The meeting point of watchmaking and art, the Lady Arpels Polar Landscapes Seal Décor by Van Cleef & Arpels, is among the laureates of the eleventh Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix Ceremony. Lovely timepiece by Parisian company received the accolade as the most successful in the Jewellery and Artistic Crafts Watch category. Even the casual glance at its dial reveals all the hard work and skill required to create such a fine and delicate product, and shows why it got the reward. The face of the watch depicts the Antarctic scenery that came as a result of meticulous combined efforts of master craftsmen of various disciplines. It is an artistic masterpiece that came to life as a joint creation of enamellers, stone cutters and engravers.
The wristwatch that earned the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve is a part of the series that the watchmaker suitably named Cadrans Extraordinaires, or translated into English Extraordinary Dials. The entire lineage draws inspiration from the works of Jules Verne, and intents to repeat the level of imagination and vision that is present in the books of the famous author. The series is dived into four sections: Five Weeks in Balloon, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, A Journey to the Center of the Earth and From the Earth to the Moon, with the names corresponding to popular novels written by the French author. The timepiece that received “Watchmaking Oscar” is a part of the Five Weeks in Balloon subsection that is, as in the book, further divided according to the stages of the voyage to Africa and Antarctica.
Champlevé Enamel, Mother-of-Pearl and Diamonds
After the comprehensive and a bit complicated story about the position of Lady Arpels Polar Landscapes Seal Décor Watch among the series by the French watchmaker, let us concentrate on the exquisite dial that earned the prestigious award. The dial is dominated with pearly white, gray and blue colors. The depicted scene on the dial is portrayed with the combined use of champlevé enamel for waves and ice, mother-of-pearl for skies, whereas the coats of seals shiny due to the expertly-cut diamonds. Precious stones are also set on the fixed bezel, surrounding the delicate-looking dial. Even a slight hand movement of the wearer’s hand triggers the dance of shadows and light, giving the dial and the whole watch a distinct poetic quality. The watch with the reference number VCARO22I00 is set in a white gold case with 38 mm in diameter.
It is also worth mentioning the horological qualities of the timepiece that is quite reasonably crafted in the limited edition of 22 pieces. Van Cleef & Arpels includes a manual-wound mechanical mechanism that has the frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour and includes a power reserve of 60 hours. This timepiece also features a surprisingly high water resistance of 200 meters below the surface. This characteristic only demonstrates the quality of construction, because it is highly unlikely that anyone would be willing and rich enough to test the water tightness of a prized watch which price exceeds $100,000. That is, of course, providing that you can find one of 22 pieces from this limited edition. At the end of the examination of the top watch for 2011 in the category of Jewelerry and Artistic Crafts, we should also mention that it comes with a purple alligator strap that fastens with a pin buckle.