Van Cleef & Arpels will take us once again into his fascinating poetic universe on the occasion of the upcoming SIHH with the Lady Arpels™ Ronde des Papillons Poetic Complications™ watch. The Maison has captured the time within an art craft dial where butterflies play hide and seek with a swallow. A light and graceful dance, animated by a new movement featuring retrograde hours, variable speed minutes and animation on demand.
Ever a faithful interpreter of lightness and movement, the Maison this year gives pride of place to butterflies: one of its themes of predilection since the 1920s. Its new Poetic Complications watch brings together three colored butterflies in a playful aerial to-and-fro. Their circling dance between the clouds sets the tempo for the minutes, while the hours take flight in the wake of a swallow, symbol of joyful portent.
With this winged ballet, Van Cleef & Arpels portrays all the vitality of nature and expresses the passage of time with a delicate poetry unique to the Maison.
Beneath the apparent delicacy of the dial, the retrograde hour, variable speed minutes and animation on demand movement developed exclusively for the Lady Arpels Ronde des Papillons watch is highly sophisticated. Virtuoso watchmaking expertise is applied to a ballet of butterflies moving at different speeds. In a one-hour cycle, they accelerate and then slow down again, thanks to an elliptical wheel inside the mechanism.
To measure the minutes, each butterfly appears in turn between the clouds, then disappears to make way for its successor. In keeping with the Maison’s retrograde displays, the hours are indicated by the swallow, which points the tip of its wing at the twelve consecutive hours before returning to its initial position.
Finally, the dial can come to life on demand via an animation of some 13 seconds. At the push of a button, the butterflies set off on a dance around the clouds. They then calmly resume their flight, allowing for the time that has passed during the animation.
To render all the ethereal delicacy of the scene, the Maison has brought together different crafts that combine harmoniously on the dial’s surface. The gentle luminosity of the sky is suggested by a background of mother-of-pearl, hand-painted in bluish shades. Floating at different heights, mother-of-pearl clouds compose a subtle palette of greys. The graceful creatures stand out against it, their colors produced by miniature painting. While the swallow in engraved white gold is soberly clad in black, white and blue, the butterflies display joyful gradations of color: from white to pink, yellow to orange and red to yellow.
Reflecting Van Cleef & Arpels’ attention to detail, the dial’s story continues on the back of the case in decoration of great refinement. Once again, different techniques come together to create a poetic scene: the gold background is engraved with a swallow flying through the skies, while the oscillating weight is adorned with three lacquered butterflies. Turning according to the movements of the wrist, they seem to flutter between clouds delicately engraved on the underside of the sapphire glass.