Since its creation, the Maison Van Cleef & Arpels gave pride of place to extraordinary objects.
Time flows with the rhythm of nature in the Van Cleef & Arpels garden.
Van Cleef & Arpels Rêveries de Berylline automaton is a flower born in an imaginary garden opens its petals to unveil a hummingbird ready to take flight. The Rêveries de Berylline automaton is the first in a series of pieces inspired by nature, a cherished theme for the Maison ever since its foundation.
The bird’s wings spread to beat for a few instants. The tiny and fragile hummingbird then goes back to its place at the center of the corolla, which simultaneously closes all its petals around the bird, gently enveloping it. The music that accompanies this scene has been specially written for this creation.
Van Cleef & Arpels’ hummingbird is a creation mixing white gold, light mauve and blue sapphires, emeralds and tsavorite garnets. The acanthus leaf features mirror-polished yellow gold and diamonds. The vivid flower in rose and yellow gold is adorned with yellow sapphires, mandarin garnets, diamonds and lacquer. The scene played out by the Rêveries de Berylline automaton gives pride of place to traditional crafts. Van Cleef & Arpels’ High Jewelry savoir-faire brings the bird to life: its glittering stones captivate the eye as it beats its wings.
Special care was taken in selecting the gems, whose shades recall the shimmering plumage of a real hummingbird. In a final detail, a mauve briolette-cut sapphire seems suspended from the bird’s beak like a drop of water, its color subtly varying with the play of the light.
The scene played out by the Rêveries de Berylline automaton gives pride of place to traditional crafts. Entirely sculpted, the base of the creation is made up of two pieces of red porphyry and a bowl in lapis lazuli.
The stones were intricately carved and polished to bring out all their character and inherent life. Harmoniously sprinkled with inclusions, their material is testimony to the luxury jewelry brand’s expertise in selecting ornamental stones that are rare or unusual in jewelry.
Lastly, a corolla of fine petals crowns the summit of the automaton, adorned with gentle shades created using the exacting skill of lacquer work. Painted individually using an airbrush in several successive layers, the 36 petals reveal subtle gradations of color, which are identical from one petal to the next.
Van Cleef & Arpels list of objets extraordinaires include also:
- A Chinese inspired table clock (1930) in yellow gold, carved turquoises, onyx, lapis lazuli, enamel.
- Ducks table clock (1930) in Yellow gold, jade, enamel, diamonds. In the former collection of the Duke and the Duchess of Windsor. Drawing featuring the “Hommage à Galilée”
- Mystery table clock, 1998. Van Cleef & Arpels Archives
Last November, Van Cleef & Arpels Fontaine aux Oiseaux automaton and Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier watch were awarded at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2022
Created in 2001, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) highlights and yearly rewards the most remarkable contemporary creations. In November of each year the event draws elite representatives of the international watchmaking profession, united in honouring the finest creations and stakeholders who breathe vitality and creativity into the watchmaking world.
The Fontaine aux Oiseaux automaton watch was awarded the Mechanical Clock Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2022. Combining animation on demand and retrograde time display, this creation offers a double spectacle. The automaton comes to life for about a minute, revealing a touching scene thanks to the movement of the different elements. The water of the pond starts to undulate, a water lily flower opens its petals while a dragonfly rises flapping its wings and swiveling slightly. Birds on the edge of the fountain awaken and their song rings out.
The experience of the automatier François Junod was once again combined with that of lapidaries, jewelers, gem setters, enamellers, and cabinet makers: so many virtuosos who have dialogued and shared their know-how, each one going beyond their limits to give life to a poetic story. This unique Objet Extraordinaire, which required more than 4,300 hours of work in the Van Cleef & Arpels workshops and more than 25,200 hours overall, embodies a collective human adventure.
The Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier watch also stood out by winning the innovation prize. Its three-dimensional dial poetically depicts the passage of time through the opening and closing of 12 corollas. The reading of the time becomes a spectacle, as the flowers bloom and close in a random way, renewing the landscape of the dial every 60 minutes. At each time change, the open flowers close to make way for a new combination. No less than 226 elements are enhanced by the craftsmen of the Geneva Watchmakers’ Workshop. Petals in painted mother-of-pearl, butterflies in miniature paint, branches in sculpted gold and clouds in sculpted mother-of-pearl are enhanced by a very fine setting.