Beat Haldimann Introduces H11 & H12, His First Stainless Steel (Relatively Affordable) Wristwatches

by Elizabeth Doerr

 There are a few Swiss master watchmakers whose names most connoisseurs have never heard — a fact that has more to do with the former’s low-key, non-spotlight personalities than anything else. No true aficionado of horology should pass up a chance to check them out, though.

One of these is Beat Haldimann, who is at home in Thun, Switzerland. And if you’d like to know a lot more about him, you might pick up my book 12 Faces of Time.

H11 (left) and H12 (small seconds) by Beat Haldimann

H11 (left) and H12 (with small seconds) by Beat Haldimann

Haldimann creates wristwatches that are for watch enthusiasts who “are about content, not brands,” as the he puts it.

Beat Haldimann H2 Flying Resonance

Beat Haldimann H2 Flying Resonance

Haldimann is known for his elegant style of complicated watchmaking, which is firmly rooted in the principles of creative, philosophically inclined haute horlogerie. So encasing his precious handcrafted work in stainless steel is a bold step.

Until now, Haldimann only produced between ten and twenty watches each year. “I don’t need to make ‘limited editions,’ everything I do is limited simply by the fact that I manufacture at least 90 percent of it myself here,” Haldimann once explained to me.

He also explained, “I don’t want to be dependent on anyone, that’s why I make as much as I can here, including things like clasps and cases.”

The Beat Haldimann H11 is also available in red gold

The Beat Haldimann H11 is also available in red gold

Haldimann introduced his first wristwatch in 2002; he had only made clocks to that point. His no-frills style translated well to his wristwatches, bringing him a small but loyal fan base.

Stainless steel cases

The year 2017 sees the first watches by Beat Haldimann housed in stainless steel cases.

Beat Haldimann H11 with blue dial

Beat Haldimann H11 with blue dial

And these are topped off by rich blue dials, which now become the faces of the new H11 and H12 models. They exhibit a startling frosted effect, which is obtained by using a silver dial blank with engraved and lacquered indexes and logo, after which a silver powder is applied by hand — this is a painstaking task, but the result is well worth the work.

Beat Haldimann H11 with white dial in red gold

Beat Haldimann H11 with white dial in red gold

The shape of the hands are inspired by a pocket watch by Haldimann Frères from 1790.

H11 is Haldimann’s first two-handed watch with a conventional, central display of hours and minutes to also boast a central balance wheel. It also represents Haldimann’s first wristwatch without a tourbillon escapement.

Beat Haldimann H11 with white dial in red gold

Beat Haldimann H11 with white dial in red gold

What may look easy is indeed difficult to fruitfully conceive and properly execute without disturbing accuracy. Matching the simple sobriety of the unadorned, yet well-finished movement and the svelte case, the dial is something the observer can relish with indulgence: the hands make their rounds against the backdrop of the frosted dial adorned only with simple Roman numerals and dot markers to keep track of the minutes.

The numerals can be filled with the following lacquer colors as the client wishes: black, silver, gold, green, red, or blue.

Beat Haldimann H12 with blue dial in stainless steel

Beat Haldimann H12 with blue dial in stainless steel

This movement (like all others over the years) has been entirely developed, assembled, and finished at Haldimann’s workshops, which are beautifully situated within a majestic manor house overlooking Lake Thun and the Swiss Alps beyond the water. No CNC machines were involved in making the movement.

The H11 and H12 models only differ in the absence of a second hand on the H11 to break the desired serenity; the H12 includes an off-center subdial for seconds at 5 o’clock.

Movement side of the Beat Haldimann H11

Movement side of Beat Haldimann’s H11

Turning the watch over, one is rewarded with an even more spectacular view: a hand-frosted manually wound movement highlighting the central position of the balance with proprietary shock absorber, which allows the balance to recover more quickly after experiencing shock.

Beat Haldimann H11 with blue dial in stainless steel

Beat Haldimann H11 with blue dial in stainless steel

For more information, please visit www.haldimann.swiss/en.

Quick Facts: Haldimann H11
 Case: 39 x 10.8 mm (42 mm on request), stainless steel
 Dial: hand-frosted solid silver in midnight blue with handmade stainless steel hands
 Movement: manually wound Caliber H11 with 38-hour power reserve, 3 Hz/21,600 vph, modified Swiss lever escapement with Haldimann shock absorber; frosted finish
 Functions: hours, minutes
 Price: 30,000 Swiss francs

H12 by Beat Haldimann

H12 by Beat Haldimann

Quick Facts: Haldimann H12
 Case: 39 x 10.8 mm (42 mm on request), stainless steel
 Dial: hand-frosted solid silver in midnight blue with handmade stainless steel hands
 Movement: manually wound Caliber H12 with 38-hour power reserve, 3 Hz/21,600 vph, modified Swiss lever escapement with Haldimann shock absorber; frosted finish
 Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
 Price: 31,000 Swiss francs

Originally published at Quill & Pad.