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Van Cleef & Arpels - Read the future in the stars

Van Cleef & Arpels Read the future in the stars

Van Cleef’s Poetic Astronomy collection will be expanded in 2019 with a series of exquisitely precious, illuminated women’s watches.

Van Cleef & Arpels will no longer be present at the SIHH, which is why the Parisian jeweller is unveiling its new creations in a somewhat offbeat manner, without regard to any particular schedule, at exclusive sessions. The theme for 2019 is the next chapter of a story that Van Cleef & Arpels loves to tell, featuring one of its favourite narrative themes: poetic astronomy. These exceptional new pieces belong to a family of twelve watches named Lady Arpels Zodiac Lumineux.

Read its future in the stars

Lady Arpels Zodiaque Lumineux Cancer, Leo and Virgo © WorldTempus / David Chrokron

The case is familiar. The Lady Arpels is distinguished by its single squared lug at the top and bottom of the case, with bevelled shoulders and bejewelled insert, in this case executed in white gold with diamonds. The movement is also familiar: the Zodiac Lumineux watches are all equipped with a manually wound movement with a piezo-electric generator.  This calibre is able to produce its own electricity from completely mechanical elements. It was already used in one of 2018’s innovations, the Midnight Zodiac Lumineux series, which offered a more masculine take on the zodiac theme. Here, electrical energy is harnessed once again to illuminate certain areas of the dial. For Van Cleef & Arpels, technique is only ever a way of telling a story. Consequently, the light here is also a narrative tool.

Read its future in the stars

Lady Arpels Zodiac Lumineux © Van Cleef & Arpels

Everything takes place on the dial, which sets the scene of the night sky. The backdrop of multi-layered enamel is speckled with metallic inclusions to represent the sparkle of distant stars. Each  sign of the zodiac is illustrated by a pictorial symbol, interpreted with the stylistic freedom characteristic of Van Cleef & Arpels and the company’s exquisite mastery of line, even when the design is created from minerals. Various techniques are used, including enamelling, precious and semi-precious stones, and gold engraving. The animal figures are distinctively framed within the dials and, over and above their superb technical execution, the result is particularly striking.

Read its future in the stars

Lady Arpels Zodiac Lumineux Scorpio © WorldTempus / David Chokron

And then there’s the light. The zodiac is a set of constellations, and Van Cleef & Arpels has added a realistic dimension to its narrative. The outline of each constellation is picked out on the dial in stars that light up on demand. The piezo-electric system in the calibre is activated via a pusher at 7 o’clock. A slight vibration indicates that the mechanism is working, and the sky lights up. The slender lines linking the stars of the constellation are not just graphical elements, they form part of the electrical circuit. As a bonus, the backs of the Poetic Astronomy watches feature decorative elements linked to the theme, in this case clouds, a moon and the outline of the constellation featured on the dial. True to form, Van Cleef & Arpels continues to make the most of watchmaking innovations and details to tell enchanting stories with breathtaking images.

Read its future in the stars

Case back view © Van Cleef & Arpels


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Each of Van Cleef & Arpels’ creations is imbued with jewelry and watchmaking excellence, drawing inspiration from whether nature, couture or the imagination. Its creations evoke a timeless world of harmony and beauty.

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