What’s Hot At Watches & Wonders 2024: Van Cleef & Arpels Adds Poetic Complications Watches And Bewitching Automatons

For Watches & Wonders 2024, Van Cleef & Arpels adds Poetic Complications watches and presents nature-inspired automatons

Van Cleef & Arpels’ presentation this year is dedicated to the expertise of its workshops and the savoir-faire that the maison has accumulated over its hundred-year history, and based on enduring themes of nature, fairies and the romance of the passage of time. 

Of course there are new automatons: Apparition des Baies and Bouton d’Or, part of the Extraordinary Objects collection. These automatons bring together the best of jewellery craftsmanship, watchmaking and metiers d’art, and are both inspired by flowers and how nature is constantly in motion. The 30cm-tall musical table clocks were created in collaboration with the Swiss automaton maker François Junod, and demonstrate extraordinary finesse in techniques such as enameling, engraving, gem-setting.

The Apparition des Baies depicts a bird made from white gold, sapphires and diamonds hidden within verdant lacquered leaves, while the Bouton d’Or, designed in tribute to the maison’s eponymous jewellery collection, features a fairy with a rose-cut diamond for a face ensconced by fronds of paillettes, or small sequin-like discs. 

Two new watches join the Poetic Complications collection: the 33mm Lady Jour Nuit and the 38mm Lady Arpels Jour Nuit. Both bear cases made of white gold and set with diamonds, with dials in aventurine glass, mother-of-pearl (with a guilloché effect), white gold, yellow gold and diamonds, and are powered by an in-house self-winding 24-hour movement that transforms the decor on the dial going from day to night and back. The movement also supports on-demand animation, making these watches effectively miniature automatons. 

Another floral creation, the evocative Lady Arpels Brise d’Été watch features a delicate tableau of mother-of-pearl, tsavorite garnets and spessartite garnets, as well as miniature painting through plique-à-jour, champlevé and vallonné enamel, housed in a 38mm case in white gold with diamonds. 

And finally, the Extraordinary Dials collection adds the Lady Arpels Jour Enchanté and Lady Arpels Nuit Enchantée. The duo each represent one half of the day: the former evokes picking flowers in the morning sun, through yellow sapphires and jewel-toned plique-à-jour and façonné enameling; the latter depicts a fairy resting in a moonlit flowerbed, using fancy-cut pink sapphires and purple sapphires, rock crystal and diamonds, as well as grisaille, plique-à-jour and façonné enamel.