Dazzled by the spectacle of the heavens and stars, and ever faithful to a poetic view of life, Van Cleef & Arpels instils a distinctive dimension into the art of watchmaking through its ‘Poetic Astronomy’ line: that of dreams and emotions.
A blend of inventiveness and fantasy, Van Cleef & Arpels’ ‘Poetic Astronomy’ timepieces interpret the measurement of time as an invitation to imagine, wander and revel in happiness – capturing the dance of the planets, tracing the constellations, and reaping the stars. That dream has inspired a wealth of precious watchmaking creations, in keeping with the maison’s distinctive ‘Poetry of Time’. Whether illuminating the 12 constellations of the Zodiac or reproducing the movement of the heavenly orbs, virtuoso mechanisms bring all the magic of the universe to life on the wrist.
The maison draws from its history and emblematic sources of inspiration to depict the poetry of each instant. New tales of love and luck take their places alongside creations evoking Van Cleef & Arpels’ heritage. Fairies and ballerinas tick away the hours, while the rhythm of nature meets that of the cosmos. Representing the various watchmaking collections, each piece relates a moment of grace and enchantment. Throughout the collections, watchmakers, jewellers and craftsmen deploy their savoir-faire to bring each miniature tableaux to life, ushering the onlooker into a world of contemplation and dreams.
‘Poetic Astronomy’ offers an invitation to live in harmony with the rhythm of the cosmos. It has been enriched with a new set of 12 feminine Lady Arpels Zodiaque Lumineux models, which join the masculine Midnight Zodiaque Lumineux watches introduced in 2018. These watchmaking creations recreate the sparkle of the stars with an exclusive light-on-demand module, first developed in 2016 for the Midnight Nuit Lumineuse watch. An automatic mechanical movement now illuminates the 12 signs of the Western Zodiac.
The Midnight Zodiaque Lumineux watches’ spellbinding illumination has its origins in a phenomenon known as ‘piezoelectricity’. An object of study since the 18th century, it refers to the capacity of certain materials to accumulate an electric charge when subjected to mechanical constraints. Developed exclusively for Van Cleef & Arpels, the module incorporates a piezoceramic blade whose vibration – under the effect of the watch’s movement – enables electrical energy to be generated mechanically. This energy is then used as a supply source to from four to six LEDs. At the press of a button, they backlight the dial’s translucent enamel beads for about three seconds. The dials brought to life by this technical feat are decorated at Van Cleef & Arpels’ Meyrin workshops in Switzerland.
Intricately and individually sculpted in white gold, the Zodiac signs on the masculine watches stand out against a background in blue paillet enamel, evoking the heavenly vault. On the feminine watches, these symbolic figures are adorned with white or yellow gold, precious stones and enamel. The depths of the cosmos are suggested by an intense glittery effect on the blue, nuanced by an interplay of light and shade. The four elements are depicted by different tones of stones and enamel: green for earth, orange for re and gradations of blue and violet for the air and water signs.
As part of Poetic Astronomy, Van Cleef & Arpels has also revisited its Midnight Planétarium watch to provide a feminine interpretation. Featuring both re ned aesthetics and an automatic movement developed exclusively for the maison, the Lady Arpels Planétarium watch depicts the Sun and its closest planets: Mercury, Venus and Earth – accompanied by its satellite, the Moon. Each heavenly body moves at its actual speed, orbiting the dial in 88 days for Mercury, 224 days for Venus and 365 days for Earth. In a major innovation, the Moon also rotates around the Earth on this piece, completing its orbit in 29.5 days and bringing the dial to life with its daily dance.
The choice of planets, imbued with feminine symbolism in the case of Venus and the Moon, is accompanied by the careful adaptation of the timepiece’s dimensions to a woman’s wrist. The Lady Arpels case – 38mm in diameter and set with diamonds on the sides of the case and bezel – houses a movement redesigned for this smaller size. The dial’s re ned design combines the spectacle of the planets with that of a shooting star in rhodium-plated gold, indicating the time with poetic grace. On the back of the watch, two apertures display the day, month, and year in the midst of enchanting decoration.
Two bracelets are available to suit any occasion: a blue glitter alligator strap to match the dial, and a bracelet entirely set with diamonds for a high jewellery effect.
To recreate the awe-inspiring experience of stargazing, Van Cleef & Arpels has taken special care in selecting and working with the traditional materials of jewellery and watchmaking. Planets of differing volumes rotate around a Sun made of pink gold, gleaming in the center of the dial. The pink mother-of-pearl Mercury and turquoise Earth have been meticulously hand-cut in spherical shapes, while Venus is portrayed by a green enamel bead, fashioned at the Van Cleef & Arpels enamel workshops in Meyrin. The familiar glow of the Moon as it orbits Earth is brought to life by a brilliant-cut diamond, which contrasts with the midnight blue background.
The emotion conveyed by the these creations combines a plunge into the depths of the universe with the beauty of fine jewellery craftsmanship.
Visit the Van Cleef & Arpels boutiques at The Emporium and Siam Paragon in Bangkok. To find out more, visit vancleefarpels.com.