Robb Report Singapore
The refreshed Pont des Amoureux collection from Van Cleef & Arpels is an uncommonly poetic approach to watchmaking.
THE LADY ARPELS Pont des Amoureux, first seen in 2010 from Van Cleef & Arpels, is a fine example of emotion applied to artistic watchmaking. These timepieces are remarkable in their commitment to poetry and romance. Hour and minute are expressed in retrograde with a male and female figure who, at noon and midnight, come together for a kiss. The concept and implementation, and the exquisitely worked dial that depicts a Parisian bridge, are simply delightful.
This year, a refreshed collection was revealed at an exclusive event in Paris. Guests dined on a menu prepared by three Michelin-starred chef Eric Frechon amidst a Parisian cityscape.
The new releases have a reworked mechanism that includes on-demand animation. The pusher on the left side of the diamond-set 38mm case will have the lovers kiss for 10 seconds, after which they will return to the correct time. The action of the pusher powers the automaton so it can be activated without fear of draining the self-winding movement’s 36-hour power reserve. They will still meet on their own at noon and midnight, when they will stay together for three minutes. The collection now includes day and night versions as well as four seasonal variations that have the lovers in weather-appropriate attire.
The seasonal versions also have the maison flexing its high jewellery prowess with jewelled bracelets hinged to look nearly seamless whether on the wrist or flat on the table. For the first time, there is a men’s version at 42mm in diameter and without diamonds.
All executions have dials hand-painted with the grisaille enamel technique. This is an exacting method of decoration that begins with the artisans grinding their own pigments to the necessary smoothness, before spending nearly a week on each dial to ensure every speck of coloured enamel is in place.
The resulting soft, pastel tones perfectly express the whimsical nature of Pont des Amoureux and of the poetic leanings that make Van Cleef & Arpels stand out in the watchmaking landscape.