Cartier, Patek Philippe and more

The Patek Philippe Ref. 5226G- 001 Calatrava

The time of day is indicated by applied white gold Arabic numerals with beige luminous coating. The hours of local time and the minutes are displayed with luminous white gold Seringue or syringe hands with long tips. The three apertures of the Annual Calendar – day of the week and month at 12 o’clock, and date at 6 o’clock – show legible black inscriptions on white backgrounds. Marked “Local” at 8 o’clock and “Home” at 4 o’clock are day/night indicators for local and home time respectively. The display is complemented by the subsidiary seconds that sweeps over the moonphase aperture at 6 o’clock. A transparent caseback reveals the architecture of the movement with elegantly cut and gently curved bridges.

The exhibition caseback of the Patek Philippe Ref. 5326G- 001 Annual Calendar Travel Time

The timepiece is delivered with two interchangeable, vintage-inspired straps – one in beige calfskin with a nubuck texture, and the other in black calfskin with an embossed textile finish and beige decorative stitching.

Additionally, collectors who love the vintage-inspired design of the new Ref. 5326G-001 but don’t want additional functions can opt for a smaller model in the Calatrava line with similar aesthetics. Driven by the self-winding caliber 26-330 SC with hour, minute and second hands, as well as an aperture date at 3 o’clock, the 40mm Calatrava Ref. 5226G-001 in white gold also flaunts a guilloched hobnail motif on the caseband and is accompanied by two interchangeable straps similar to those of the Ref. 5326G-001.

Van Cleef & Arpels

The most enchanting wristwatches at the exhibition were undoubtedly these two new models that enrich the maison’s Poetic Complications collection, known for its delightful and imaginative timekeepers that artfully combine the marvels of watchmaking with precious materials and traditional savoir faire.

Skillfully treading the fine line of art and science is the first timepiece, which we’re told took five years to develop. A fine specimen in which horology meets horticulture, it’s inspired by the floral clock concept, Horologium Florae, by Swedish botanist Carl von Linné. In his 1751 book, Philosophia Botanica, he detailed a hypothetical garden plan including a wide variety of plants, whose flowers would open and close at specific moments of the day to tell the time. The maison transposed the poetic idea of ​​a garden clock and realised it in two watches: the Lady Arpels Heures Florales and Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier.

Featured on the three-dimensional dials are flowers that reveal the secret of time with the movement of their petals. Here, telling time becomes a game and visual spectacle as the eye seeks out buds and open blooms. Each new hour results in a different display, with the number of open flowers indicating the hour of the day.

Up to 166 elements are set in motion when the dial comes to life, thanks to a module developed by the craftsmen of the maison’s watchmaking workshops in Geneva. Every petal in this precious garden is articulated and connected to the watch’s mechanism, which requires meticulous and intricate assembly. The level of technical difficulty increases as there are three different sequences for every blooming flower.

With each passing hour, open flowers close to make way for a new combination. This sequence of bouquets that follow the next from hour to hour will be different the next day. Telling the time is completed by a minute display that is visible via a window on the side of the case that’s set with diamonds of varying sizes.

Assembling the watch’s intricate mechanism

The Lady Arpels Heures Florales and Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier watches also boast a bejewelled garden inside a 38mm case of white and rose gold respectively. The first evokes summer with soothing blue and green leaves and petals that contrast delicately against a white mother-of-pearl background. The second version revisits the same design with a tableau redolent of springtime. Accentuating the dial’s relief effects are ethereal blue butterflies – a cherished house emblem – nestled within pink and red corollas.

No fewer than 226 elements are brought together by the maison’s artisans in a range of techniques. Petals and butterflies in miniature painting, branches in sculpted gold and clouds in sculpted mother-of-pearl are enhanced by white and yellow diamonds set with great finesse.

A gold caseback features an engraving that recalls the dial’s scenery, while the movement’s oscillating weight, in guilloche gold and miniature painting, is visible beneath a sapphire glass. On it is another detail we love – an engraved and enamelled dragonfly or butterfly.

Van Cleef & Arpels’ signature creation since its launch in 2013, the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée watch highlights one of the maison’s most beloved sources of inspiration: dance. For 2022, the house presents two new 40mm pieces in white gold, as well as in rose gold, accompanied by a gold bracelet swathed with diamonds or a leather strap. Adorning the dial is the graceful silhouette of a ballerina with flounces of her tutu unfurling in new materials and colours.

The dancer’s body is sculpted in relief in gold, while her headdress, face and body are embellished with diamonds. Her arms are stretched out gracefully above her tutu, which is superimposed with an effect of transparency. Her outfit consists of a fixed layer set with champlevé and plique-à-jour enamel, sapphires and diamonds. A second, movable tutu layer, also adorned with plique-à-jour enamel, forms two translucent wings, which rise ever so gracefully to indicate the time.

The scene plays out against a background showcasing a radiating guilloche motif, which gives an illusion of dynamic movement. Several layers of translucent violet (on the white gold model) or pink enamel (for the pink gold version) are then applied to add depth and brilliance to the ensemble.

The maison expresses its poetic vision of time with a double retrograde time-on-demand movement – ​​a signature of creations in the Poetic Complications collection. When the push-piece at 8 o’clock is activated on the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée, the ballerina’s tutu comes to life. In one fluid motion, the petticoat indicates the hours on the left rises first. This graceful motion is followed by the other on the right, which takes its position on the minute scale. Both sides remain in place for a few seconds to allow the wearer to tell time before simultaneously returning to their starting points.

This story first appeared in the May 2022 issue of Prestige Singapore.

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