Christian Klings 'Open Version' 1 of 1...

Feb 07, 2014,11:17 AM
 

If one has a particular interest in the Independent watchmakers, it does not take long before Christian Klings comes to notice.  Whilst he may have ‘flown under the radar’ for some years, he has been a member of AHCI since 2009 and his magnificent tourbillon No 7, particularly, gained a lot of attention when first exhibited.

Further investigation at that time quickly established that Christian (Chris) was that rare beast whose imagination extended beyond the mundane.  He routinely realised novel or complicated watchmaking solutions, such as his ‘mosquito’ and desmodromic shock-resistant mechanisms for chronometre movements or his watch with a PR of 1,008 hours (in which the movement is wrapped around a giant mainspring barrel!).

It was not a simple matter, however, to capture his attention.  A first attempt four or five years ago met with little success (although to be fair that may have been a product of his busy-ness at that time or some other communication issue).  All of that changed on 26 January 2012 (Australia Day, as it happens) when an idle moment afforded a second chance at communicating with Chris, a communication to which he responded quickly and positively.

Yes, he was prepared to take a commission.  Yes, he was prepared to design a movement from scratch. Yes, he was open to suggestion on elements of the design. Thus began the exciting experiment of trying to communicate ideas and concepts across half a world for those ideas to be captured and reflected by an artist, in metal.

Here was a chance to draw together all those elements of other watches which had strong appeal from a personal perspective.  You may recall one post in which some of these ideas were shared – ( http://home.watchprosite.com/?show=forumpostf&fi=17&pi=3482851&ti=563751&s=0 )

Basically, those preferences break down like this:
Simple watch (generally time-only);
Independent watchmaker;
‘Artisanal’ finish, showing the hand of man;
Exhibition case of a discreet, modern proportion;
White metal;
Purposeful, industrial movement;
High degree of finish;
Personal touches;
Watchmaker’s signature elements.

These preferences were communicated to Chris, often (it has to be admitted, sheepishly) by sending through photographic examples of those features as they appear in other watches.  Chris obliged by accommodating every preference although, tellingly, the final product is eerily like many of his other pieces.  That speaks volumes about the appeal, conscious or subconscious, of the ‘Klings atelier style’.
 
In the final spec the case is white gold; Chris offered 37mm or 42mm, but when asked to fit the movement and up-rated balance wheel into a 40mm case he found a way to do so. The artisanal finish is evident in the hand engraved numerals and indices. Chris’ signature elements are those lovely lugs and…well...his signature.  The rest should all speak for itself.

This was Chris’ first design for the watch, trying to minimise the bulk of the bridges and do away with plates:

 


Before he had even received a response, though, like a mindreader he sent through this second design which was just about spot on – from this point it was only a matter of tweaking here and there:

 


Chris was marvelously communicative as the process unfolded and seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the project.  On a regular basis he would send through pictures of the various parts that he had manufactured and on one occasion even sent through a picture of the bench at which the watch was being made.





(Chris changed studios half way through the process to avail himself of a more 'relaxing' environment).

When viewing the photos, it is worth remembering that Chris works with the old, traditional, tools and none of those fancy CNC machines and the like. Apparently he makes ‘nearly all’ of the parts himself.















Here is a close up of a bridge complete with chaton.  Note the screws retaining the chaton “à la  Lange” (as some have suggested):




In this movement shot it is possible to see the secondary anchor for the intermediate bridge.  




Note that the jewels in the chatons all nearly line up. As may be seen from one of the early designs, it looked like they would be perfectly aligned.  One of the particular specifications, however, was a large balance wheel (now a very healthy 16mm) and up-rating the size of the balance wheel from 13mm whilst keeping the diameter of the case to 40mm meant sacrificing the symmetry of the movement somewhat.  It also presented a headache for Chris in that he had to strengthen the axles for the geartrains and then re-regulate the watch for the larger balance wheel, but he handled it with aplomb.

Here’s an early shot of the dial.  Initially the inner dial was to be guillochéed, but Chris sent through this photo as a suggestion:

 


What is the pattern/material with which the inner dial is decorated? That, dear friends, is patterned silk! Chris believes that it will not fade, will not ‘bubble’ and will not pick up any lubricant stains.  Maybe he’s right, maybe not, but the sheer quirkiness of the suggestion made it a winner – it can always be replaced down the track if needs be, but until then it brings a smile to the face every time.


As you can see, the ‘Breguet’ hands, the hand-engraved Roman numerals (dark blue) and dial layout are quite similar to other Klings watches.  That is deliberate. There are subtle differences (the size of the sub-dial; the indices on the outer track), but this is the Klings DNA which was so appealing in the first place. It’s on the flip-side where the watch departs from anything else: as noted in a previous post, “it’s all about the bridges”.








The back-plate was to be finished originally in soft Geneva stripes, but Chris ultimately frosted the back-plate in order not to detract from the simple aesthetic – a good call. It’s a style which has become known as English frosting or English finishing, but by all accounts it was popular in other countries long before the English made it their own. Perhaps somebody with a greater well of knowledge would care to comment?

The final result?




Thank you, Christian Klings, for interpreting, translating, realising and thrilling.  Thank you all for tolerating this indulgence.


Cheers,
pplater.

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Comments: view entire thread

 

Beautiful!

 
 By: Allen : February 7th, 2014-11:34
What a fantastic watch. The movement looks just exquisite. I love the silk center for the dial. No wonder you weren't at SIHH this year! Congratulations and wear it in the best of health!

"Missed you too!"...

 
 By: pplater : February 7th, 2014-11:38
Thanks Allen. If Chris knew how you roll (perhaps he does???) he'd be hugely flattered. Hope to catch up soon. Cheers, pplater.

Whenever you need a vacation...

 
 By: Allen : February 9th, 2014-00:18
You are welcome to visit anytime. We will make it worth your trip!

interesting report, thanks (nt)

 
 By: Ronald Held : February 7th, 2014-14:38
NT

Simply amazing.....

 
 By: Darren : February 7th, 2014-15:40
There's nothing I don't love about this timepiece. I tend to be drawn to time-only dials with small seconds registers, and the movement is otherworldly. The fact that Christian created your movement, case, dial, hands, crown, etc. with his own 2 hands (li... 

Darren, you can rightly claim...

 
 By: pplater : February 7th, 2014-17:06
...to be the Godfather of this watch. It may have been your commission which drew Chris back to the land of the living. Would you mind posting here some photos of your own Klings piece, to remind others of the breadth of Chris' considerable talents? Cheer... 

Sure - here are a couple of mine.....

 
 By: Darren : February 7th, 2014-18:45
Here are a few scans. My movement is a bit more pedestrian, although at the end of the day Christian created quite a bit of it on his own (in particular the power reserve and moonphase). I hope we get to see more of Christian's work in the near future, as...  

Thanks for adding those, Darren...

 
 By: pplater : February 7th, 2014-21:29
That movement may be different, but it's certainly not pedestrian. Given Christian's production, you are doubtless the proud owner of the only blue-dial moonphase Klings in captivity, wouldn't you think? Lovely to see, as always. Cheers, pplater.

After the calm...

 
 By: Mr Green : February 7th, 2014-16:04
comes the storm. After pplater posting silence comes hell of a post :) Happy for you and proud Congrats Mr. Connoisseur from Down Under Cheers D

Dear friend from Up Over...

 
 By: pplater : February 7th, 2014-17:15
...you always have the kindest things to say. This watch will be visiting you in a few months, attached to an ageing, tired, scrawny wrist from Down Under. The matching wrist, however, is already in training for all of the work it will have to do in your ... 

It's all in the wrist...

 
 By: Mr Green : February 8th, 2014-00:09
as we say up here so all you have to do is practice... wrist...short movements downside up and again :) Really looking forward with third baby on the way in month or so we'll have to synchronize our clocks very well ;) Best Damjan

Third baby!...

 
 By: pplater : February 8th, 2014-00:13
Congratulations Damjan!! You must buy a watch to celebrate! ...and then we must get you away from the house, and full of Islay 'sleeping potion', before cabin fever and exhaustion set in. Look for a PM. Cheers, pplater.

From what I heard..

 
 By: Mr Green : February 8th, 2014-00:16
I still have couple to catch up ,) D

Correct...

 
 By: pplater : February 8th, 2014-00:20
...but it seems that you, at least, are still equipped to catch up. Some of us have gracefully retired. :-) PM sent. Cheers, pplater.

Still those two bits of metal sticking out of the chatons......

 
 By: moc : February 7th, 2014-16:48
Kidding...... Wow,what a watch my friend....well done,the back is terrific,the front to die for... You are a true connoisseur ....huge congrats Mo

:-) ...

 
 By: pplater : February 7th, 2014-16:53
Mo, have you been 'told' today???? ;-) All compliments are due solely to Chris Klings, but you are very kind. It is a pleasure - a thrill - to have participated in the realisation of this piece. Your approval is hugely gratifying. Cheers, pplater.

With all due respect, Mo... ;-)...

 
 By: Ornatus-Mundi : February 8th, 2014-05:43
this is a watch for adult connoisseurs, only… Cheers, Magnus P.S.: Could not resist either…!

LOL - Indeed...

 
 By: Rushwarp : February 10th, 2014-13:26
...for adults who evidently cannot field simple questions without feeling attacked. A bit silly really that you seem to have this need to repeat how adult your tastes are online, whenever you can. But I guess within the limited constraints of looking at y... 

Finally a relaxed ,chilled out post!

 
 By: moc : February 11th, 2014-07:59
It would be nice to hear your comments after this exhaustive thread,especially with your experience from years of collecting. Mo

Congrats

 
 By: Chucky1103 : February 7th, 2014-18:24
Hope you bring it next time you are up to SG

That's a given, Chucky...

 
 By: pplater : February 7th, 2014-19:52
...look forward to seeing you then. Cheers, pplater.

What a fabulous and truly unique creation

 
 By: Spellbound : February 7th, 2014-19:41
This is the perfect post that pops up ever so seldom. Thanks for the wonderful walk through. The two year process from start to finish must have been thrilling for you, and the anticipation.... And then to see the realization of this unique piece that has... 

Highly recommend...

 
 By: pplater : February 7th, 2014-21:26
...getting a head start on that special piece, Dean; it could take all of two years or more, as you know. Having commissioned a few AHCI pieces over time, two years didn't seem such a long wait. Still, as you say: it's two years of fun and anticipation. T... 

Like no other!

 
 By: sidneyc : February 7th, 2014-19:56
What a wonderful story about your new acquisition pplater! The watch is like no other and it's a joy to read how it all started! Every bit of the watch oozes class. I love the unique idea of the patterned silk! Amazing how Christian managed to secure such... 

If invited, Sidney...

 
 By: pplater : February 7th, 2014-20:00
...the watch will come. There's also the small matter of a gathering of the Habrings, and then the Gerber P10 get-together. Maybe one of you in the 'far East' can jog AndrewD out of his torpor and we can make a party of it! Until then, thanks for your gen... 

gee, how lovely is that?

 
 By: aptronym : February 8th, 2014-03:18
Pplater - for me, hearing about the process is as engaging as the final result, it makes me look at a commission so very differently. Thank you, as ever, for sharing. Pplater & Sidneyc - I don't qualify for any of those still-to-be-arranged gatherings, bu... 

Never an interloper...

 
 By: pplater : February 8th, 2014-03:37
...always a guest of honour. :-) Cheers, pplater.

That place goes to you...

 
 By: aptronym : February 8th, 2014-06:07
...natch! ;)

PS

 
 By: aptronym : February 8th, 2014-06:08
I have an idea about where you might look next...

Ah yes the Gerber P10 gathering!

 
 By: sidneyc : February 8th, 2014-12:36
Would definitely looove for that to happen! And indeed I'm sure we would all enjoy Aptronym to be our guest of honour! Regrettably my Habring club membership had expired but the Gerber P10 is still with me. Congrats again! I could stare at the photos of y... 

It is still in Oz

 
 By: sidneyc : February 8th, 2014-19:04
Potentially ADHOC could still have a group wrist scan :)

Hence the question... [nt]

 
 By: pplater : February 9th, 2014-17:04

Wow !

 
 By: flamenco : February 7th, 2014-21:02
Truly amazing piece of Art ! I'd wear it case back ... Never mind the time ... Great to be involved along the way , piece unique indeed. Hope to see it one day , perhaps in sunny Singapore. Thanks for the truly wonderful post.

What an incredible project!

 
 By: dedestexhes : February 7th, 2014-21:33
It are projects like this that keep me interested in the watch world. Bravo! Best regards, Dirk

It was indeed exciting, Dirk...

 
 By: pplater : February 8th, 2014-00:09
...and enough to sustain an interest in watches for all one year, three hundred and sixty three days! Of course, there must always be something in the pipeline to keep the passions aroused. Cheers, pplater.

Mon Cher Confrère, Félicitations for this very fine watch.

 
 By: amanico : February 7th, 2014-23:15
From the case to the dial and the movement, I am totally seduced. Participating to the creation of your time piece is certainly a very exciting experience. Bravo. Amicalement yours. Nicolas.

Thanks, as ever...

 
 By: pplater : February 8th, 2014-00:07
...cher confrère. You judgment is as valuable as your advocacy. ;-) Cheers, pplater.

Splendidly beautiful, my perfect cup of Camomille.....

 
 By: Sandgroper : February 7th, 2014-23:34
Congratulations Pplater for your sense of aesthetics and the choice of your master watch maker. Looking forward to see and feel it in the metal;) Cheers Francois from........South of the River

what Paul Sacher was for early modern music

 
 By: donizetti : February 8th, 2014-00:54
you may become for watchmaking, great piece but also really impressive interaction between artist and patron. Loved that post and the watch is, of course outstanding from every angle. Best Andreas

A wholly undeserved comparison, Andreas...

 
 By: pplater : February 8th, 2014-01:08
...but if it means also becoming the richest man in Europe (as Sacher reputedly was) then it's a cross worth bearing! ;-) Thank you for your generous words. It means a great deal that someone with your fine sense of discrimination should find the watch ap... 

Being a watchmaker looks fantastic.

 
 By: Mark in Paris : February 8th, 2014-03:41
I would love to have the knowledge to be able to make my own watch. This movement seems goregeous and with all the Indies' ingredients. Thanks a lot for sharing and congratulations to you for this fantastic piece ;) Cheers, Mark

But then, Mark...

 
 By: pplater : February 8th, 2014-04:25
...what would you collect??? :-) Let's be satisfied with leaving the making to others so that they can rely on us to do the collecting. Perfect symbiosis! Cheers, pplater.

A watch the ends it all...

 
 By: Ornatus-Mundi : February 8th, 2014-06:05
and says so much about the maker and the patron! For me everything is done right, the conception of the movement, its layout and execution, the dial (including the exotic choice of materials). This watch would give me much more pleasure than any complicat... 

Gosh, Magnus!...

 
 By: pplater : February 8th, 2014-06:56
That's quite a big statement! We are agreed, though, that a simple watch such as this one can give at least as much pleasure, if not more, than a complicated piece or Grande Complication. That having been said, the luxury of commissioning a very complicat... 

Don't commission that big complication...

 
 By: Gary G : February 8th, 2014-12:14
...without informing your bald buddy first! Best, Gary

Congrats, to all passionate people ...

 
 By: small-luxury-world : February 8th, 2014-06:47
involved in that outstanding project. You made my day! Oliver

What a splendid piece and informative report!

 
 By: Gary G : February 8th, 2014-12:11
Many, many congratulations to you, my friend -- while others of us simply propose minor tweaks to the already-conceived work of the masters, you collaborate on something fundamentally new! Can't wait to see this one in person -- and of course to renew our... 

Your final thought...

 
 By: pplater : February 8th, 2014-17:09
...has made the day (in a caring and sharing kinda way). It's probably only an oversight, though - soon to be corrected, no doubt! :-) This was a lot of fun. Chris is obviously well established, but we should be looking to do something similar with the em... 

Congrats!

 
 By: SuitbertW : February 8th, 2014-13:58
I'm really happy to see something from Christian again - sincere congrats to both the creator and happy new owner!!! Best regards Suitbert

What some people may not know, Suitbert...

 
 By: pplater : February 8th, 2014-17:33
...is that you have always been an early champion of Christian Klings. Your posts are an invaluable resource for anyone researching his work. Here are a couple which turned up on a quick search, but it would be much appreciated if you could post links to ... 

Thanks so much for reminding us on these marvellous posts...

 
 By: Ornatus-Mundi : February 9th, 2014-00:24
… and of course on a bit of PPro history. 6 years ago - we were all (?) much more virginal… Cheers, Magnus

A lovely watch pplater!

 
 By: Tim Jackson : February 8th, 2014-15:00
Thank you for taking the time to share this wonderful journey with us. A most satisfying result I'd say! Chris Klings is a genius watchmaker and a great guy. Enjoy and well done on your continued support of the artisanal watchmakers round the world. As I ... 

Some of us, Tim...

 
 By: pplater : February 9th, 2014-20:59
...support these artisanal watchmakers only in small ways: it takes a huge leap of faith and real guts to support them in the way that you have, and you do. Chapeau! Cheers, pplater.

Appreciate the kind words.

 
 By: Tim Jackson : February 11th, 2014-17:57
Coming from you, that is a terrific compliment. I follow my heart and gut...so far so good, it has been a tremendous journey! Cheers, Tim

Stunning pplater- you are certainly Mr Independent!

 
 By: watch-guy.com : February 8th, 2014-17:12
That is i a beautiful process, starting with design and ending up with another prefect piece. Your patience is astonishing Next time you are in this timezone lets try and catch up . Would love to see IRL Cheers Julian

Or should that be...

 
 By: pplater : February 9th, 2014-21:01
...""??? :-) Rest assured, we will catch up before too long. Looking forward to it. Cheers, pplater.

The bonding starts even before it was born.

 
 By: ling5hk : February 8th, 2014-17:41
What an experience! Very interesting finishing on the movement. Beautiful dial as well. It is not difficult to tell you are an excited and happy owner of this piece of art work. Regards Ling

It will be a very long time, Ling...

 
 By: pplater : February 9th, 2014-21:03
...before the excitement wears off. A new purchase is one thing, but the arrival of something two years in the making is quite another! Thanks for your kind words. Cheers, pplater.

Perfect!

 
 By: Terry O : February 8th, 2014-19:48
Congratulations on a stunning watch. Fabulous movement (love those bridges) and great craftsmanship. But the wonderful collaboration between watchmaker and patron makes it perfect. Look forward to seeing it in person. All the best. TerryO

Very kind, Terry...

 
 By: pplater : February 9th, 2014-21:17
...and a real compliment for Chris coming from an Independent watch connoisseur such as yourself. Hopefully we will catch up next January (if not sooner); it will be Klings at thirty paces!! Actually: why wouldn't he be at dinner next year? May have to wo... 

wow! what a masterpiece! congrats!

 
 By: Indohorology : February 9th, 2014-02:46
I love everything about the watch! It's truly showing your remarkable taste in horology and Kling's excellent craftmanship in watchmaking! Best regards, Alex

Thanks Alex. As the owner...

 
 By: pplater : February 9th, 2014-21:33
...of the FPJ RDT you would recognise a couple of the 'antique' touches which are echoed in the Klings piece. Pleased you like it! Cheers, pplater.

Fantastic!

 
 By: aaronm : February 9th, 2014-19:36
Many congrats! If the old painted scrolls I've seen are any indication, that silk will be pure white LONG after the rest of the metal has darkened. As for the "english frosted finish", I have no solid research to back this up, but every watch I've seen fr... 

George Daniels?...

 
 By: pplater : February 9th, 2014-21:37
Who is he???? ;-) You'd like this one in the metal, Aaron. As posted above, it really does have a few gentle 'echoes' of some of the graceful older pieces. Of course, the real trouble with having a white silk dial is finding accessories to match! :-) :-) ... 

Back in the old days....

 
 By: SuitbertW : February 10th, 2014-03:13
Hi Aaron, back in the old days there wasn't electro plating :-), so the way to go was fire gilt - an extremely toxic (due to the amalgan mercury nature) process, but with an extremely nice, silky matte fine gold surface. Later a brushed (chemical) silver ... 

Hmmm..

 
 By: aaronm : February 10th, 2014-07:09
I know US makers were nickel-plating bridges as early as the mid 1860s, or right about the beginning of their rise to power, but those were sold alongside gilt movements for most of the 19th C. From watches I've seen, not having done any real research on ... 

Wonderful! But ...

 
 By: Marcus Hanke : February 10th, 2014-00:09
... as much as I love Kling's movement design, I think that the highly classical Breguet design of the face and hands does not really do it justice. For my taste, the front is too conventional for the unique movement. Other than that, it is truly a work o... 

That's a fair point, Marcus...

 
 By: pplater : February 10th, 2014-06:08
...it's easy to imagine the movement in a watch of the 'modern' era, isn't it? You could have a lot of fun imagining the different kinds of case and dial which might 'work'. However; it is a Christian Klings watch, and asking him to do a 'modern' case and... 

You obviously watch too many splatter movies, Alex...

 
 By: Ornatus-Mundi : February 10th, 2014-07:03
Killings - Kilings - Klings… ;-) Magnus

Marvelous--one of the most beautiful watches I have ever seen.

 
 By: expwmbat : February 15th, 2014-09:24
Thank you for sharing, and congrats to you and Mr. Klings on an amazing collaboration. Cheers, Daniel

Awe...

 
 By: sklim8 : February 21st, 2014-03:57
Sincerest congratulations on this wonderful piece! I "envy" both your vision and patience. May you wear it in good health, and hope you make a trip to HK sometime with the wonder!

I read it again and again.

 
 By: cisco : April 24th, 2014-01:48
There are so many things there -First I love your vision and your criteria, that gives a way and if communication is successful you will be pleased more than with any other watches, and I do believe that it is the case. Pleased is weak in that case. -Seco... 

Merci beaucoup, Francois...

 
 By: pplater : April 24th, 2014-08:55
Herr Klings will be very gratified. Cheers, pplater.