It had enchanted the visitors of the SIHH last January: bringing together the jewelry and watchmaking traditions, the Automate Fée Ondine marks a new chapter for van Cleef & Arpels, in keeping with precious objects such as carriage and table clocks.
In keeping with the design language of the remainder of the group, “T-Bar” lugs are fitted on top and bottom of this case, where a full grain black alligator strap is affixed. The front crystal and display back are made from sapphire, the latter supplying view to the slender and impressive movement, which also includes piqué detailing into the Cable in blue. Despite its slim dimensions and “T-Bar” lugs (which are known to be flimsy in other programs), the white gold instance has a notable amount of heft, lending itself well to real-world use. While the timepiece obviously sits on the “dress watch” end of this spectrum, I would absolutely traveling with it around the wrist – provided I had been in the First Class cabin.The watch is surprisingly comfortable on the wrist, with its heft reminding you of its existence as it tucks out from underneath your cuff. Admittedly, my experience with white gold has been less than fantastic. Since the softest precious metal, white gold doesn’t hold up to any type of abuse nicely, so my preference here is for platinum. No matter with a fantastic design that pairs a fantastic size with hallmark historical design traits, this is not the type of dress watch you forget you are wearing, and in my book it’s a winner.
The highly complex mechanism – which animates various elements and also tells the time – gives pride of place to an ephemeral poetry
Important new developments will be part of the 28th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), taking place January 15th to 19th 2018. For the third consecutive year this major event will be ringing the changes, ready to welcome prestigious exhibitors. The central aisles are extended for the arrival of Hermès, while a bigger Carré des Horlogers makes room for DeWitt, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud and Romain Gauthier: SIHH is expanding on a par with its international renown. These new arrivals bring the total number of exhibitors to 34, with 18 Historic Maisons and 16 Carré des Horlogers brands, all dedicated to achieving excellence in the measurement of time.
Since the creation of the Ladies’ High-Mech category in 2013, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève has crowned three winners featuring an animated and poetical time display, as well as last year’s more traditional laureate with its Tourbillon with Golden Bridge.
This year, the six shortlisted candidates include two traditional models with classic moon phase displays showcasing astronomical precision and, at the other end of the spectrum, two poetic complications. Occupying the middle ground are a supremely feminine tourbillon and another model marrying mechanical mastery with floral motifs, both equally capable of winning over the jury.
Bovet – Château de Môtiers 40
As it gears up to celebrate its 195th anniversary, Bovet presents an innovative technique combining traditional miniature painting with the application of thin layers of luminescent material. The result is a design that is visible by both day and night. The technique suggests many creative possibilities, such as the ability to show two different designs for night and day.
The white mother-of-pearl dial of the Château de Môtiers 40 features a hand-painted butterfly in a stunning cameo of greens and blues. As the light fades, the butterfly’s wings start to glow, producing a magical visual effect. The self-winding watch comes in a 40 mm diameter red gold case with an alligator strap. Bovet will be revealing more creations using the same innovative technique.
Secret watches – a much-loved tradition at Van Cleef & Arpels – here encounter the world of couture that the Maison has interpreted since the 1920s. Two new, highly flexible creations reinterpret the fluidity of a ribbon, gracefully circling the wrist. Crowned with a glittering bow – which opens to show the dial – they hide or reveal the time in keeping with their wearer’s mood.
While one, in white gold, is adorned with round diamonds from its dial to the bracelet, the other – in pink gold – is embellished with a harmonious gradation of pink sapphires and diamonds.
GPHG 2017 >
Today 8 November 2017, in Geneva, the jury of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève has awarded the following prizes:
• Aiguille d’Or Grand Prix
Chopard, L.U.C Full Strike
• Ladies’ Watch Prize
Chanel, Première Camélia Skeleton
• Ladies’ High-Mech Watch Prize
Van Cleef & Arpels, Lady Arpels Papillon Automate
• Men’s Watch Prize
Bvlgari, Octo Finissimo Automatic
Within an opinion shared by most, Van Cleef & Arpels are a master of the art, making jewelry items and women timepieces which are… well, art. Their diamond configurations and ornately decorated enamel dials are just stunning, and have at times made me jealous they aren’t created for guys. (For evidence of this, Google image search my name and search for a picture of Ariel and I sporting a set of Ladies Zodiac watches, it won’t be hard to find!) With the Van Cleef & Arpels Heure d’Ici & Heure d’Ailleurs, the newest introduces a brand new spin on timepieces for men to great affect. At $39,200, the timepiece comes in at almost twice the cost of the average Pierre Arpels model, but the extra cost is without question warranted by its own enhanced complication and remarkable, simultaneous, immediately skipping hour displays.With this real mechanical credibility paired with historically motivated mid-century design and just the right amount of luxury, it’s a conversation piece for sure, and while it would stand out in my group since an oddball, I think I might be just fine with that.In other words, although the bulk of the Pierre Arpels collection might be geared for its well-heeled fashionable gentleman, the Van Cleef & Arpels Heure d’Ici & Heure d’Ailleurs is a timepiece designed for the horology enthusiast. A welcome surprise in the world of Korean luxury.
For Van Cleef & Arpels, time is not just measured in hours, minutes, or seconds. Time guides us poetically through the change of seasons, the constellations…
Offered in 18k white or pink gold, the 42mm wide round case of this Pierre Arpels watch is agreeably lovely. It is not super exceptional, nor is it attempting to be. What’s unique is the single lateral aid for the strap as applied to some men’s watch. Instead of having two lugs, one support retains the bar that’s attached to the strap. Again, this is not at all common to find in men’s watches. Does this work? That is not easy to say. I happen to find these types of single lugs interesting, but would not want to put on them in anything but the most appropriate of outfits. It doesn’t feel like something which works for casual or even business apparel. If you are wearing formal celebratory clothing such as a tuxedo, then I think as a man you could pull this off.So eventually I get to discuss what is new about this watch – the necklace. Already available on a thin black alligator strap, Van Cleef & Arpels now provides a rather interesting mesh metal bracelet which merits some discussion. Mesh metal bracelets are creating a small comeback. Once average on diver’s watches, you can find mesh alloy (aka Milanese) bracelets on a range of timepieces. The IWC Portofino such as offers these as an alternative. Though the mesh metallic bracelet around the Pierre Arpels is exceptional.
The luxury jewelery house, established in 1906, has integrated an extensive digital presence into its strategy.
Van Cleef & Arpels is active on most of the main social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Flipboard, Pinterest and Linkedin.
Through their presence on Wechat, the main social media platform in China, the brand also wants to improve its awareness in Asia (600 million members).
The brand lovers all around the world are able to interact with the brand and also to shop online.
One of the stars of the last SIHH was neither a watch, a watchmaker nor a celebrity ambassador. It was a fairy. The Fée Ondine by Van Cleef & Arpels dispensed with all the usual superlatives of the Salon: it wasn’t the most beautiful, the most poetic or the most technical – it was simply… unique. An island of whimsy in an ocean of complications, a purely creative exercise in a deluge of new launches, a timeless object amid the watches du jour. Why did Van Cleef & Arpels make the Fée Ondine? No reason. Simply because it is beautiful. Because Van Cleef & Arpels is one of the last maisons prepared to make beautiful things, just to delight its clients.
Architecture and Girard-Perregaux
The imposing Planetarium adopts a cosmic architecture in presenting – alongside the hours and minutes display – three cleverly crafted complications. The in-house tri-axial tourbillon, developed in 2014, performs its rotations in a lyre-shaped carriage, beneath a sapphire crystal dome. A second dome tops a globe motif miniature painted according to a depiction of the world in 1791, when the brand was founded. It turns in 24 hours, indicating on the dial side the zones where it is daytime, and on the back those where it is night-time. The third member of this trio is a high-precision moon phase based on 17th century cartography, after the invention of telescopes. The case provides a side view of the movement, while the back reveals a blackened mainplate enhanced by the emblematic Girard-Perregaux gold bridges.