Van Cleef & Arpels pays homage to the craftsmanship of its ateliers at Watches and Wonders.

Jewellery, Top Stories

Van Cleef & Arpels pays homage to the craftsmanship of its ateliers at Watches and Wonders.

Van Cleef & Arpels, Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant for years committed to passing on and preserving artistic crafts, pays homage to the mastery of its ateliers on the occasion of the 2024 edition of Watches and Wonders.
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Van Cleef & Arpels, Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant for years committed to passing on and preserving artistic crafts, pays homage to the mastery of its ateliers on the occasion of the 2024 edition of Watches and Wonders. Combining tradition and innovation, the Maison’s excellent savoir-faire is an expression of the ingenuity of its artisans who master, refine and pass on sometimes centuries-old gestures. In order to develop new techniques in service of a distinctive vision of the passage of time, Van Cleef & Arpels draws on its sources of inspiration and heritage to inspire wonder.

Faithful to the vision of Temps Poétique that distinguishes it, Van Cleef & Arpels infuses the dimension of dream and emotion into watchmaking art. In the Complications Poétiques collection, the two new watches – Lady Jour Nuit and Lady Arpels Jour Nuit – invite you to contemplate the spectacle of the celestial vault. The journey continues in the garden of the Maison, with the new Lady Arpels Brise d’Été watch. Then, through an enchanted forest, the Lady Arpels Jour Enchanté and Lady Arpels Nuit Enchantée watches embellish the Cadrans Extraordinaires collection. Finally, according to the tradition of the Maison’s precious objects, two new automatons – Apparition des Baies and Bouton d’Or – complete this journey to discover savoir-faire, which by combining artistic craftsmanship with the search for movement, enchant the flow of hours.

ART CRAFTS A TRADITION OF VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

Van Cleef & Arpels has always expressed its connection with the values of creation, sharing and transmission. This continuous commitment translates into different educational-training activities and cultural patronage actions. From 2021, the Maison is also committed to the new generations and people in professional reconversion through the “de Mains en mains” initiative, whose objective is to spread the culture of jewelery and inspire new vocations, opening the doors of a still little known sector. In 2023, Van Cleef & Arpels provided its support to the Center d’Excellence de la Mécanique d’Art, reaffirming a particular attention to the protection of rare savoir-faire, such as that of the creator of automata. In Geneva, the Maison has brought together numerous artisans in one of its ateliers. Enamel, miniature painting, inlaying of precious and ornamental stones, engraving and sculpture are some of the specific savoir-faire of artistic professions, handed down and perfected in each creation. Painting a landscape, sculpting figures, materializing a ray of light… When decorating the dial of a watch, art craftsmen bring a story to life, demonstrating high precision. To validate the work of master watchmakers, Van Cleef & Arpels surrounds itself with craftsmen whose talent is the result of passion and time, as some processes require hundreds of hours. In the different creations, the emblematic savoir-faire of the Maison come together to infuse the timepieces with poetry and enchantment. In addition to centuries-old gestures, Van Cleef & Arpels stands out in the development of innovative enamelling techniques – such as façonné enamel or setting on enamel – which allow the creation of highly lively decorative elements.

 

THE COMPLICATIONS POÉTIQUES COLLECTION
In the Complications Poétiques collection, the watchmaking mastery developed by Van Cleef & Arpels is combined with precious materials and traditional savoir-faire, to give life to a story that animates the dial. Thus, rotating discs or butterflies reveal the passage of time during a walk in a flower garden or contemplating the stars. In addition to the technical aspect, these mechanisms of excellence offer precious moments of emotion that reflect the imagery of the Maison.

 

LADY ARPELS JOUR NUIT AND LADY JOUR NUIT WATCHES
Fascinated by the spectacle of the stars, Van Cleef & Arpels presents two new interpretations of the Lady Arpels Jour Nuit watch – one with a 33mm case and one with a 38mm case –, launched in 2008, which required three years of development. Studded with diamonds, the Moon and the stars incessantly chase the Sun, embellished with yellow sapphires set in snow or guilloche yellow gold. Featuring a 24-hour rotating disc, the dial rotates at an almost imperceptible pace. Thanks to the depth effect generated by Murano aventurine glass, these creations evoke the immensity of space and the magic of a starry night. An authentic technical feat, the aventurine glass is finely perforated to accommodate the stars in white gold and set with diamonds. The mother-of-pearl coifs – white for the 38 mm case and painted blue for the 33 mm case – present a guilloché effect. The two models depict the horizon line behind which the poetry of the cosmos flows. The back of the case and the oscillating weight are covered in sapphire crystal and embellished with a bright starry sky. Decorated using the enamel decal technique, they reveal a protective fairy contemplating the magical dance of the planets.

 

LADY ARPELS BRISE D’ÉTÉ WATCH
In homage to nature, which has inspired the Maison since its origins, the Lady Arpels Brise d’Été watch recalls the freshness of a summer morning. This new creation makes the flowers of Van Cleef & Arpels’ garden blossom. Two butterflies in white and yellow gold, decorated in plique-à-jour enamel, indicate the time and hover in flight, thanks to a module with activation on request, also giving liveliness to the flowers and their stems. Made of Vallonné enamel, the blue-tinged corollas are embellished with pessartite garnet pistils. Emphasized by the opalescence of mother-of-pearl, the dial reveals a poetic scene, in which foreground and background merge into lush vegetation.

The flowers, decorated with leaves in champlevé enamel and blades of grass in tsavorite garnets and plique-à-jour enamel, are supported by stems to which the three-dimensional miniature painting gives an effect of depth. This bucolic landscape offers a vision of the Temps Poétique in which the hours pass at the constant rhythm of nature’s cycle.

THE CADRANS EXTRAORDINAIRES COLLECTION
The Cadrans Extraordinaires collection combines artistic crafts with the jewelery and watchmaking skills of the Maison to represent its enchanting universe. Whether they tell a love story or celebrate a generous nature, the creations interpret the measurement of time as an invitation to the imagination. Lady Arpels Jour Enchanté and Lady Arpels Nuit Enchantée, two new limited and numbered edition watches – imagined as miniature works of art – embellish the collection. These creations combine technical virtuosity and the poetry of images. Inside a 41 mm case, these three-dimensional representations come to life through games of perspective that pay homage to an Enchanted Nature.

 

LADY ARPELS JOUR ENCHANTÉ WATCH
With this creation, the Maison depicts a graceful silhouette intent on picking flowers under the first rays of the sun. The light passes through the generous leaves in white gold, plique-à-jour enamel and diamonds, which conceal a field of flowers in iridescent colours. Set with yellow sapphires, they are made in relief, thanks to a technique developed by Van Cleef & Arpels: façonné enamel. This technique gives the illusion of an endless flowering meadow. Carefully handcrafted, the female figure in white gold unfolds its iridescent and sparkling plique-à-jour enamel wings, which reveal all their transparency in the light of day. In the background, the sun stands out against a sky in three shades of turquoise and shines illuminated by precious stones: Spessartite garnets, colored sapphires and diamonds. The rays are created thanks to a suspended setting, an innovative technique thanks to which the stones appear to float, without a visible support, like drops of dew. The narrative continues on the reverse of the case, through the engraved decoration, which depicts the fairy hovering in the air. Two years of development and 180 hours of work went into assembling this dial, which reveals the mastery of Van Cleef & Arpels.

 

LADY ARPELS NUIT ENCHANTÉE WATCH
On a flowery meadow in the moonlight, a fairy with a graceful silhouette rests in a cave of shining crystals. Fancy cut sapphires, with pink and purple shades, as if carved into the rock, give a feeling of protection and serenity. Cradled by the moon and stars, which illuminate the sky thanks to the sparkling grisaille enamel technique, the white gold fairy shines. Made of plique-à-jour enamel with a speckled and iridescent effect, its wings emphasize the silhouette of this female figure, which symbolizes the beauty and strength of nature. Flowers, set with yellow sapphires, are modeled in façonné enamel.

A rock crystal, embellished with rose gold hour markers, completes this mysterious picture, revealing the mastery of ornamental stone carving. The wealth of details creates a surprising whole. This magical tale continues on the reverse of the case, through different relief engraving and polishing techniques that portray the fairy fascinated by the spectacle of the celestial stars.

THE OBJETS EXTRAORDINAIRES COLLECTION
Renowned for its savoir-faire, Van Cleef & Arpels has also distinguished itself, since its foundation in 1906, in the creation of precious objects that arouse admiration and amazement. These decorative elements or beauty accessories reveal the spirit of the time and the craftsmanship of the Maison. Remarkable for their combination of materials, these creations foster a dialogue at the crossroads between jewellery, watchmaking and artistic crafts. Each automaton is an invitation to a journey into the heart of the poetic imagination of Van Cleef & Arpels. The design, introduced in 2022 with the Automate Rêveries de Berylline and reinterpreted in 2023 with Floraison du Nénuphar and Éveil du Cyclamen, offers enchanting new visions this year.

The Maison unveils two new automatons, inspired by moving nature and flora. The Automate Apparition des Baies and Bouton d’Or pay homage to the wonders of flora and fauna, giving life to a fantastic universe, which infuses a distinctive dimension to the Temps Poétique dear to Van Cleef & Arpels. About a foot tall, these tabletop objects are made in collaboration with François Junod, an automata maker in Sainte-Croix, Switzerland. Upon request they reproduce the opening of a bouquet, which reveals a winged creature or a fairy with the grace of a ballerina. Stone craftsmen, enamellers, engravers and setters use ancestral skills to embellish these timepieces. Finally, each automaton emits a specially composed crystalline melody.

AUTOMATE APPARITION DES BAIES

Folded back on themselves, the lacquered rose gold leaves of the Automate Apparition des Baies form a vegetal dome that contains a secret. Like a delicate flowering, the bouquet gradually opens, revealing a little bird in white gold, diamonds and sapphires, whose wings unfold with realism. After taking flight, the creature finds refuge in the center of the object, which closes its leaves gently.

A new rotary movement for opening and closing the bouquet was developed internally at the Van Cleef & Arpels Ateliers, then assembled to the mechanism created by François Junod. This structure is made up of one hundred and twelve leaves, overlapping and intertwined to create a three-dimensional effect.

AUTOMATE BOUTON D’OR

Inspired by the Maison’s rich heritage, the Automate Bouton d’Or pays homage to the jewelery collection of the same name, reinterpreting the sinuous curves of the “sequin” motif, created by Van Cleef & Arpels in the mid-1930s. Concave or convex, the sequins inspired by the sequins used in fashion multiply to give life to figurative creations, such as a shining gold bouquet, delicately held by a ribbon. The pink shades of the thulite base match the tender purple shades of the cyaroite cup. In a union between tradition and modernity, this new creation presents a joyful harmony of materials. According to the tradition of precious objects, the creation comes alive, revealing a scene full of vitality.

A fairy, with a rose-cut diamond face and embellished with a diamond hairstyle, wears a sparkling blue lacquered rose gold dress and twirls to the rhythm of an enchanted dance on a flowery meadow. She hovers in the air with the flapping of her plique-à-jour enamel wings, gently holding a briolette-cut sapphire between her fingers.

 

The result of extensive research and inspired by the mechanism of the Automate Rêveries de Berylline, the Automate Bouton d’Or required a high level of precision and technical skill. In addition to the hand finishing work of the numerous gold elements, various polishing phases were necessary, which were particularly delicate due to the concave shape of the sequins. The goldsmith enhances the shine of the precious metal, while scrupulously preserving the shape of the motif. Lacquered with an airbrush and finished with a brush to revive the brilliance of their colours, 684 elements were applied by hand onto thin stems.

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