Contemplating the vault of heaven, Van Cleef & Arpels dreamed of living in time with the cosmos: capturing the dance of the planets, tracing the constellations and reaping the stars, to live among them day after day. That dream has inspired precious watchmaking creations, in keeping with the Maison’s distinctive Poetry of Time®. Whether illuminating the twelve constellations of the Zodiac or reproducing the movement of the heavenly orbs, their virtuoso mechanisms bring all the magic of the universe to life on the wrist.
As part of Poetic Astronomy, Van Cleef & Arpels has revisited its Midnight PlanétariumTM watch to provide a feminine interpretation. Featuring both refined aesthetics and an automatic movement developed exclusively for the Maison, the Lady Arpels Planétarium watch depicts the Sun and its closest planets: Mercury, Venus and Earth – accompanied by its 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 major innovation, the Moon also rotates around the Earth on this piece, completing its orbit in 29.5 days and bringing the dial to life with its daily dance.
The choice of planets, imbued with feminine symbolism in the case of Venus and the Moon, is accompanied by the careful adaptation of the timepiece’s dimensions to a woman’s wrist. The Lady Arpels case – 38mm in diameter and set with diamonds on the sides of the case and bezel – houses a movement redesigned for this smaller size, with an exclusive module based on an idea from Christiaan van der Klaauw. The dial’s refined design combines the spectacle of the planets with that of a shooting star in rhodium-plated gold, indicating the time with poetic grace. On the back of the watch, two apertures display the day, month and year in the midst of enchanting decoration.
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 effect.
To recreate the awe-inspiring experience of stargazing, Van Cleef & Arpels has taken 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. The pink mother-of-pearl Mercury and turquoise Earth have been meticulously hand-cut in spherical shapes, while Venus is portrayed by a green enamel bead, fashioned at the Van Cleef & Arpels enamel workshops in Meyrin. The familiar glow of the Moon as it orbits the Earth is brought to life by a brilliant-cut diamond, which contrasts with the midnight blue background.
Evoking the depth of the cosmos, seven aventurine discs are placed in concentric circles on the dial, several rotating individually via the watch movement. The planets and shooting star thus move at their actual speeds through a sparkling environment.
The same shades are repeated on the back of the case, with the celestial bodies in their respective materials reappearing on an aventurine disc. At its center, the oscillating weight continues the journey with a precious depiction of the Moon: a turquoise circle embracing a crescent embellished with diamonds of varying diameters. The emotion conveyed by the final creation combines a plunge into the depths of the universe with the beauty of fine jewelry craftsmanship.
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