say “Pays-Bas” on the back, which is the French term for The Netherlands.
Another notable element of the original prototype are the hinged lugs with protected strap ends. These are unusual today but were somewhat more common at the time, and resemble the groundbreaking IWC Da Vinci. Christiaan van der Klaauw must have liked them, because they would reappear on later examples from time to time despite a reputation for noise and instability.
The dial features Roman numerals at all 12 hours, common to the Pendule Variable but not seen again on a Satellite du Monde for over a decade. The rest of the watch is somewhat unfinished, including a simple cylindrical crown and plain “stick” hands. The sun and moon are more elaborate than later models as well, with a half-moon “face” used like the clocks.
1995: The Satellite du Monde Line
Christiaan van der Klaauw returned to Basel in 1995 with a full line of Satellite du Monde watches and a promise of production. Three models were shown at BASEL 95:
- Ladies model, 32 mm case, ETA 2824-2 base
- Standard model, 29 mm case, ETA 2824-2 base
- Chronograph, 44 mm case, Valjoux 7750 base
Although the chronograph has hinged lugs even more like the Da Vinci’s, both time-only models have conventional lugs. These appear to be straight in most photos, but closer examination reveals that they are scroll-shaped. The case is quite different as well, with flat sides that call attention to the thickness of the watch. The overall impression is of a more contemporary (for the time) watch.
The dial is dramatically different as well, with serifed Arabic numerals and Breguet-style hands. The company logo had matured as well, now reading “Christiaan v.d. Klaauw” above and “Joure” below. The sun and moon were simplified as well, as simple gold circles.
Although Klaauw’s website claims that each example is individually numbered, the prototypes do not appear to be included. Still, very few examples were produced, with most having single or low double digits. The Dutch reseller TopHorloges listed an unusual pair of watches around 2014: A left-hand crown men’s model and one of the extremely-rare ladies models. Both were originally purchased in 1995 according to the documentation provided, and they feature very low numbers: The ladies watch is “No. 001” and the men’s is “No. 005”.
The naming of these models is somewhat problematic, since many would assume that “MK I” was a predecessor to “MK II” and “MK III” but this is not the case. Instead they are different models sold at the same time. This naming scheme appeared around 2000 and was used until 2003 when both the ladies and chronograph models were retired.
Satellite du Monde MK I Ladies Model
A fellow collector provided me with a document claiming that just 3 examples of the ladies watch (later called “MK I”) were ever produced. Although it is mentioned on the KlaauwWatches website through 2003, no example is pictured. So this is a credible production number.
Very little is known of the ladies MK I model, though it is clear that is uses the same ETA 2824-2 based movement as the larger MK II. The images from TopHorlogeres are extremely helpful since they show that the movement is the same even though the case is much smaller. Notice how much the case overlaps the balance wheel in the above MK I example.
Satellite du Monde MK II
The same document says that just 10 examples of the “MK II” 39 mm watch were produced. Among these is the left-hand winding 18k gold model pictured above and at right, No. 005, which is likely unique. The Satellite du Monde was offered in steel, but my document claims only one was produced, also with a left-hand crown. Another one-off is a 14k yellow gold example, which I have not seen. This leaves 7 more examples in 18k rose gold.
All of these early Satellite du Monde watches have simple engraving on the caseback saying “Christiaan van der Klaauw”, “Joure Pays-Bas”, and the material and number. They feature a transparent caseback revealing a simply-decorated movement plated in gold with machine turned stripes.
In 2001, the KlaauwWatches website lists further specifications for the MK II (39 mm men’s) model. It is available in yellow or rose 19k gold with a 39 mm diameter case 10.5 mm thick. The total weight of the case is 60 grams. The 18k gold MK II with alligator leather strap is listed at €8,395 in April 2001, the equivalent of about €11,500 two decades later. Pricing disappeared from the website later in 2001.
Satellite du Monde MK III Chronograph
The chronograph (also called “MK III”) is equally rare: My source document claims that 15 examples were produced. Production must have been sparse, because the KlaauwWatches website shows the same publicity image seen in the 1995 Europa Star article all the way until it is removed from the site in 2003. It is interesting that this watch, with the outdated hinged lugs, would be shown so long.
In 2001, the website also listed the price: €12,933. This odd number is explained by the circumstances of the time: Although The Netherlands was in the Eurozone by then, the Dutch guilder was still used. At the fixed exchange rate of 2.20371 to the euro, this was the equivalent of fl 28,500. This included an 18k yellow or rose gold case measuring 44 mm diameter, 13.5 mm thick, and weighing 85 grams.
2003: Satellite du Monde CK 4 and Klaauw-Benzinger Movements
In 2003, the KlaauwWatches website begins listing the movements using the “Klaauw-Benzinger” name. This reflects the involvement of Jochen Benzinger, a German watchmaker famous for guilloche work. Previous movements had been nicely but sparsely decorated, but Benzinger transformed them into something really special. His signature includes the use of historic tools to perform traditional machine turning and skeletonization of components.
A variety of movement options were produced, including one featuring the Klaauw crest used as the company’s logo at the time. Oddly, the Benzinger movements are mentioned as being available only on the newer and more expensive models, not the Satellite du Monde. From 2004 through 2008, the ETA 2824-2 is still listed on the website, with “Klaauw Benzinger” shown in 2008 and 2009. But the Mondial and Satellite du Monde movements were extremely similar, and at least one example of this model does use a Benzinger movement: Number 39, which I recently purchased!
The design of the Satellite du Monde is slightly different starting in 2004 as well. After the retirement of the smaller and chronograph models, the watch is no longer known at the “MK II”. Instead, it is called the “CK 4”, in keeping with similar model numbers adopted by the Orion (CK 1 and CK 2), Mondial (CK 1) and Pendulum (CH 1). The illustration on the website changes slightly too, with a field of stars added to the dark blue night sky. It is unclear whether this reflected production, or even what “production” means for a watch that was highly customizable, made to order, and produced in extremely small numbers.
Stranger still is the fact that MK III-style hinged lugs are reintroduced at this time, at least on a single illustration on the website. This is certainly not the original prototype, given these lugs and crown, and the added stars in the night sky. Is this a previously-unseen prototype, a leftover model from a decade earlier, or a special customer order?
Later models also feature cursive text on the case back, reading “Christiaan van der Klaauw Joure” along with the case material and (two-digit) number. It is unclear if numbering continued from the previous examples, but it is possible. My watch, with a Benzinger movement and later screwed lugs but without the “stars”, is number 39. Given the dramatic changes mentioned below, it is likely that it dates from between 2004 and 2008.
2008: Satellite du Monde CKSM
After a decade of new product introductions, Christiaan van der Klaauw returned to Baselworld in 2008 with the Satellite du Monde. This re-launch version was different in many important ways: The numbering was re-set and now appears to count each reference individually, prices were lowered thanks to a greater emphasis on steel cases, the lower portion of the synodic track was covered, and the case was enlarged to 40 or 41 mm. The CKSM series appears on the new Klaauw website from 2010 through 2012, which presumably was the end of production.
After Christiaan van der Klaauw retired in 2009, turning the company over to Daniël Reintjes, Maurice Doppert, and Maria Reintjes van Laar, many things changed. The movement was now known as “CK2882” but it is likely that it is the same ETA 2824-2 base as before. The movements were decorated in-house by Atelier Christiaan van der Klaauw rather than by Benzinger, and feature the new “sun with claws” logo adopted under Reintjes.
The name plate over the lower reach of the synodic track is interesting, since it duplicates the name already placed above on the dial and blocks the sun and moon during the day (the local city is supposed to be rotated to the 6:00 position per Klaauw’s instructions). A round aperture at 6:00 looks like a date window but actually shows the sun/moon track only at noon.
The new case is shared with other Klaauw models and is referred to as 40 mm on the website and 41 mm in other sources. It features a domed anti-reflection sapphire crystal on top and a flat crystal on the case back. Most models use a pin buckle with a logo engraved on it, presumably the new Klaauw sun. The lugs are scrolled like previous models but all images show screws as well. Screwed lugs had been increasingly common on Klaauw models until this point.
Another unusual change in these watches is that nearly all of them feature Roman numerals. This is in keeping with most other Reintjes-era Klaauw watches, but is quite different from the previous references. Strangely, the watch does not incorporate two other Reintjes signature elements: Omission of hour markers between 4 and 8 and the “sun with claws” logo placed at 12:00. All models feature a red seconds hand.
The new Klaauw brand adopted a new reference numbering convention. Although the model pages are not archived, this gives some clues about the Satellite du Monde references. “CKSM” referred to all Satellite du Monde watches, as “CKPT” was used for the Planetarium and “CKCR” for the Ceres line. The next digit appears to refer to the case material: “1” indicates rose gold, “2” indicates platinum, “3” stainless steel, and “7” white gold. The last digit might be the dial color (“6” for white with blue accents, “4” for silver and black) or the strap (6 for blue, 4 for black).
This explains the four references seen on the new Klaauw website from 2010 through 2012: CKSM1166 was the new rose gold model with a pin buckle and whitel/blue/dark/blue dial; CKSM2276 would be a platinum model with a white dial and blue details (though there is no other reference to this model and it’s possible it was never produced); CKSM3176 is a two-tone model with a steel case and rose gold bezel and crown; and CKSM3374 is an all-steel model with white and blue (CKSM3376) or black (CKSM3374) details. I have also located at least one white gold example online, suggesting that a “CKSM7xx6” was produced.
|Case||Rose Gold||Platinum||Two-Tone||Steel||Steel||White Gold|
These new watches feature a numeral above the round aperture at 6:00. At first I thought this was a date window, but close examination (and consideration of the confined space in question) suggests that it is simply an applied number. My next guess was that this was the serial number, but an online sale shows a white gold CKSM with the number “12” on the dial and “No 07” engraved on the back. Furthermore, press photos of the CKSM3176 and CKSM3374 both have the number “02” on the dial. It is possible that these were mock-ups rather than actual watches, but this does not explain the “12/07” watch shown below.
The Satellite du Monde is no longer included on the Klaauw website after March 2012. There are some online mentions of the model in 2012, including a very useful piece at MasterHorologer, but no more coverage afterwards. I was provided with a brochure dated 2012 as well, but I believe that this was the last year of production.
- Klaauw.com History page
- Official documents provided by Klaauw
- Watchpics SteveG, Christiaan van der Klaauw, Satellite du Monde
- Watch Wiki: Christiaan van der Klaauw, Christiaan van der Klaauw Satellite du Monde
- Internet Archive: KlaauwWatches_nl (2000-2009), Klaauw_com (2010-2021)
- All images are taken from official Klaauw sources except as noted