Van Cleef & Arpels has initiated in 2006 a new category of watches, called « Complications Poétiques ». For the brand, it was a way to explore new ways to tell the time and associate a complication with it. The mission was to seduce women with fine watchmaking, but without the standard proposition based upon tourbillons or QP – in a nutshell, upon technics. With the Complications Poétiques, Van Cleef & Arpels completely hides the technical aspects of the caliber, in order to focus on the story told. 8 years later, Van Cleef & Arpels opens a new chapter of this success story : Astronomie Poétique.
These complicated pieces remain an exception in the watch industry. There is no other brand that have been able to reach the same success. It’s due to the fact that Van Cleef & Arpels is a jeweller, which has teamed up with a master of complications, Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, founder of Agenhor, for the calibers as such.
However, today, a new partner joined the brand, M. van der Klaauw. Why ? Because this man is a master of one specific complication : planetariums. It’s a very high level exepertise, quite rare in the industry. François-Paul Journe created such a planetarium in his early days, Richard Mille as well.
In fact, it’s very technical but also poetic, that’s what seduced Van Cleef & Arpels. Much in vogue in the 18th century, these objects provided a three-dimensional representation of the solar system and the movement of the planets around the sun. Ancestors of modern planetariums, they were animated by hand or using clockwork mechanisms of great complexity.
Today, Van Cleef & Arpels revisits this idea in the light of its own poetic imagination: the Midnight Planétarium timepiece offers a means of immortalizing one’s own lucky day in the universe, while admiring the course of the planets.
Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium – Time and the Astral bodies
This new Poetic Complication timepiece provides a miniature representation of the movement of six planets around the sun and their position at any given time. Earth and Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – all visible from Earth with the naked eye – are set in motion thanks to a self-winding mechanical movement of great complexity: equipped with an exclusive module developed in partnership with the Maison Christiaan van der Klaauw, it contains 396 separate parts. The movement of each planet is true to its genuine length of orbit: it will take Saturn over 29 years to make a complete circuit of the dial, while Jupiter will take almost 12 years, Mars 687 days, Earth 365 days, Venus 224 days and Mercury 88 days.
Telling the time is a simple question of observing the shooting star, a cherished lucky motif for Van Cleef & Arpels. Located at the outer edge of the dial, it completes its circuit in 24 hours. The story continues on the back of the watch, where the oscillating weight is engraved with a starry composition. The day, month and year can be set using two push buttons and viewed through two apertures on the dial.
These various functions are accompanied by a poetic invitation to celebrate one’s own lucky day. Using a rotating bezel, the watch’s owner can select the day of his choice by positioning a red triangle against a graduated calendar. On that date, the Earth will move to a position directly below the star engraved on the sapphire crystal, as a sign of good luck.