I'm sure almost all of you've heard of the cabinotiers of old Geneva, those watchmakers working in the small workshops, often located in the garrets of Geneva's town houses.
It was the place with the best availlable daylight, the most time of a day, a natural place for this tiny workpieces, incredibly demanding for the human eye.
When visiting german watchmaker Christian Klings recently I felt reminded of this old term, not only because his tiny workshop, also on the top floor under the roof exactly meets this descriptions; also his style of watchmaking comes very, very close. Few has been written about Christian Klings and different from the few "stars" among the AHCI his name isn't that well known even among those, more focused on the world of independents.
When I first met Christian in the 2005 Basel fair, I hadn't heard a lot as well, but at least I remembered some mysterious escapement, called "desmodromic escapement" (this term probably will ring a bell with the motor bike friends among us, think Ducati). I was really blown away by what I saw - unbelievable to me at that time how a single guy could invest such an amount of painstaking work and energy in such developements. And quickly learning that this was a small part of his work only!
I'll post some more comprehensive information on Christian and his desmodromic escapement later, but for now:
it's a single impulse, lubrication free pivoted detent escapement - but no spring for the chronometer lever and working reliably under wrist watch conditions (i.e.reasonably shock proof) with 28.800 bph!
His cases are very tastefull and classic, as is the overall aesthetic of his watches - not surprising knowing about his admiration of the great watchmakers like A.L.Breguet and Dr. George Daniels.
Christian's work has an incredible depth - besides almost all vital parts of the movement, he makes his own cases, the guillochage of the dials, engraving the dials....... he's even modifying the crystals with changing/polishing the bevels to enhance the details of the dial!
His No.5 tourbillon is a real treat for any horological tech nut - it's a 7.5 seconds tourbillon with a fixed escape wheel (it's fixed to the mainplate). Some will be reminded Albert H.Potters famous tourbillon of similar design. But this one is even more special as the balance is impulsed through the hairspring only !! Also more details on this one later. Normally I'm not that fond of higher beat rate movements - but this one is just spectacular to observe.
As you may have guessed already, all of Christians finished watches are unique pieces - and unique here really means unique
But, before I get lost, here are some pictures of his most recent creation - tourbillon No. 7 - a flying tourbillon with swiss lever escapement, with flying third wheel, moon phase and power reserve indication.
Christian is AHCI candidate, but he'll not be in Basel this yeear :-(
Hope you enjoyed the pictures and as promised, I'll post more on Christians work later!