Once again, Van Cleef & Arpels showed its high technical skill and know-how with the new centennial watch collection presented exclusively at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. The inspiration is voyager and writer of the 19th century Jules Verne. Designed by Elie Bleu, the precious wooden cabinet’s lid is decorated by a world map created with inlays of different woods outlining the five continents, the seas, the oceans and the huge ice caps. Four portholes fitted with a magnifying glass offer a glimpse of what awaits inside.
The four watches, inspired by Jules Verne’s series Les Voyages Extraordinaires, will adorn the interiors of the cabinet. They are the Midnight ‘Les 4 Voyages’ five weeks in a Ballon, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, From the Earth to the Moon and A Journey to the Center of the Earth. For these particular pieces in the 2011 collection, Dominique Baron, the specialist to whom Van Cleef & Arpels has entrusted the enamelling of these dials, employs the technique of paillonné enamel. The first layer consists of a very fine sheet of gold or silver onto which several coats of translucent enamel are then applied.
Midnight ‘Les 4 Voyages’ Five weeks in a Balloon
A balloon rises into the sky and prepares to fly over a snowcovered mountain peak. In the lower part of the dial, a rhinoceros crosses the savannah. The whole enamelled background is created in a subtle cameo of greens.
Midnight ‘Les 4 Voyages’ Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea
The eye slowly descends from the shimmering blue at the surface of the water to the dark blue in the sombre depths. A man in a diving suit is exploring the contours of the sea floor.
Midnight ‘Les 4 Voyages’ A Journey to the Center of the Earth
The ochre tones of the enamelled decor evoke the Earth and the elemental forces at work in its core. The voyage begins, as in Jules Verne’s novels, at the foot of the erupting volcano in the centre of the dial.
Midnight ‘Les 4 Voyages’ From the Earth to the Moon
The background of the dial in dark blue enamel evokes the infinity of space where, as night falls, the stars, planets and comets appear.