Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Papillon Automate
When fine watchmaking meets poetry
There are timepieces that we usually wear to simply double-check the time and then there are other timepieces that, besides offering us their classic functions, can be considered as real masterpieces that we should feast our eyes on. Van Cleef & Arpels skilfully produces such masterpieces. The Maison proudly presented its Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels™ Papillon Automate at the SIHH 2017; this marvellous timepiece was created in Mayrin (Switzerland), the headquarter of the Van Cleef’s Ateliers and also the cradle of the brand’s master watch-makers.
The Nature Enchantée™ comes alive on the watch’s dial thanks to an extraordinary automatic winding mechanic movement; the wings of a beautiful butterfly move in synchronization with the user’s movements, while the hours and the minutes located at 3 o’clock show the time in a discreet manner within this magical environment. On the stage of this fairylike natural panorama made up of champlevé enamels and some light blue/green grass strings in curved plique-à-jour enamel used to give a feeling of depth to the display, a golden butterfly pops up with its wings made of plique-à-jour enamel.
The magnitude of the scenery is accentuated by the transparency of the matter combined with the moon made of paillonné enamel that reflects itself in the water made of light blue, purple and mauve sapphires. On the dial, which represents Mother Nature herself, are sparkling flowers made up of brilliant cut diamonds and drop cut diamonds that further animate the environment and also create a feeling of continuity with the bas-relief that can be found on the watch’s case-back and on the winding rotor; both elements can be looked at through a decorated sapphire glass.
Harmoniously matching the elegance of the Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels™ Papillon Automate is its white gold case measuring 40mm in diameter, studded “neige” diamonds and a bezel made even more precious by the presence of brilliant cut diamonds coupling with a crown featuring a studded diamond. The strap is made of blue alligator leather and is equipped with a refined pin buckle sporting brilliant cut diamonds that perfectly match the precious looks of the dial and of the case too. What moves all the elements on the dial is an automatic winding mechanic movement equipped with an aleatory robotic sensor and on demand animation, which was exclusively designed for Van Cleef & Arpels.
The watch-making Maison lodged four different patents for this special movement! The butterfly elegantly moves by timidly fluttering its wings either once or up to four consecutive times according to the power reserve left; the frequency of the beats is not regular, but it rather takes places on two-minute-intervals or four-minute-intervals when the timepiece is not wrapped around your wrist and more often when the watch is being worn.
The exuberance of the butterfly is therefore in perfect accordance with the woman wearing this splendid masterpiece and it translates into a state of perfect quietness or into a state of extreme movement depending on the occasion. However, if your wish is to simply gaze at the wonderful show of Mother Nature slowly coming to life on the dial, you can do so by pressing a button and stare at the butterfly fluttering its wings on demand. Given how complicated it is to craft such a fascinating lady’s watch, the Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels™ Papillon Automate comes in a limited and numbered edition; it is a masterpiece that you should only wear on special occasions to surprise those around you and to amaze your senses whenever you gaze at the butterfly twirling around.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Mirella Codeghini @HorbitHer