Christiaan van der Klaauw Satellite du Monde

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The Satellite du Monde was an unusual watch with synodic (sun and moon) indicators and a world time disc produced by Christiaan van der Klaauw between 1994 and 2010. Klaauw produced both chronograph and ladies models in addition to the standard automatic, and some include a date window as well.

Klaauw's Synodic Display

Christiaan van der Klaauw rose to prominence in the 1980s, building clocks with various complex astronomical indications. He showed one such clock, the Planeto Astrolabium, at Baselworld in 1990, with a full model of the solar system. Two years later, his Pendule Variable won "most innovative movement" at the Fair thanks to its unusual synodic display of the sun and moon around the dial. This complication would be miniaturized and duplicated on the Satellite du Monde watch.

The synodic calendar includes a simple disc divided into two colors to represent the day and night sky. This is shown through an aperture on the dial as a simple circle or arc. A golden circle representing the sun is placed at the center of the "day" arc. This disc makes a full rotation once every 24 hours, showing the day and night as well as the position of the sun against the outer track showing 24 world cities. Above this, a transparent disc carries a moon indicator. This makes a complete rotation every 24.84210526 hours, intersecting with the sun every 29.5 days. This meeting ("synod" in Greek) is a new moon, with a full moon opposite (a "syzygy").

The world time disc must be manually adjusted to align the position of the sun with the local timezone, and the mechanism is challenging to adjust. A locking tooth segment is included, which will drop in to lock the moon wheel while adjusting the time and sun.

Satellite du Monde

A prototype Satellite du Monde watch was shown at Baselworld in 1994. Klaauw's first watch, it was built on an ETA 2892 ebauche and featured Klaauw's synodic display instead of the date wheel. It used hinged lugs similar to the revolutionary IWC Da Vinci and had a simple round case and knurled crown. A second prototype, shown the following year, had conventional straight lugs and an onion crown. The 1994 original said "la Haye" (French for The Hague) on the dial but later examples say "Joure", the town to which he had relocated in 1967.

Klaauw planned to produce three versions of the Satellite du Monde, showing prototypes of all three at Baselworld in 1995:

The first production examples appeared for sale in 1995, and records for early-numbered examples (numbers 1 and 5) show deliveries to customers by September. At least one left-hand crown gold Mk. II was produced (number 5), along with one left-hand in stainless steel and one in 14k yellow gold. The remainder (perhaps as few as 10 in total) had 18k rose gold cases. The cases changed over time, with some having straight lugs but most have scrolled lugs, some with screws.

The "MK I/II/III" nomenclature was used as early as 2000 but is not used in earlier press coverage. The MK II is listed on the Klaauw website through 2004, though the MK I and MK III disappear after 2003. The site notes that they are "hand painted and individually numbered". The MK II is noted as having a 39 mm case through 2006.

The movements were cleanly and professionally finished, but Klaauw later offered elaborate hand guilloche finishing by Jochen Benzinger. Four different finishing options were offered, one each with the Klaauw logo, name, sun, and initials. By 2004, these are listed on the website as "Klaauw-Benzinger" movements, reflecting the importance of the movement decoration.

The model number was changed around 2005 to Ref. CK4, reflecting Klaauw's general model numbering system.

It is likely that under 40 examples of the Satellite du Monde were produced in the first decade.

2008 Satellite du Monde

At Baselworld 2008, Christiaan van der Klaauw reintroduced the Satellite du Monde. It was officially available with an 18k rose gold case or in stainless steel. This model appeared identical to earlier versions, and used the same photo on the Klaauw website as the Mk. II back to 2001. The chronograph and ladies models were no longer produced, however.

These used the same dial and crown as early examples, with scrolled lugs. Some have screwed lugs but most photographs from the company do not. All feature Arabic numerals and Breguet-style hands. Some examples show a field of stars in the night sky but most are plain dark blue-gray.

Later Models

Within a few years, the CK4 added number plate inside the hour track and moved the "Christiaan Van der Klaauw" name to a plate that covered the lower reach of the sun/moon track. The CK4 measured 40 mm like later Mk. II examples and had similar scrolled and screwed lugs.

The CK4 was less expensive, with a stainless steel case. Some examples feature a gold bezel while others offer a folding clasp.

Production of the Satellite du Monde resumed in 2010 in four versions, all with a 40 mm case.

  • CKSM 1166, rose gold case, Roman numerals
  • CKSM 2276, steel case, Roman numerals
  • CKSM 3176, steel case, gold bezel, Arabic numerals
  • CKSM 3374, steel case, Roman numerals

Although more affordable, these were not produced in large numbers and did not last more than a few years. The movement (still based on the ETA 2824-2) was now called "CK2882" by the company.