Poetic Astronomy offers an invitation to live in harmony with the rhythm of the cosmos. Today it is enriched with a new set of twelve feminine Lady Arpels Zodiac Lumineux models, which join the masculine Midnight Zodiac Lumineux watches introduced at the SIHH 2018. These watchmaking creations recreate the sparkle of the stars with an exclusive light-on-demand module, first developed in 2016 for the Midnight Nuit Lumineuse watch. This automatic mechanical movement now illuminates the twelve signs of the Western Zodiac. The astrological theme has been a dear one for the Maison ever since the first lucky medals created in the 1950s. Here, it comes to life in twelve luminous dials: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.
A blend of savoir-faire
The Midnight Zodiac Lumineux watches’ spellbinding illumination has its origins in a phenomenon known as piezoelectricity. An object of study since the 18th century, it refers to the capacity of certain materials to accumulate an electric charge when subjected to mechanical constraints. Developed exclusively for Van Cleef & Arpels, the module incorporates a piezoceramic blade whose vibration ‒ under the effect of the watch’s movement ‒ enables electrical energy to be generated mechanically. This energy is then used to supply from four to six LEDs: at the press of a button, they backlight the dial’s translucent enamel beads for about three seconds.
The dials brought to life by this technical feat are decorated at Van Cleef & Arpels’ Meyrin workshops in Switzerland. Intricately and individually sculpted in white gold, the Zodiac signs on the masculine watches stand out against a background in blue pailleté enamel, evoking the heavenly vault. On the feminine watches, these symbolic figures are adorned with white or yellow gold, precious stones and enamel. The depths of the cosmos are suggested by an intense glittery effect on the blue, nuanced by an interplay of light and shade. The four elements are depicted by different tones of stones and enamel: green for earth, orange for fire and gradations of blue and violet for the air and water signs. Within each constellation, several points are represented by delicate enamel beads: shaped by hand and mounted on the dial, some of them light up like genuine stars.