Fantasy, romance and constellations come to life in Van Cleef & Arpels’ Poetry of Time, an exquisite collection in which jewellery savoir faire meets meticulous craftsmanship to evoke a sense of timeless wonder

There is never a static moment on the canvas that is the dial of a Van Cleef & Arpels timepiece. In the Poetry of Time, tales of love and enchantment are told in miniature form — woven together in a delicate balance of intricate complications, retrograde movements, jewels and gold engravings against the striking gradations of grisaille enamel and mother-of-pearl.

Infinite movements of grace, magic and beauty are encapsulated within each creation to offer a dreamlike perspective on the passage of time. Be it paying homage to the stars and universe in Poetic Astronomy, or capturing the constant renewal of flora and fauna with Enchanting Nature, the maison ensures each hour is embellished with the art of storytelling, unbounded creativity and technical prowess that form the unique rhythm of the collection.

Moonlight rendezvous
Two lovers on the dial of the Lady Arpels Pont des Amoureux are drawn towards each other on the Pont des Arts while marking the hours and minutes respectively. They eventually meet and kiss for a minute at midday and midnight. White powder ed enamel known as blanc de Limoges has been used to trace out the scene against a dark grisaille enamelled background, bathing the facade of the buildings behind the bridge in the mysterious glow of moonlight.

Strap the cosmos on your wrist with the Midnight Planétarium, which was first created in 2014 and recently unveiled in white gold with a winding-function cabinet made of gold, mother-of-pearl and Alcantara leather with marquetry. Fixed to an aventurine disc, each of the six featured planets move around the sun at their real speeds of orbit — from 88 days for Mercury to almost 30 years for Saturn. The watch case back is equally fascinating, with a calendar and gems engraved with the name of the planets.

Hearts aflutter
A butterfly rests on a flower of sculpted mother of- pearl, its dual-shaded wings fluttering in rhythm with the movements of the Lady Arpels Papillon Automate’s wearer. The dial itself brings together a number of elements to recreate a scene in relief — reflecting the vitality of nature with a combination of vegetation adorned with champlevé enamel, rounded blades of grass decorated with curved plique-à- jour enamel, and a paillonné enamel led moon set with blue, mauve and violet sapphires. Round and pear-shaped diamonds create glittering corollas scattered across the multilayered background, which continues on the watch’s bas-relief decorated back.

Belle in tulle
With Van Cleef & Arpels’ exclusive hour-ondemand retrograde movement, the white-gold ballerina’s skirt rises on the left to mark the hour, and then on the right to indicate the minute, against a purple enamel dial dotted with round and pear-shaped diamonds. The result is a striking spectacle reminiscent of a butterfly. Once the push-button of the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée watch is activated, the layered veils of her tutu rise like two openwork wings that remain in place for a few seconds, before floating down gracefully to their original positions.

This article appeared in Issue 778 (May 8) of The Edge Singapore.