The main difference between Van Cleef & Arpels and other watch replica maisons, lies in the unique and extremely elegant technique that the French brand would use to craft its timepieces, by mingling together superb mechanic complications and the most refined decorations that are typical of high-jewelry. This collection is called “ Poetic Complications ” and it represents the legacy of a brand, whose first creations were born in 1895 when Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef decided to join forces. In the last century and an half, the jewelry and horlogerie masterpieces of these two artists have been worn by kings, princes, politicians and nobles from all over the world.
The ultimate proof that this brand is well capable of creating exceptional complications, many of which can be found displayed behind the windows of the Van Cleef & Arpels boutique located in Via Montenapoleone in Milan that we visited on its official opening day, is the launch of the Van Cleef & Arpels Ronde des Papillons Poetic Complications .
This timepiece is the first item to be released in a series of novelties that Van Cleef will officially present at the upcoming SIHH 2016 and it also the 28 th creation belonging to the Poetic Complications collection. The automatic caliber of the Van Cleef & Arpels Ronde des Papillons Poetic Complications is hosted within a white gold case measuring 38mm and sporting a bezel that is studded with diamonds (there is an additional precious stone inserted within the crown). The caliber ensures up to 42 hours of power reserve that is needed to view the retrograde hour and the minutes that are displayed on three rings and also to activate a special mechanism that makes the dial the central stage of a poetic animation where the different part of the dial which are made of mother-of-pearl and are hand-painted with various hues of colour and gold engravings play the role of the main character.
On the Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Ronde des Papillons Poetic Complications , a swallow painted in black , blue and white colour flies towards a sector of the dial located at 6 o’clock to mark the retrograde hour with its left wing. The multi-level dial also sports butterflies that twirl around to mark the passing of minutes. The whole trajectory is divided between three rings; each one of them is covered by a single butterfly that moves from one side of the sector to the other and then disappears between the clouds at the end of the flying cycle by passing the baton to the next butterfly. The final result of this complication has been achieved through the creation of a connected set of rotating gears that can cover the three different trajectories by either speeding up or slowing down the pace of each butterfly’s flight so that the duration of the whole cycle doesn’t exceed the 60-minute-time-frame. There is also an additional “ on-demand ” complication that can be activated by pressing a button located at 4 o’clock; within a 13-second-time-frame , a swarm of butterflies twirls around the dial and then slowly goes back to where it came from. At the end of this flying cycle, the minutes go back to the current position. Stay tuned as we will get our hands on this beauty next January in Geneva where we will be lucky enough to see its mechanism in action.