One of the most notable novelties that were presented by Van Cleed & Arpels at the recently held SIHH 2014 show was undoubtedly Midnight Planetarium piece from its Poetic Complications series. This watch represents cooperation between the luxury brand and the independent watchmaker Christiaan van der Klaauw who is the mastermind behind the watch’s main feature. The trait in question is planetarium – the exact representation of the actual movement of the first five planets that revolve around the Sun. Naturally, in the tradition of Van Cleed & Arpels, the manner in which this function is represented is quite eye-catching with a heavy use of semi-precious stones on the timekeeper’s dial. The luxurious self-winding timepiece with a 24-hour dial is as expected extremely pricey with its value set at nearly a quarter of a million of dollars. For those who seek even more luxury than the one featured in this mid-sized pink gold watch, there is a more lavish version with a diamond-set bezel which costs around a third of a million.
A Longevous Interest in the Movement of Celestial Bodies
Planetariums which are used to show the accurate movements of celestial bodies have been attracting attention of people for a very long time. Surprisingly, human kind has been able to accurately predict the movement of planets for a very long time. The first recovered device that shows the cosmic dance of the planets around the Sun is Antikythera mechanism, an ingenious mechanical masterpiece that dates from around 100 B.C. In the modern era, we have intricate devices that show the movements of not only planets, but also of stars and other celestial objects which are nowadays visible on a very large scale and placed inside huge dome-shaped venues.
Astrnomical Module Envisioned by Christiaan van der Klaauw
Van Cleef & Arpels and their new timekeeper from the Poetic Complications series enable you to have an accurate info about the movement of the first five planets of our solar system in the form of a wrist-sized planetarium which includes proper spheres that designate planets. Midnight Planetarium watch bases its most important feature on a module that was designed by Christiaan van der Klaauw, the independent Dutch watchmaker who is specialized in creation of the timekeepers with an astronomical theme. The module designed by van der Klaauw which is added to an automatic base movement by Van Cleef & Arpels guarantees that each of five planets moves exactly as it does in reality: Mercury revolves once in 88 days, Venus in 224 days, Earth in 365 days, Mars in 687 days, Jupiter in about 12 years and finally, Saturn in more than 29 years. Not only that the period of rotation is accurate, but also are the positions of planets in the correlation to each others, as well is the length of their orbits. As it is safe to assume, the remaining two planets from the Solar system, Uranus and Neptune, are omitted since their years correlate to even longer periods of 84 and 165 of Earth years, respectively. Together with the parts used in the van der Klaauwe’s module, the intricate movement consists of 396 components.
Lucky Day Feature
Apart from the neat planetarium complication, this watch naturally also includes a basic timekeeping feature which is executed via representation of a shooting star, the brand’s recognizable used symbol, which circles on the periphery of the 24-hour dial. Van Cleef Midnight Planetarium has another rare function that the brand named “Lucky Day”. The wearer has an option to rotate the knurled bezel and thus turn the complete sapphire dial with an engraved star. Once you rotate the bezel and place a red arrow pointer to specific date as indicated on the scale that surrounds the 24-hour chapter ring, the mentioned star is placed precisely on the position of the earth on that specific date. This truly peculiar function can be used as a reminder for special dates in the wearer’s life, such as birthdays or various other anniversaries. Naturally, in order for all of this to be possible, the wearer must be able to set the current date. The current date is adjusted by two pushers on the left side of the case and indicated on the appropriate apertures on the rear side. Furthermore, the case-back with a transparent section likewise includes a lovely winding rotor which features star-shaped decorations.
Six Types of Semi-Precious Stones and Pink Gold on the Dial
However, the technical excellence that allows you to wear a proper planetarium on your wrist is just a half of the story. The other half is the execution of the planetarium which is made in accordance with the glorious tradition of Van Cleef & Arpels which is also a world-renowned jeweler. In the center of the dial is the Sun which is represented by a pink gold sphere, while for the planets the manufacturer used selection of different hardstones. Serpentine represents Mercury, chloromelanite is used for Venus, turquoise for the Earth, blue agate for Jupiter and sugilite for Saturn. Each of the spheres is sculpted by an artisan by hand and is made in a different color. Of course, due to the huge differences in size of the planets, these spheres are not scaled models. Moreover, each of the planets (as well as the shooting star in pink gold that shows the time) circles the dial on a separate disc made of aventurine which all in congruence make the face of the watch seem like the night sky. Regarding the dial, we should also say that the aventurine disc which is furthest away from the center contains applied pink gold Arabic numerals and dot-shaped markers that signify 15 minute increments.
Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium Poetic Complication watch comes in a 44 mm wide round housing made of pink gold. For the attachment, the manufacturer selected a black alligator strap which locks with a folding clasp made of pink gold. Each Midnight Planetarium watch is individually numbered. As it has been mentioned, the basic version of this magnificent timepiece with the astronomical theme is priced around a quarter of a million dollars. There is likewise an even more glamorous version with baguette-cut diamonds on the bezel and round diamonds on the clasp whose steep price measures to around a third of a million.