• Tue
  • Jul 22, 2014
  • Updated: 6:02pm

Midnight romance in Paris

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2012, 12:00am

Novels tell a story in days and movies bring a story to life in several hours. However, for those impatient to know the ending, watches - like poetry - tell the tale in just a few minutes.

'People who own our timepieces are watch collectors who love stories. There are many objects that indicate time, such as mobile phones, but timepieces can give you more than time. They can give you emotions,' says Jean Bienayme, international marketing and communications director at Van Cleef & Arpels.

The brand's two new poetic complications - the Lady Arpels Poetic Wish and the Midnight Poetic Wish - come together to tell a love story starring a young couple in Paris, a city where people can't resist falling in love. 'It is important that a watch brand has vision, positivity and creativity because they work in all countries. There is no specific inspiration coming from one single country for Van Cleef & Arpels. We use symbols of happiness and positivity for our watches. The dial of the Lady Arpels Poetic Wish features a kite, which is a symbol of wish-making all over the world,' Bienayme says.

The Lady Arpels Poetic Wish shows a girl standing on the Eiffel Tower and wishing that she will meet her lover again. The Midnight Poetic Wish depicts her lover wishing on the towers of the Notre Dame Cathedral that he will meet her again. The shooting star, which is a symbol of luck, makes their wish come true. The dial of the Lady Arpels Poetic Wish features cloud motifs carved out of mother of pearl and the River Seine. It also features a kite, which carries the young lady's wish to the towers of the Notre Dame Cathedral. The watch case is in white gold set with diamonds and the bracelet is made of pearl grey moir? silk and calfskin leather.

The dial of the Midnight Poetic Wish features a diamond shooting star, which carries the man's wish to the Eiffel Tower, where the woman is making the same wish of reuniting with her lover. The shooting star indicates the minutes and is set with a diamond. The watch case is in white gold and the bracelet is made of alligator skin and calf suede.

Both timepieces contain the Poetic Wish movement, which has 60 hours of power reserve. The movement features a five-minute repeater mechanism that strikes the hours and the number at five-minute periods following the hour. The hammers of the repeater hit the bells at the crystal caseback, which reveals the movement and two display dials. The five-minute repeater mechanism has a high tone for the minutes and a low tone for the hours.

The timepieces come with a box telling the story of the two Parisian lovers. When the boxes are placed together, the lovers' prayer is answered - they are together again, with the Eiffel Tower, the towers of the Notre Dame Cathedral and the shooting star as their witnesses.

The watches' predecessor is the 2010 Pont des Amoureux watch, featuring the same couple walking towards each other on a bridge on the River Seine. The romantic scene culminated with a kiss at midnight.

In 2007, Van Cleef & Arpels presented a poetic complication, the Lady Arpels Feerie watch, which displays a diamond fairy showing the minutes with the tip of her wings and the hours with her wand, which granted a baby girl's wish of joy and love. The baby girl later became the leading lady of the Lady Arpels Poetic Wish timepiece.

Van Cleef & Arpels also launched the ultra-thin Pierre Arpels watch at SIHH this year in memory of the late Pierre Arpels. 'We redesigned the masculine watch created by Pierre Arpels for himself in 1949. In the design process, we took into consideration his identities - he was a businessman, a sportsman and an elegant and refined personality,' Bienayme says.

Paying homage to its 1949 predecessor, the Pierre Arpels watch sports the same ultra-thin and rounded attachment at the top and bottom. The bracelet is still made of patent black alligator skin. The dial remains in white lacquer, but the timepiece gets a revamp with a dial whose centre is embellished with a motif showing the honeycomb pattern of a black-tie shirtfront and the Van Cleef & Arpels hallmark.

Housed in a round case, the watch is adorned with Roman numerals indicating the hours. A mechanical manual winding watch, the Pierre Arpels has a Piaget 830 P movement and comes in two sizes, 38mm or 42mm in white or pink gold. The crown is set with a single diamond. The watch also has a diamond version with the bezel set with diamonds.

Van Cleef & Arpels' new High Watchmaking collection, Bals de Legende, comprises four timepieces inspired by famous balls from the 20th century. The Bal du Palais d'Hiver is a tribute to the ball Tsarina Alexandra held in Saint Petersburg in Russia at the royal courtyard of the Winter Palace. Housed in a 38mm pink gold case and a bezel set with round diamonds, the timepiece has mother-of-pearl marquetry and gold sculpting for the characters. The watch comes with a pink gold diamond pav?d buckle alligator strap and the poetic complication Automatic 24 B movement.

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