French High Jewelry Maison Van Cleef & Arpels celebrates its unique style in High Watchmaking through the Poetry of Time™ exhibition at the prestigious Dubai Mall for the third year on through 28th February.
Van Cleef & Arpels turns its gaze to the heavens and turns a page in its watchmaking history: Poetic Astronomy™. From the cycles of the Sun and the Moon to the wonders of a starry night and the dreamlike patterns of the constellations, the marvels of the universe have inspired creations that combine the poetry of the spheres with the measurement of time. Evoked in the Maison’s Jewelry and High Jewelry pieces, the theme of stars and the cosmos spread to Watchmaking in 2008 with the Lady Arpels Jour Nuit timepiece.
Through this watch, Van Cleef & Arpels pays homage to the emotions instilled by the dazzling spectacle of the heavens. The aventurine glass dial is animated with two complimentary elements: the Sun and the Moon, turning on a 24-hour cycle. The automatic mechanical movement, equipped with a 24-hour module developed exclusively for the Maison, allows the scenery to evolve over the course of a day, like a story brought to life.
Taking center stage at the exhibition is the Midnight Planétarium Poetic Complications™. With this timepiece, the Maison achieved its dream of reducing the scale of the heavens to the dimensions of a wristwatch. Drawing inspiration from the historic tradition of planetariums, it provides a miniature representation of the movement of six planets around the sun and their position at any given time. Earth and Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – all visible from Earth with the naked eye – are set in motion thanks to a self-winding mechanical movement of great complexity. Telling the time is a simple question of observing the shooting star, a cherished motif for the Maison. A star is also engraved on the glass, offering a mean of commemorating one’s own lucky day in the universe, when the Earth is placed exactly under the star as a sign of good luck.
In the 1950s, Van Cleef & Arpels devoted a collection to the signs of the Zodiac, and these yellow gold medallions were worn as precious talismans. Renewing this tradition of lucky jewelry, the Maison presents the Lady Arpels Zodiac set – twelve limited editions depicting the signs of the Western Zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Various craft skills combine to evoke the different signs and instill the dials with life and sparkle. A specific engraving corresponds to each element – Earth, Water, Air and Fire – and adorns the background. The latter is then covered with a layer of translucent colored enamel – green, dark blue, light blue or red – to produce subtle plays of light. Sculpted hard stones and set gold complete the scene.
Another highlight of the exhibition, From the Earth to the Moon Midnight timepiece fulfills a childhood dream – the conquest of space in an extraordinary journey to the stars. Seeking inspiration from the novel From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, it features a complex mechanical retrograde movement, where a star and a rocket have replaced the classical hands, showing the time passing by.
Lastly, there are the new Cadenas watches. Created in 1935, the Cadenas® watch marks the birth of one of the Maison’s most emblematic pieces. A symbol of sentimental attachment in the image of its clasp, it is said to have been inspired – like the Zip necklace – by the Duchess of Windsor. In 2015, Van Cleef & Arpels reveals a new treasure trove of Cadenas watches – true icons among the jewels of the Maison. Remaining faithful to the original bold lines, they combine an improved clasp and an enlarged dial, for a better time readability.
The collection now features a range of 9 variations – like so many facets of a single, distinctive personality. The Cadenas watch with a double snake chain bracelet celebrates the design of the historic model, expressing a refined, jewel-like elegance. It is also available in diamond set versions: with serti neige style setting illuminating the upper surface of the case, or the case, clasp and dial.
Designed by Pierre Arpels in 1949, the watch that bears his name epitomizes Van Cleef & Arpels’ vision of masculine elegance. Since 2012, the Maison has reinterpreted this icon of watchmaking and today enriches the collection with a new model that reflects Pierre Arpels’ way of life: the Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs watch. Offering a poetic interpretation of travel, this first Pierre Arpels complicated timepiece welcomes a dual time movement, distinguished by its double jumping hour and minute retrograde display. With a dial that combines the precision of watchmaking with the delicacy of calligraphy, this creation celebrates both real and imaginary journeys.
Visit the Atelier at the exhibition to discover how the expert watchmaker turns movement into poetry: