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Poetic Astronomy

On the occasion of SIHH 2018, Maison Van Cleef & Arpels has drawn on new sources of wonder between Heaven and Earth to reflect its distinctive Poetry of Time. Just as in childhood memories, everyone can lie down in the long grass and gaze up at the vast vault of the sky. Poetic Astronomy offers an invitation to plunge into the cosmos and observe the dance of the planets, presented in a precious setting. The gaze is drawn to the twelve constellations of the Zodiac, which light up thanks to a virtuoso mechanism.

The voyage continues from one time zone to another, from the starry night to the break of day, revealing the spectacle of nature bathed in sunlight. Within “Le Jardin Van Cleef & Arpels”, flowers shelter the time beneath precious petals, their corollas blooming against beds of pink sapphires. Secret and transformable watches combine the rhythm of the seasons with that of High Jewelry. Four-leaf clovers assume their place in the pastoral tableau, measuring the hours in a succession of Alhambra® motifs. Time slips peacefully by from one creation to the next, opening the gates of a world of dreams and harmony.

Four years after unveiling the Midnight Planetarium watch, Van Cleef & Arpels is restyling this iconic creation, offering an original women’s edition to enrich the universe of Poetic Astronomy. Distinguished both by re ned aesthetics and its automatic movement, developed exclusively for the Maison, the Lady Arpels Planetarium watch illustrates the Sun and the closest planets: Mercury, Venus and finally Earth, along with its natural 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 key innovation for this piece, the Moon itself rotates around the Earth in 29.5 days, performing a visible celestial ballet on the dial, day after day.

The choice of planets, imbued with feminine symbolism in the case of Venus and the Moon, goes hand in hand with craftsmanship to adapt the dimensions of the timepiece to a woman’s wrist. The Lady Arpels case, 38mm in diameter and set with diamonds in the bezel and sides of the case, houses a movement redesigned for this smaller size, with an exclusive module developed in collaboration with Christiaan van der Klaauw. The dial enriches the planetary spectacle with a shooting star in rhodium-plated gold, showing the time with poetic grace. On the back of the watch, two apertures display the day, month and year, all surrounded by an enchanting decor. 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 Jewelry design.

To recreate the awe-inspiring experience of stargazing, Van Cleef & Arpels took special care in selecting and working with the traditional materials of jewelry and watchmaking. Planets of differing volumes rotate around a Sun made of pink gold, gleaming in the center of the dial. A pink mother-of-pearl Mercury and a turquoise Earth were meticulously hand cut in spherical shapes, while Venus is portrayed with a green enamel bead, fashioned in the Van Cleef & Arpels enamel workshops in Meyrin, Switzerland. The familiar glow of the Moon as it orbits the Earth comes to life with a brilliant-cut diamond, contrasting with the midnight blue background. Evoking the depth of the cosmos, seven aventurine discs are placed in concentric circles within the dial, several rotating individually with the watch movement. The planets and the shooting star thus move at actual speed through their sparkling environment.

The back of the case displays the same shades, recalling the celestial bodies in their respective materials on an aventurine disc. The journey continues in the center with the oscillating weight adorned with a precious depiction of the Moon. A turquoise circle embraces a crescent embellished with diamonds of varying diameters, set using the serti neige style technique. The final creation stirs the emotions, offering both an immersion into the universe and the beauty of fine jewelry craftsmanship.