The essence of poetry in motion is captured by the maison with six bejewelled masterpieces of high artistry.
To mark its return to Watches & Wonders in Geneva, Van Cleef & Arpels offers enchanting new stories from its emblematic sources of inspiration, reflecting its unique Poetry of Time philosophy. This vision of watchmaking, which is imbued with dreams and emotions, comes to life through the nature-inspired exhibition display and its six new artistic novelties.
Straight from the Van Cleef & Arpels booth at Watches & Wonders, Allyson Klass also shares her thoughts and videos of the new releases.
Watches and Wonders 2022: Van Cleef & Arpels
Poetic Complications: Fabulous Flowerscapes
To pay tribute to nature that has fascinated it ever since 1906, the house has drawn inspiration from the floral clock concept (Horologium Florae), developed by Carl Von Linné, in his 1751 book Philosophia Botanica. In it, the Swedish botanist evokes a hypothetical garden plan made up of a broad variety of plants, whose flowers open and close at specific moments of the day to show the time.
Van Cleef & Arpels has adopted this principle to bring two brand-new 38mm creations into fruition: the white gold Lady Arpels Heures Florales and the rose gold Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier watches. Their three-dimensional dial offers a poetic rendition of the passage of time, thanks to the opening and closing of 12 corollas. Telling the time becomes a spectacle, as the flowers blossom and close, renewing the dial’s scenery every 60 minutes.
“Meet the Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier that tells the time with the opening of blooms. Four flowers opening mean it’s 4 o’clock. The minutes can be found on the midcase.”
To bring the dial to life, up to 166 elements are set in motion by an automatic mechanical movement with a module entirely developed by the craftsmen of the maison’s watchmaking workshops in Geneva. With each passing hour, the open flowers close to make way for a new combination. The next day, the sequence of the bouquets that succeed one another from hour to hour will be different.
Petals and butterflies in miniature painting, branches in sculpted gold and clouds in sculpted mother-of-pearl are enhanced by stone setting of extreme finesse, with white and yellow diamonds sparkling alongside one another. The gold back of the case is engraved to echo the dial, while the movement’s oscillating weight – in guilloché gold and miniature painting – is visible beneath a sapphire glass, itself engraved and enamelled with a winged creature, in turn a dragonfly or a butterfly.
Poetic Complications: Tiny Dancers
Born in 2013 and winner of the Lady’s Complication Prize at the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève the same year, the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée watch has become one of the maison’s emblematic watchmaking creations, reflecting one of its major sources of inspiration: dance.
“The Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchante rose gold watch has a fairy-like dancer tell the time. How romantic is this piece?”
This year, Van Cleef & Arpels reinvents it in two new 40mm pieces suffused with grace and modernity. The ballerina’s body is sculpted in relief in gold, while her headdress, face, bust and waist are adorned with diamonds. She is dressed in a first fixed corolla – in champlevé enamel, sapphires and diamonds for the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée watch in white gold, and in plique-à-jour enamel for the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée Rose Gold watch.
The maison once again accentuates its poetic vision of time with a double retrograde time-on-demand movement. Here, when the user presses the button located at 8 o’clock, the ballerina’s tutu comes to life. The petticoat showing the hours rises first, followed by the other one which takes up its position on the minute scale. They remain in place for a few seconds, enabling the time to be told, then return simultaneously to their starting points. Their fluid motion is one of this complication’s technical feats: the ballerina appears to move her wings slowly and gracefully.
“The various references of the Van Cleef & Arpels’ latest offerings of timepieces. Which is your favourite?”
Extraordinary Dials: Loving Creatures
Two new limited-edition models – designed as miniature works of art that combine several craft skills – join the Extraordinary Dials collection. This year, the art of engravers, lapidaries, stone setters and enamellers showcase the poetry of love, in representations of animal couples. Within a 33mm white gold case, these relief scenes come to life in striking plays of perspective. In the maison’s well-loved tradition of animal couples, the creatures duos gaze tenderly at each other.
On the foreground of the dial of the Lady Duo de Lions, the lions are intricately sculpted in relief from white and yellow gold. At their feet, a surface of diamonds and pink sapphires contrasts with a background of turquoise, onyx marquetry and diamonds. Depicted in mirror-polished and guilloché rose gold, the sun emerges from behind clouds of white mother-of-pearl with subtle iridescence.
The Lady Duo de Lapins features sculpted mother-of-pearl, which brings to life a pair of rabbits surrounded by a garden of emeralds, tsavorite garnets, pink sapphires and plique-à-jour enamelling. The sun is represented by guilloché and mirror-polished rose gold, and the cloud by lapis lazuli. On the back of the watch, an engraved scene revisits the graphic lines of the dial.
See more highlights from Van Cleef & Arpels at Watches & Wonders 2022:
“One of 3 automatons launched by Van Cleef & Arpels in action. This is the Reveries de Berylline.”
“The second automaton is the astounding Fontaine aux Oiseaux”
“And this is the out-of-this-world Planetarium automaton.”
More information here