In 2014 Van Cleef & Arpels launched the stunning Midnight Planétarium Poetic Complication, made in collaboration with astronomical watch specialist Christiaan van der Klaauw. A miniature representation of the movement of Earth, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn around the sun and their position at any given time, even now it is one of the most attractive watches I’ve had the pleasure to see.
At the SIHH 2018, they followed it up with a female-targeted version (although obviously, the original was for anyone with the inclination and means to have one) in the form of the Lady Arpels Planétarium, which not only had the addition of precious stones (38mm white gold diamond-set case with diamonds in the bezel in the crown), but was a ‘reduced’ version, with just the sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Earth’s moon depicted as a diamond.
This year, the new Planétarium High Jewelry Timepiece is added to their Poetry of Time theme, in their new ‘High Jewelry Sous Les Étoiles’ (‘under the stars’) collection.
The watch itself is functionally familiar (and this time in a white gold case but also with the use of yellow and rose gold) but the ‘surrounds’ are not – this is as much about stone-setting and being a jewellery piece as it is about being a watch, with an ornate bracelet entirely set with precious stones.
What stones, I hear you ask? Brace yourselves – along with the use of enamel, aventurine, diamonds, and pink mother-of-pearl, there are blue sapphires, black spinels, turquoise, spessartite garnets, and coloured sapphires.
Inside is the same automatic movement as the earlier model, that developed with the assistance of van der Klaauw. It beats at 28,800 VPH and has a power reserve of 40 hours.
If you’re wondering, it requires some 1,370 hours of work to assemble one.
As mentioned, this new piece forms a part of Van Cleef & Arpels’ new thematic collection called ‘Sous les étoiles’. It consists of 150 (most not watch-related) pieces, all of which have some relationship to the spirit of collection’s name, although this piece is, perhaps, the most literally rather than metaphorically, so.
[Photo credit: Van Cleef & Arpels]