This 2016, Van Cleef & Arpels embarks to a retrospective journey while designing its high jewellery picks that’s been recently unveiled at the prestigious Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva. With jewels that tell the time, magnified by precious stones and technical sophistication, the Maison’s savoire-faire is displayed through these emotive creations. Here are our favourite picks from SIHH 2016:
Rubis Secret bracelet watch
This unique creation that required 1,500 hours of work is one of the major pieces of the SIHH, and has its origins in an exceptional batch of 115 rubies, weighing a total of 151.25 carats. The stones have a dense and luminous quality that’s usually found in Mozambique deposits, famed for the quality of their crystallization.
The unparalleled technical expertise is the focus here: These rubies are arranged in three rows according to a subtle line of perspective based on their slight variations of cut. It is set in white gold, with the lines of round and square diamonds serving to accentuate the intensity of the stones. When placed side by side, a red glow is tinged with a hint of pink. A white gold plate with Art Deco motifs lies on the inside of the bracelet, made to hide the jewellery structure while allowing light to reflect through the stones.
Another challenging feat was to create an invisible hinge that enables the piece to open entirely, along with creating a side drawer to show the time discretely—the dial is visible when the drawer is delicately opened via a gentle press on the rubies. It holds the watch module and slides to a tolerance of a hundredth of a millimeter under the stones’ girdles, without ever touching them.
Sweet Charms Pavée Bracelet Joaillier watch
Van Cleef & Arpels also highlighted a feminine watch in this jeweled version under their Charms collection. Inspired by their iconic 1920s charms, it sports a tassel dancing around the case with a new charm that decorates its form. This piece keeps up with the white jewelry created by the Maison in the foundation and is graded VVS for clarity. The serti neige style dial setting is accompanied by a row of baguettes on the bezel, themselves accentuated by round diamonds and an exquisite moving tassel made from baguette-cut diamonds outside the case.
The stones are arranged in varied cuts as well to highlight the halo effect of the dial. While this bracelet watch also comes in a more subdued brushed canvas, the jewellery version is the more arresting of the two, illuminating the wrist in a wave of light. With a diameter of 21mm compared to between 25mm and 38mm up to now, it’s a delightfully worthy addition to the Charms collection.
Pompon transformable long necklace with detachable watch
The Maison brings back the 40s and 50s with its new interpretation of watchmaking: transformable long necklaces inspired by bows, ribbons, and tassels in gold and diamonds. The dial is part of a string of culture pearls that resemble the fluid movement of the Charleston dresses of the 1920s. White cultured pearls are hand-stringed and separated by silk thread knots for a “free-fall” ensemble, while quarter-turn clasp systems puts the piece in three places and hides a watch via the attachment of a jeweled tassel. The watch itself is surrounded by four rows of cultured pearls covered with red spinels.
The long necklaces comes with a bracelet entwined by pink sapphires, red spinels and diamonds, giving the wearer free reign to a variety of combinations, be it attaching the tassel to the bracelet, or hung from the long necklace in the neckline or at the back. The red and white blend of the long necklace offers a luxe colour contrast that sets off beautifully when worn medium-length or divided into two shorter necklaces. This long necklace is also available in a black and white version made of diamonds, pearls, and onyx beads.
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