Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planétarium Poetic Complication

Across the universe.

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It begins at the centre, with a pink gold sun. Traversing around our star are six planets, and this central conceit informs the marvelous Midnight Planétarium watch, the newest part of the Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Complications collection.

Each planet, all six visible in the sky to the naked human eye, has its own stone: Mercury, serpentine; Venus, chloromelanite; Earth, turquoise; Mars, red jasper; Jupiter, blue agate; and Saturn, sugilite. Remarkably, each of the planets rotates around the sun in real time. That means, for example, the earth will go fully around the watch dial in 365 days, and Mercury in 88 days, while Saturn takes the full 29 years to move completely around the dial. The technological prowess involved includes placing each of the planets on its own ring within the watch structure. The rings form the watch dial itself; each is composed of a stone called aventurine. It is exceedingly finely milled, to allow the watch itself an elegance, a thinness, that is surprising, given how many moving parts are required.

You can literally choose any day you want, and the planets on that day will exactly coincide with the real planets circling the real sun. Telling the time is achieved by simply noting the position of the pink gold shooting star, located at the outer edge, which works its own way around the dial every 24 hours. In another feat of invention and technical mastery, there is a red arrow near the dial’s outer rim—it can be manually aligned to a specific date, such as an anniversary or birthday, and on that exact date the planet earth will align under another star, engraved on the crystal face of the watch. You may not have the world at your fingertips, but you can have it on your wrist.


Stay on time. Read more jewellery and watch stories here.

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September 10, 2016