THE DREAM MAKER
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
The Poetic Complications line by Van Cleef & Arpels weaves tales of fantasy with timepieces that spell romance, whimsy and drama. Here, the movement is engineered to service the design, and the maison works with specialists to construct complications that correspond with the story Van Cleef wishes to tell. Take, for example, the 2010 Pont des Amoureux where two lovers count down the hours and minutes to meet at 12. It is a highly complex retrograde movement that is masked by the fanciful love story. Not enough credit is given to these highly intelligent movements; we highlight the ones that caught our fancy this year.
1. LADY ARPELS RONDE DES PAPILLONS
The maison’s dalliance with nature is celebrated in this Lady Arpels Ronde des Papillons timepiece, where three butterflies flit amidst the clouds in a dreamlike performance. As they gambol in and out of the clouds, their wings point at the minutes counter, revealing the time. It is a complex ballet, as each butterfly takes turns in counting down the minutes. A swallow glides slowly nearby, telling the hours with its wings using a retrograde display. The timepiece displays the maison’s design prowess, and features mother-of-pearl clouds, while the winged creatures are depicted in engraved gold and miniature painting.
2. LADY JOUR DES FLEURS
Not just a pretty, bejewelled face, the Lady Jour des Fleurs showcases hidden depth with an inner disk that rotates to reflect the changing seasons. Beneath an upper disk festooned with diamonds is a stunning cornucopia of coloured gemstones to represent the hues of the seasons, including green tsavorites, orange spessartites, yellow and pink sapphires, and red spinels. It comes with a winecoloured alligator strap, as well as a lavish, fully bejewelled bracelet (seen here).
3. MIDNIGHT NUIT LUMINEUSE
The starry skies hold much fascination for Van Cleef & Arpels, and the maison depicts the constellations upon the aventurine dial of the Midnight Nuit Lumineuse. The Unicorn constellation comes to life as the stars anchoring the delineation light up at the press of a clicker. It’s not magic, nor is it electronically powered: Van Cleef & Arpels has utilised a strip of ceramic that produces mechanical energy that power six electroluminescent diodes. The animation lasts for four seconds.