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Van Cleef & Arpels - Fairy tales

Van Cleef & Arpels Fairy tales

Van Cleef & Arpels’ Poetic Complication™ watches are a feast for the senses and an invitation to dream. Over and above their technical and aesthetic accomplishments, these timepieces convey a new way of looking at time.

The Poetic Complications™, with their whimsical accents and sparkling creativity, promote a new appreciation of Haute Horlogerie, as the subtle rigour of the movements and their complications is tempered by the creative virtuosity of the company ateliers. Each timepiece provides a unique example of narrative watchmaking. Each creation tells a story, making the emotional response more important than the precise measuring of time. Technical prowess is subordinate to the fairy-tale scenario brought to life on the dial.


This year at the SIHH, Van Cleef & Arpels celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Poetic Complications™ with a new series of wonderfully poetic models. One of them was the Lady Arpels Jour Nuit Fée Ondine.

Inspired by the high jewellery Fée Ondine brooch created by the house in 2005, this timepiece tells the story of a water nymph, sitting on a lily pad in a limpid pool. The enchanting scene is brought to life by a self-winding automatic movement with a 24-hour module developed exclusively for Van Cleef & Arpels. Thanks to the dial’s revolving disc, which performs one complete rotation every 24 hours, the scene is illuminated by the sun from dawn to dusk, when it sinks below the horizon to be replaced by a full moon in the night sky.

...and savoir-faire

The dial of the Lady Arpels Jour Nuit Fée Ondine with its exquisite detailing combines techniques from several artistic crafts, specially selected to bring to life the individual elements of the water nymph fable. The piece is a distillation of superb craftsmanship, deftly combining gem-setting, miniature painting, champlevé enamel and plique-à-jour enamel. Tsavorite garnets, pink sapphires and spessartite garnets highlight the petals and pistils, as well as the leaf on which the fairy Ondine is perched – which is carved from gold with a rose-cut diamond – while the champlevé enamel enhances the delicate gem-setting. The plique-à-jour enamelling, executed with translucent enamels, perfectly renders the filmy texture of the water. The transparent layering provides a glimpse of the fairy’s leg as it dips into the waves, and the moon’s reflection as it travels under the water. The miniature-painting adds depth to the play of light and shadow. These techniques, skilfully combined, give the dial its wealth of detail and texture.

Click on the large image at the top of the page for a comprehensive photo galery.



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