Under the moon’s gentle glow, a butterfly flutters freely above the flora.
Enter the verdant dial of the Lady Arpels Papillon Automate watch.
For French luxury jewelry, watch, and perfume company Van Cleef & Arpels, Time may not just be counted in hours, minutes, or seconds. It poetically guides you, in a unique way, through the passing of days, the changing of seasons, the constellations of stars… and other wonders that make life’s moments memorable. Indeed, Maison’s watches set the stage for breathtaking designs that spark dreamlike narratives.
In 2006, Van Cleef & Arpels celebrated its centenary with the Lady Arpels Centenaire watch, on which time flows by in harmony with the seasons. Bearing a new vision of watchmaking, the Poetic Complications collection was born. Since then, the Maison has continuously enriched its tales of enchantment with new chapters. This poetic interpretation of Time, a true signature of the Maison, is translated visually by the delicacy of an original design that tells a story.
Lady Arpels Papillon Automate from Van Cleef & Arpels incorporates some unique features like plique-à-jour technique enabling light to pass through the enamel and the automation of the butterfly.
Enchanting Nature comes to life as never before on this creation. In a bucolic scenery, the moon reflects itself on the surface of a pool, among flowers and wild grass. Equipped with a particularly sophisticated automaton module, the dial depicts the random fluttering of a butterfly, moving in accompaniment to the movements of the watch’s wearer: as the hours and minutes flow discretely by on the right, the butterfly beats its wings randomly – one to four times in a row, depending on the power reserve.
The feat of bringing a butterfly to life in a random way is combined with that of recreating the scene in relief, using a multi- layered background. To reflect the vitality of nature, the luxury Maison selected several decorative techniques in which the craftsmen from Van Cleef & Arpels’ watchmaking workshops in Meyrin are expert, among which the curved plique-à-jour enamel technique, developed by the high-end jewelry & watchmaning Maison.
This filigree enamel technique enables light to shine through the enamel like stained-glass. The motifs on the dial are held by fine gold partitions, making them look like miniature stained-glass windows. This enameling technique is one of the most demanding; since thisis also the technique which best highlights the crystalline clarity of glass and the delicacy of the metal supporting it. Creating a golden frame for each element of the scenery is a critical step, due to the painstaking detail required.
On the Lady Arpels Papillon Automate watch, the dial’s vegetation is adorned with champlevé enamel, with the exception of certain particularly rounded blades of grass, which are decorated with a greenish-blue gradation in curved plique-à-jour enamel. This plique-à-jour enamel technique enables the enamel to assume the three-dimensional form of the motif.
Van Cleef & Arpels’ Lady Arpels Papillon Automate watch was awarded the prestigious Ladies’ HighMech Watch prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2017.