Van Cleef & Arpels Harnesses The Wonders of the Heavens
The mystique of the cosmos and poetic astronomy were the inspirations for one of three Extraordinary Objects by Van Cleef & Arpels. Created exclusively for the 2022 Watches & Wonders fair, the Planetarium automaton builds on the concept of Van Cleef’s 2014 Midnight Planetarium watch model.
With the Poetry of Time as an overarching, the intricate automaton summons the wonder of gazing up at the heavens, evoking the finely orchestrated ballet of planets as they move through time and space. The concept harkens back to ancient times, where the word ‘planetarium’ has its origins. The term originally referred to models which represented the Sun, Moon, and planets closest to Earth–such as the Antikythera mechanism from 2nd century BC.
The Van Cleef & Arpels Planetarium presents the Sun and visible planets in the solar system as exquisitely bejeweled spheres under a translucent dome. Special attention has been paid to selecting the materials, using both precious and ornamental stones. Yellow gold, yellow sapphires and spessartite garnets surround the ‘sun’, with a core of diamonds set on over 500 gold stems.
Nine aventurine glass discs are concentrically set within the dial, in a nod to the depth of the cosmic universe. Half of these are animated by the mechanism. Upon being turned on, the automaton quivers due to a trembleur in the mechanism–a jewelry technique that highlights the stones’ mesmerizing sparkle.
The planets rotate at real planetary speed–Earth takes 365 days to carry out a complete orbit, with 687 for Mars or 29.5 years for Saturn. The Moon is set to orbit the Earth.
A shooting star appears from a door and circles the dial, marking hours, to a melody created in partnership with Swiss musician Michel Tirabosco. The art and wonder of heavenly bodies is met in Van Cleef & Arpels with scientific precision and impeccable detail, all in one extraordinary design.