Beat Haldimann is a man of tradition. A watchmaking tradition dating back to father and son Ulrich and Hans Haldimann who opened their watchmaking workshops in Horben, Switzerland in 1642. However, Beat Haldimann does not wish to continuously repeat the past but to use the beauty of the hand craft, using traditional tools but with a resolutely contemporary philosophy: a potent mix of pure designs and spectacular mechanics.
Eighteen years have gone by since the presentation of Haldimann’s first clock the H104, and in these 18 years all his timepieces have been conceived and manufactured in Haldimann’s own ateliers on the shores of the Lake of Thun, and never using CNC machines but a lot of painstaking hand work. This year sees the introduction of the H11 and H12 in steel, a metal never used before by Haldimann with a superb rich deep blue dial. The H11 and H12 are available in Beat Haldimann’s preferred diameter of 39mm but are also available upon special order in a 42mm case.
The surprising sheen effect of the dial is obtained by using a silver base on which the indexes and logo are first engraved and filled with lacquer. The frosted finish is then obtained by hand applying a silver powder on the dial, a daunting and painstaking task requiring skill, expertise and talent. The hands found on the H11 and H12 are also hand finished and inspired by a pocket watch from Haldimann Freres from 1790. First presented in 2013, the H11 (with no seconds hand) and H12 (with offset seconds hand) are both visually and technically stimulating.
The serene dial is a beautiful study in monochrome, turn the watch to reveal the movement and you will find a seductive technical challenge: the balance’s central location in the movement. Not only is this a visually arresting element but the technical feat of having centrally mounted hands. The Haldimann Calibers H11 and H12 have been fully developed, finished and assembled by hand within the Haldimann workshops in Thun, all with the use of dexterous hands and no CNC machines.
Beating at a frequency of 3 Hz (21,600 vibrations per hour) and endowed with a 38-hour power reserve, the mechanical manual wind Caliber H11 drives displays of the hours and minutes and Caliber H12 drives displays of hours, minutes and offset seconds. These two manufacture calibers also feature two of Haldimann’s innovations, a proprietary lever escapement as well as Haldimann’s proprietary shock absorption system permitting the balance to adjust more rapidly following a shock. All movements also feature hand finished frosted plates mirroring the finish of the dials. Beat Haldimann believes that these watches are testimonies of an era and they offer a lifelong complimentary servicing of their timepieces.