“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” – Confucius

Delicacy from SIHH 2013, Part 2

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Van Cleef and Arpels

The fairy-tale white-purple-pink world of the Van Cleef and Arpels stall fit beautifully with the watches that the brand showcased at the SIHH; flowers, butterflies, kites framed the beautiful timepieces on show. The elegant cream-coloured salon lent an intimate setting to the conversations.

When I was 6 years-old, I wanted to be a ballerina. So badly. I pestered my mother until she enrolled me in a ballet class. Of course I had no real talent or enough self-control for it and the pointe shoe is truly uncomfortable for the feet so I did not become a ballerina. However, I have had great respect and admiration for outstanding dancers, and their elegant, ethereal yet infinitely precise movement ever since.

I was reminded of all this upon seeing one of the latest Van Cleef and Arpels pieces. Claude and Louis Arpel were great fans of classical ballet, the ballerina and fairy figures appeared among the Maison’s motifs around World War II. American customers saw these delicate figures as symbols of hope and joy. The ballet dancer motif which has been iconic ever since now graces one of the Poetic Complication™ watches; the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée portrays a half-dancer, half-fairy figure in a guilloché background. The dancer’s figure is translucent with champlevé enamel and sculpted gold. The double retrograde mechanical movement with time on demand lends a poetic vision of time to this watch.

The words of the Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova also served as a source of inspiration for the Maison: “I’ve been dreaming that I was a ballerina and that I was spending my whole life dancing as lightly as a butterfly…

Charms Extraordinaire

The Van Cleef & Arpels Charms Extraordinaire series made its debut in 2008; a small good-luck charm hangs at the side of the watches. This year, four new limited-edition models have been added to the collection. On the Féérie Dandelion watch, a fairy blows at the dandelion’s “umbrella”; on the Muguet motif a fairy is seen with a butterfly among lily-of-the-valley flowers. The Lotus pattern symbolises enlightenment and inner peace, while the Hirondelles shows a pair of swallows among flowers. Each piece is a fantasy-filled miniature, made of gold, diamonds and pearls.

Extraordinary Dials™ novelties

One of the VCA’s popular motifs, the butterfly appears on this white gold watch, the dial is mother-of-pear framed with diamonds, the butterfly us created using marquetry and plique-à-jour enamel techniques. The movement is a hand-wound mechanical movement.

In February Van Cleef & Arpels opens a new boutique in Dubai where several novelties will be on display.


The articles of the series:
Delicacy from SIHH 2013, Part 1
Delicacy from SIHH 2013, Part 2
Delicacy from SIHH 2013, Part 3

Photo credits: Van Cleef & Arpels, Loupiosity.com.
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