When it comes to feminine watch complications, there are few houses who can rival the whimsical creations of Van Cleef & Arpels. While the brand is now famous for its poetic complications, it is true that it only started producing them a scant 10 years ago. But what a great 10 years it has been. This year, the maison once again impresses with its new Lady Arpels Planétarium Poetic Complications watch.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call the Lady Arpels Planétarium a miniature universe. The aventurine dial gives the illusion of a star‑studded sky, and plays host to three planets that the maison specifically chose to represent on this watch—Mercury, Venus and Earth, which have a more feminine energy, says Van Cleef & Arpels. The sun remains at the centre of the dial, while the planets revolve around it in real time, with Mercury completing one orbit every 88 days, Venus every 224 days, and Earth every 365 days.
As if this wasn’t enough to capture our fancies, the watch's complications also feature the moon. The tiny moon revolves around the Earth once every 29.53 days, corresponding with the lunar cycle. This means that the Lady Arpels Planétarium has a moonphase indicator—a secret one, only known to those who can parse the position of the moon in relation to the sun and the Earth.
The movement in the Lady Arpels Planétarium includes an exclusive module developed in collaboration with Chirstiaan van der Klaauw, a Dutch watchmaker renowned for his expertise with astronomical complications. He was also responsible for Van Cleef & Arpels' Midnight Planétarium, a similarly poetic complication made for men launched in 2014.
Of course, we haven't spoken about how to read the time. One can do so using the rhodium-plated gold shooting star orbiting on the outermost rings of the dial. The hour markers are indicated using arabic numerals, and the minutes can be approximated using the gold dots in between them. Each dot represents the passage of 15 minutes. The need for approximation doesn't detract from the watch's appeal—after all, it's so beautiful that each second more spent looking at it is well worth the time. Should you wish for more information, however, apertures displaying day, month, and year can be found on the back of the timepiece.
The watch is encased in white gold and set with brilliant white diamonds. It is available on a blue glitter alligator strap to match the dial, or on a diamond-set bracelet for maximum nighttime glitter.
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