Where the jeweller's art shines through

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 May, 2007, 12:00am

Nature, Shakespeare and sheer enchantment - not to mention exquisite femininity - are all evoked in the brand's brilliant new line

It would be a rare woman who would not fall in love with at least one piece in Van Cleef & Arpels' engaging jewellery and watch collections. The feminine designs come in such enchanting forms as floral bouquets, butterflies, ballerinas and fairies.

For more than a century the brand has captivated watch buyers with the sheer creativity and fine craftsmanship demonstrated in its timepieces.

Much of the success of Van Cleef & Arpels timepieces comes from the brand's applying its excellence in jewellery making to its watches.

This year, as the brand enters its second century of distinguished watchmaking, Van Cleef & Arpels' presents yet another outstanding new collection, complete with technical and aesthetic innovations.

The Fleurette is a recurring motif in Van Cleef & Arpels' pieces, and a constant source of inspiration.

Whether used singly or combined (as with the brand's Snowflake theme), the Fleurette impresses with its brilliance and glamour, not to mention sharp purity.

In the Lady Arpels Saisons collection, a highly complex movement makes a disc rotate, almost imperceptibly, through a 365-day cycle.

Each day reveals a new landscape, a feat made possible by a mechanical Swiss movement developed and assembled in Geneva.

The Lady Arpels Saisons Folie de Pres was inspired by the Midsummer Night's Dream collection. Evoking Shakespeare's tale of magic and other-worldly enchantment, fairies dance on the watch's dial.

Each blithe spirit evokes one of the four seasons, and they are joined by a garland of sparkling wild flowers.

The hand-enamelled dial rotates over a cycle of 365 days, appearing out of a cloud of natural white mother-of-pearl.

The Classique watches - in round, rectangular and tonneau shapes - contain a central attachment invented in 1949 by Pierre Arpels, son of one of the company founders.

These ultra-feminine timepieces, with their clean and simple lines, and distinctive watch dials, exemplify the craftsmanship of a dedicated jeweller.

What sets the Lady Arpels collection apart is the contrast between a timeless case and the richly adorned dial.

The brand's finest characteristics are found in these exceptional pieces.

The dial of the Lady Arpels Papillon watch bears a butterfly, one of the house icons.

From the outset, the butterfly has served the brand as a symbol of a happy, carefree natural world, exemplifying lightness and delicacy of movement, qualities that Van Cleef & Arpels has always prized.

Two types of natural mother-of-pearl are used in the dial: brushed mother-of-pearl for the background, and polished mother-of-pearl for the butterfly's wings.

The delicacy of the new watch dial has strong appeal to women who cherish glamour and femininity.

Haute couture and high quality jewellery are evoked in the Decollete line, in which a white gold-and-diamond ribbon is tied round the dial.

Time is kept a secret in the intriguing Secret Etincelles and Tuileries XL watches. A light tug on one of the motifs causes a little drawer to open and display a white mother-of-pearl dial.

In its tourbillon collection, the brand combines an extraordinary complication with dials unique in terms of materials and techniques used. The motifs revolve around nature. The latest tourbillon timepieces bear a peacock and a hummingbird against an idyllic landscape.

The tourbillon is a complex mechanism that protects the escapement in a watch from the vagaries of gravity, whenever the watch changes position on the wrist (or in some cases inside the pocket) of the wearer, thus ensuring precise and accurate timekeeping.