For SIHH 2014, Van Cleef & Arpels revisited the idea of a three-dimensional representation of the solar system and the movement of the planets around the sun in order to realise the Midnight Planétarium. This timepiece also offers a means of immortalising one’s own lucky day in the universe, while admiring the course of the planets.
The Poetic Complication provides a miniature representation of the movement of six planets around the sun and their position at any given time. Earth and Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, all visible from Earth with the naked eye, are set in motion thanks to a self-winding mechanical movement of great complexity. To develop such a complex movement there was only one man for the job. Van Cleef & Arpels called on the Maison Christiaan van der Klaauw to equip the watch with an exclusive module containing no less than 396 separate parts.
The movement of each planet is true to its genuine length of orbit: it will take Saturn over 29 years to make a complete circuit of the dial, while Jupiter will take almost 12 years, Mars 687 days, Earth 365 days, Venus 224 days and Mercury 88 days.
Telling the time is a simple question of observing the shooting star, a cherished lucky motif for the Maison. Located at the outer edge of the dial, it completes its circuit in 24 hours. The story continues on the back of the watch, where the oscillating weight is engraved with a starry composition. The day, month and year can be set using two push buttons and viewed through two apertures on the dial.
These various functions come with a poetic invitation to celebrate one’s own lucky day. Using a rotating bezel, the owner of the watch can select the day of his choice by positioning a red triangle against a graduated calendar. On that date, the Earth will move to a position directly below the star engraved on the sapphire crystal, as a sign of good luck.
One of Van Cleef & Arpels great strengths is jewellery making, and they have applied these skills to depict the planets with a selection of hard stones: turquoise for the Earth, serpentine for Mercury, chloromelanite for Venus, red jasper for Mars, blue agate for Jupiter and sugilite for Saturn.
Intricately sculpted by hand into spheres of different dimensions and colours, they are positioned round a sun cast in pink gold. Each of these elements, along with the shooting star in pink gold, is fixed on its own aventurine disc. With their scintillating deep blue hue, they arranged around the center in perfect concentric alignment.
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