1. It’s a symbol of joyful portent
Ever a faithful interpreter of lightness and movement, Van Cleef & Arpels 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.
2. It’s a feat of watchmaking
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 a few seconds.
3. It’s a blend of savoir-faire
To render all the ethereal delicacy of the scene, Van Cleef & Arpels 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.