< Van Cleef & Arpels >
The ethereal Charms collection has watches that serve as lucky charms, sporting poetic motifs that gracefully indicate the passage of time
Drawing inspiration from some of its most cherished sources, the Van Cleef & Arpels’ Maison has given pride of place to its most delicate creatures: dancers and fairies, swallows and butterflies. To honour such benevolent muses, watchmaking and imagination unite in a common ode to the poetry of the passing hours. Fluid movement, lightness and refinement are the dominant themes. Caressed by a faint breath of air, a gentle breeze floats over the dials and their virtuoso craftsmanship to choreograph an ethereal ballet of lucky charms. These exceptional pieces display all the watchmaking savoir-faire associated with Van Cleef & Arpels, from the Poetic Complications collection that combine technical and aesthetic prowess to the craft skills which transform each timepiece into a captivating spectacle.
In 2008, the Charms watch was born, with its lucky charm motif spinning merrily around the dial. Today, the Maison is opening a new chapter in this collection with four exceptional limited editions. It has employed its most precious craft-skills to relate new tales of luck. From engraving and sculpture on gold to enameling, miniature painting on mother-of-pearl and translucent lacquer, Van Cleef & Arpels has assembled the talents of virtuoso craftsmen to transform the Maison’s dreams of beauty into reality. Each piece is adorned with a triple row of diamonds and coloured stones, selected using the strictest criteria and mounted on the bezel.
Thanks to this varied savoir-faire, the Charms Extraordinaires watches are adorned with enchanting scenes which overflow from their dials. Four auspicious symbols—the lily-of-the-valley, the lotus flower, the dandelion and the swallow— are depicted in settings of great refinement. Alternately delicate and profound, the gradation of hues continues onto the bezel—which is adorned with variously coloured gems—while an ethereal lucky charm evokes the theme of each piece.
CHARMS EXTRAORDINAIRE FÉÉRIE DANDELION
Suffused with lightness and movement, the Charms Extraordinaire Féérie Dandelion watch depicts a butterfly-winged fairy, flanked by a dandelion blowing in the breeze. Associated with luck and the spread of knowledge, the plant owes its name to the French dent-de-lion (‘lion’s tooth’), a reference to the outline of its leaves. Blowing on its feathers is said to make a wish come true. This 22-piece edition Féérie Dandelion watch is notable for its intricate detail, highlighted by a wealth of savoir-faire. The dial, struck with a spiral motif, displays a vitality emphasised by translucent blue lacquer. The fairy is a true miniature sculpture in gold, with a rose-cut diamond face and enameled wings. The dandelion’s feathers are represented by diamonds floating in the wind. The quartz movement watch comes in white gold case, 38mm diameter and a bezel set with diamonds and sapphires. The dial is in translucent lacquer, champlevé enamel, sculpted gold and diamonds.
CHARMS EXTRAORDINAIRE MUGUET
This watch brings together various poetic motifs: the fairy—an emblematic figure for the Maison—is depicted accompanied by a butterfly, amid radiant sprigs of lily-of-the-valley. This 22-piece watch gives pride of place to miniature painting on mother-of-pearl, which has previously graced certain timepieces by Van Cleef & Arpels. This technique enables a drawing to be rendered with extraordinary subtlety, and with an infinite range of nuance and detail: it calls for patience, meticulousness and real artistic sensibility. Created with brush and magnifier, each watch bears the unique imprint of the artist who brought it into being. The iridescence of mother-of-pearl, which has also been sculpted to compose the form of the fairy, contributes sparkle and vitality to the dial. This quartz movement watch comes in pink gold case, 38mm diameter, bezel set with diamonds and yellow sapphires. The dial has a miniature painting on mother-of-pearl and sculpted mother-of-pearl.
CHARMS EXTRAORDINAIRE LOTUS
The lotus flower is an extremely important symbol in Asian culture. Emerging from the water to bloom in the sunlight, it evokes self-fulfillment, enlightenment and purity. In full bloom at the centre of the dial, the lotus flower stands out clearly thanks to the champlevé enamel technique. To produce this subtle effect, the cavities which make up the shape of the motif are filled with enamel; the enamel undergoes successive firings and is then delicately sanded. Like a flower turned towards the sky, the lotus is encircled by a gradation of gems set into the bezel: diamonds, sapphire and Paraíba tourmalines. Limited to 22 pieces, the quartz watch is in white gold case, 32mm diameter, bezel set with diamonds, sapphires and Paraíba tourmalines.
CHARMS EXTRAORDINAIRE HIRONDELLES
This piece portrays a pair of brisk and graceful swallows, together symbolising the coming of spring. In Europe, they are thought to bring good luck to the house where they build their nest. Van Cleef & Arpels here revisits two favourite themes: pairs of birds—offering a tender symbol of love—and the swallows which have inspired its creations from the 1920s onwards. The precious stones—diamonds and pink and violet sapphires—set into the swallow’s breast, the branch and the bezel add sparkle to this symphony of flowers and clouds. Limited to 22 pieces, Charms Extraordinaire Hirondelles comes in pink gold case, 32mm diameter, diamonds, bezel set with pink and violet sapphires. The dial sports a miniature painting on mother-of-pearl, diamonds and violet sapphires.