What’s in a watch? For innovative high jewellery maison Van Cleef & Arpels, the making of a time piece is more than in its ability to measure minuets. It’s an art form, which the French jewellery label have been perfecting since 1923 when the label debuted its first ever wrist watch.
Now, almost a century since the ‘secret’ creation—a platinum and diamond creation—was unveiled, the brand have been recognised for their innovation and dedication the premium time pieces at the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
Held at the Théâtre du Léman in Geneva, Van Cleef & Arpels walked home with not one, but two distinguished awards.
The first was the Innovation Award for their (quite literally) decorated Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier watch. Not for the faint of heart, this 18k Rose Gold work of art comprises of diamond, Mother-of-pearl and Sapphire. Oh, and retails for $412,000 AUD.
Recognised for “the best competing timepiece offering an innovative vision of time measurement and/or opening up new development pathways for the watchmaking art”, Van Cleef & Arpels’ watch heralds craftsmanship and artistic savoir-faire that “come together to create a poetic scene”.
Like any Van Cleef & Arpels watch, the medium for telling time is anything but conventional. In this piece, perfectly crafted pink flowers open automatically upon the hour to reveal an array of jewelled flowers.
“When we work on watchmaking projects, our goal is to use mechanisms to capture the poetry of the passage of time. And what could be more poetic than measuring time with the opening and closing of flowers?” explains Van Cleef & Arpels CEO and President Nicolas Bos in a press release.
Further cementing the label’s astute inspiration of nature, the floral motifs are set amongst a backdrop of blue butterflies and branches, serving as a sartorial and enchanting escape.
The second award was the Mechanical Clock Prize.
Comprising of premium materials including white gold, yellow gold, sapphires, emerald, tsavorite garnets, turqiouse and diamonds (oh my!), the Fontaine aux Oiseaux is truly a site to behold.
Literally translating to “Bird Fountain”, the clock accumulates with an animatronic scene brining the creation to live.
The birds perched on the edge of the fountain chirp and arise to start what the maison describes as a “courtship display”. Their bird song sings out across the rippling water where you can see the water lily bloom and the dragonfly flap its wings.
While this scene only takes a minuet, over 25,200 hours were dedicated to the creation of this clock. A real one of a kind gem.
It’s clear that with Van Cleef & Arpels watches and clocks that time is not linear: it’s innovative.