Star light, star bright
Tiny LED bulbs light up the constellations in these Van Cleef & Arpels watches.
The Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Zodiac Lumineux collection is an electrifying series because these 12 timepieces light up at the push of a button. A definite world-first in the haute horlogerie segment, the collection consists of 12 astrological designs for all the signs of the Western zodiac.
On blue glitter enamel dials reminiscent of the Milky Way, finely sculpted white gold appliques depict the signs of the zodiac and are accompanied by the stars in the constellation. Those stars in turn are made of delicate translucent blue enamel beads, shaped by hand and then mounted on the dial. Intriguingly, some of these enamel beads light up on demand.
Between four and six tiny LED bulbs backlight the enamel beads for three seconds in a delightful showcase of Van Cleef & Arpels’ watchmaking creativity. Yet this isn’t simply a battery-operated device, but rather backed by an 18th-century phenomenon known as piezoelectricity. This is the capacity of certain materials to accumulate an electric charge when the right conditions are met.
Within the watch is a module with a ceramic blade that vibrates under the effect of the wearer’s movements, causing electrical energy to be generated mechanically. That energy is then transferred to the LED bulbs each time the button at eight o’clock is pressed. A spellbinding complication from a poetic maison.