Artisan watchmaker Christian Klings

Master Craftsman Christian Klings Has Made One-of-a-Kind Watches for 50 Years. One collector describes the long road from commission to the big reveal.

Christian, originally from East Germany, as it was known in his youth, is a watchmaker. He’s not a brand or a company or a team of craftsmen. It’s him, his two hands, some tools, synthetic ruby and lumps of stainless steel.

People like Christian, who make every part of the watch bespoke, from scratch and by themselves, are exceedingly rare—he’s one of the last few who even attempt this extraordinary art.

One of his passions within watchmaking is the escapement, the regulating organ of any timepiece, and he invented and realized several novel designs of this crucial element on his own. He settled in the sleepy town of Saalfeld, about 30 miles south of Weimar, and quietly made watches, signing them “C. Klings.”

Over a nearly 50-year career, he has made a grand total of 33 watches.

Story by Mark Cho for Robb Report