This romantic concept has been applied to a poetic watch whose maker also carries a rich French legacy. Van Cleef & Arpels coined the phrase “poetic complication” and recently presented luxury lovers with a unique form of horology that perfectly demonstrates the poetry of its name. Instead of focusing on utility, these complications are whimsical and meant to evoke emotion. Here, that emotion is romance.
Women’s watches such as this are exceedingly rare. The piece combines exquisite jewelry components with artistic craftsmanship, which can only be fully appreciated once understanding the elements of the various tiny details.
First up for review is the functionality of the watch. Two figurines travel along respective hour or minute retrograde dials to display the time. The delicate figure of the woman carrying an umbrella serves as the hour indicator, while the man, secretly holding a flower behind his back, points to the minutes. The retrograde display has been further complicated by the fact that upon hitting the 12 o’clock hour, the lovers meet at the center for a kiss. The concept, while seemingly quite simple, was actually an incredibly arduous feat of engineering.
What you can’t see hidden inside the watch is a manually wound Jaeger-LeCoultre 846 mechanical movement that is sized for a watch a fraction of the size. Why? Because the rest of the space is dedicated to a custom Van Cleef & Arpels module that makes the romantic gesture on the dial possible. And even though the French jewelry house knew that the complex mechanism would never be seen, its impeccable attention to detail dictated that it be beautifully finished nonetheless.
The bridge depicted on the dial isn’t the actual Pont des Amoureux, but a fairy-tale rendition conceived of by Van Cleef & Arpels. The most time-consuming process for the makers of the luxury timepiece is the components of the background of the face. The contre-jour enamel painting of the buildings and starry night in gray tones is completely painted by hand by a master artist. Each dial is then baked to perfection in a furnace heating up to 1,545 degrees. The resulting dial with its white gold “lovers hands” and detailed bridge makes for a stunning and poetic three-dimensional scene. The entire timepiece is housed in a 38-mm wide 18-karat white gold case decorated with large diamonds around the bezel, as well as on the mono-piece lugs, their ends, and on the watch crown as a cabochon. Attached to the watch is a smooth, white reptile strap. It is a remarkable and beautiful timepiece for a lady, further enhanced by the story behind its design and construction.
$116,000 | www.vancleef-arpels.com