Van Cleef & Arpels specializes in women’s jewels, but each year at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) it translates its jewelry expertise into watches combined with creative complications. This year was no exception as the company presented a number of exceptional timepieces led by the Lady Arpels Planétarium for women and the Midnight Heure d’Ici & Heure d’Ailleurs for men.
Lady Arpels Planétarium
The 38 mm white gold case and bezel are set with diamonds. Beneath the sapphire glass cover is a miniature depiction of celestial bodies on a sparkling midnight blue aventurine dial. At its center is a pink gold sun surrounded by the first three planets of the solar system: mercury in pink mother-of-pearl, venus in green enamel, earth in turquoise in orbits that are identical to the actual planets (88 days for Mercury, 224 days for Venus and 365 days for Earth).
The watch is a smaller, feminine version of Van Cleef’s Midnight Planétarium for men presented at SIHH in 2014. The celestial ballet on the dial for both timepieces is the result of movements designed by Christiaan Van der Klaauw, who is widely regarded as the best in the world at creating astronomical timepieces. The automatic movement for the Lady Arpels has a 40-hour power reserve.
Among the innovations for this new watch is a round diamond moon that rotates around the earth as the earth rotates around the sun. The moon’s rotation is 29.5 days, about 2.5 days longer than the Moon’s actual orbit. The other breakthrough is that all of the settings are contained in the crown, making this highly complicated watch easy to set and adjust.
While the planets are performing their rotations, a shooting star in rhodium-plated gold circles the perimeter of the dial pointing to the proper time.
On the back of the watch, two apertures display the day, month and year. Sapphire glass reveals the oscillating weight in white gold and black PVD, with a white gold crescent moon paved in diamonds and the earth in turquoise.
It is available in a blue glitter alligator strap with a white gold pin buckle set with diamonds, or a white gold bracelet set with diamonds. Price upon request.
Midnight Heure d’Ici & Heure d’Ailleurs
Leave to Van Cleef & Arpels to create a travel watch for men with poetic flair. Its name translates as “Time Here & Time Elsewhere,” which provides a substantial clue that it is a dual-time watch. However, the 42mm pink gold case also houses jumping hours and retrograde minutes complications all easily visible on the dial. It’s the newest model of the timepiece introduced in 2014. The main difference is a black galvanic brass dial as opposed to the white lacquer dial of the original model.
Jumping hours digital displays for the two time zones are located at 5 and 11 o’clock. In between is the retrograde minutes counter. When the minutes reach 60, it snaps back to zero and the two digital indicators advance, all of it happening simultaneously. A single crown is used to wind the movement and set the dual time zones and minutes.
The automatic movement with its complications, ease-of-use and 48-hour power reserve was created by Atelier Genevois d’Horlogerie, better known as “Agenhor,” a company renowned for its creative modules and movements.
A slender pink gold bezel and horns provide the finishing touches for this elegant and creative timepiece. It retails for $28,300.