Christiaan Van Der Klaauw Real Moon Joure Horizon: An Imagined Horizon
The horizon was, and still is for many, the edge of the world beyond which lies mystery and the unknown.
The horizon is the line that visually separates the earth from the sky, and it looks different depending on where you are on the surface of the planet. From a sea–level vantage point standing up, the horizon is about five kilometers away, but from a 30-meter tower, the eye could see a much wider expanse of horizon at 20 kilometers’ distance.
Yet even at 20 kilometers, the horizon would still appear flat as any short segment of a very large diameter circle would look flat.
It’s not until you get very (very) high that you begin to notice any curvature to the horizon, a curvature that becomes so great with extreme height that you no longer view so much of an arcing curve, but see the complete 360 degrees of planet earth as it becomes a circle or a sphere.
This leads us to understand that a horizon is not a fixed thing and, technically, it doesn’t really even exist in the way we think it does.
The horizon is only a side effect of our spatial relations to very large objects, and once we move away from that object the perspective changes. Imagine if you were standing on the ground looking at a hot air balloon about to be launched; you wouldn’t describe the edge of the balloon as the horizon because you can see the entire shape. But if you were to stand on the surface of the balloon and shrink down to the size of a bacteria, then the balloon would seem no different to you than the expansive surface of the earth.
Gazing out across the “kilometers” of nylon, the microbe would see a horizon – the visible edge of the balloon – meeting the sky above.
The horizon is relative and so is how we perceive and experience it. If something that we all see is that subjective, it only follows that it could be interpreted in a variety of ways by a multitude of artists.
Creative people throughout the centuries have put chisel to stone, brush to canvas, and stylus to screen in an attempt to capture their own interpretations of the horizon, and now we can add one more: brush to dial.
The minds at Christiaan van der Klaauw have taken the amazing Real Moon Joure and, thanks to a very talented artist, created a special edition with a miniature painting of a “new” horizon. This new watch is the Real Moon Joure Horizon (who would have guessed).
Christiaan van der Klaauw: good things on the horizon
A little background on Christiaan van der Klaauw might be a good place to start.
This boutique brand was founded in 1974 by – who else? – A.H.C.I. member Christiaan van der Klaauw, who began producing clocks with a distinct astronomical slant. Over time, the self-taught Dutchman introduced watches and the one-man brand became known as one of the foremost astronomical horologists in the world.
In 2009, van der Klaauw retired and passed the reins to designer Daniel Reintjes, who focused the brand exclusively on astronomical watches. Reintjes codified a new strategy for design that streamlined the requirements for each new watch to maintain consistency across the brand.
As a rule, every new watch should include the CVDK logo, which is the sun, in the 12 o’clock position. Next, Roman numerals are used whenever large indication numerals are included. These numerals are always only visible above an imaginary horizon line across the face of the watch.
These rules, when applied, leave room at 6 o’clock for one of the brand’s many astronomical complications. After implementing this strategy, all roads inevitably led to the creation of the Real Moon Joure Horizon.
The rule about the numerals only being visible above a horizon line naturally meant that the designers were looking at the watch dial as two separate spaces: the upper and the lower, representing the earth and the sky. It couldn’t have taken long before the idea to represent this concept on the dial was realized.
Working with enameller and painter Gaël Colon, the dial of the already awesomazing Real Moon Joure was painted to resemble sunrise on the moon landscape.
While not an exact likeness of sunrise on the moon, the effect is still astonishing: the miniature oil painting showing the moonscape as bright white with the sun’s rays peeking over the horizon and bursting toward the heavens.
In the “sky” behind the rays stars are visible in the delicate blue above the horizon. The soft rays emanating from the center of the dial make the face pop and fill the watch with a promise of the future, like it is showing you the new day. Of course that new day is on the moon, so hopefully you have some sort of spacesuit otherwise you might not last too long to experience the rest of it.
The painting is a perfect complement to the three-dimensional moon, which is already famous thanks to the Real Moon Joure. This moon is another feat of Christiaan van der Klaauw using a vertical axis of rotation to slowly display a spherical moon’s changing phases.
Technically amazing . . . still
The three-dimensional moon is one of the most amazing things to come out of the boutique brand’s Dutch workshops, and that is some high praise. Van der Klaauw is known for some amazing astronomical feats including building the smallest planetarium, but the Real Moon stands out as a very strong and emotional complication.
The large representation of the moon with its dual faces grabs your attention with its own implied gravity. Driven by a face gear that meshes with a pinion on the end of its drive shaft, this moon has been long known as the most accurate three-dimensional moon in a watch with an error rate of one day in 11,000 years (see The 8 Most Accurate Moon Phase Wristwatches Today).
This accuracy as well as the beauty of the moon itself lends significant weight to any Real Moon model – and in combination with the sunrise painting of the Real Moon Joure Horizon it becomes a masterpiece among masterpieces.
The mechanical awesomeness of any van der Klaauw watch is enough to get my blood pumping, but when I consider the presentation, this watch’s subtle and clear design direction is a welcome breath of fresh air into an industry that sometimes seems to have forgotten how to design functionally beautiful watches.
The variety of sensational designs coming from van der Klaauw is spectacular, and even more so when viewed as a whole. There is definitely contrast, but the cohesiveness of the current collection and new offerings makes each piece feel more complete. Setting new rules that emphasize and honor all things astronomical, the look of this collection is becoming a frontrunner for one of the most consistently beautiful design languages.
The best part is that the design isn’t even the focal point, but instead the frame that helps highlight the incredible mechanics. Christiaan van der Klaauw has a way with astronomical complications, which can be challenging to display clearly. Many astronomical watches from brands all over the world struggle with how to display so much information in a beautiful way, and van der Klaauw has completely mastered this.
I am a lover of all things industrial, mechanical, and without pretense, but seeing such complicated information presented in such a lovely way reminds me that I don’t have to choose one over the other. The Real Moon Joure Horizon is one of the best examples to date in my opinion.
The only downside for me is how rare these watches are: there will only be ten Real Moon Joure Horizons, while other model editions might have a few more or a few less.
Christiaan van der Klaauw is a small brand with the desire to stay niche and focused: the timepieces are amazing.
Limited numbers allows the watches to be doted upon with the time they deserve instead of rushed and churned out of a factory; each Christiaan van der Klaauw watch gets the attention and respect it deserves.
Of course Reintjes has plans, quietly revealing that the brand has upwards of 25 unique astronomical concepts in various stages of development, which will provide many years of presenting interesting new complications and indications.
If these plans contain more models like the Real Moon Joure Horizon then things are looking good. Now I simply need to figure out how to get one of these moons on my wrist!
While I scheme, let’s run through the breakdown!
- Wowza Factor * 9.2 If the three-dimensional moon isn’t enough for you then the eye-catching miniature painting should do the trick!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 111.1 » 1,089.518m/s2 The moon always calls to me in the night, and this watch is no different. The gravity is immense and the pull is so hard to fight!
- M.G.R. * 61.8 The base movement is pretty straightforward, but the Real Moon module is fantastic, boasting insane accuracy. Pretty geeky astronomical creation!
- Added-Functionitis * Mild As long as you disregard the incredibleness of the added function of the moon phase, you will see that the Real Moon Joure Horizon only otherwise tells you the time, so not too crazy with the complications. Still, you should use some regular strength Gotta-HAVE-That cream for the shapely astronomical swelling!
- Ouch Outline * 10.5 Smashing your finger between two bowling balls! This was probably the most common outcome of my attempts at bowling when I was younger. Yet I would gladly go back and take that risk if it meant getting a Real Moon Joure Horizon on my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * 11,000 years! Okay, so it doesn’t take that long to fall in love with it, but that is how long you will be enamored before even having to adjust the moon. In that time you could get married a million times!
- Awesome Total * 687.5 Take the years of accuracy for the moon phase (11,000) and divide by the number of days power reserve (4), then divide the result by the frequency of the balance in Hz (4) for an astronomically awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.klaauw.com/eng/collection-of-the-atelier.
Quick Facts Christiaan van der Klaauw Real Moon Joure Horizon
Case: 40 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber CVDK7382, twin spring barrels, 96-hour power reserve, most accurate three-dimensional moon phase in world
Functions: hours, minutes; three-dimensional moon phase
Limitation: 10 pieces
Price: 32,750 Swiss francs
Also published on Medium.