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Van Cleef & Arpels unveils “Midnight in Monaco” watch
August 9, 2009 - Only Watch is an extraordinary auction event which is held every two years in Monaco during the Monaco Yacht Show under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II.
Midnight-in-Monaco
Midnight in Monaco : The Unique
Van Cleef & Arpels Only Watch 09

This year 34 high watchmaking brands have each made either a unique watch, a prototype, or the first of a limited series for the auction on September 24.

All the proceeds from Only Watch go to support research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

“The piece that we are giving to Only Watch this year is a unique piece, Midnight in Monaco, based on our Poetic Complications,” says Nicolas Bos, Vice-president and Art Director of Van Cleef & Arpels.

Most of Van Cleef & Arpels pieces are inspired by stories or works of art – Midsummer Night’s Dream, Atlantis, Les Jardins – stories that have their roots in different cultures and traditions.

So for watches, the House collaborated with some of the World’s best watchmakers to develop movements that could also tell stories.

“Once again we worked with very simple ideas,” says Bos, “even though many of our pieces are quite complex in the making.

“We started with ladies’ watches, with the idea to go against current trends and use the highest level of craftsmanship for mechanical movements to show what time means to the House – which is a time linked to natural rhythms.”

Bos’s first idea was to create a watch that would show the passing of the seasons – something that had to be extremely slow but accurate, where you couldn’t see movement with the naked eye.

“We developed variations on this movement and our next idea was to take the whole universe of fairies and fairy tales and magic found in our jewellery and incorporate it into our watches. The idea being that you see the story and not the movement.”

“Something I really like,” says Bos, “is the poetic approach to astronomy of scientific books from the 18th and 19th century where there is no difference made between astronomy and astrology. I love this kind of old-fashioned romantic feeling of the stars.”

Which is how Van Cleef & Arpels came to design Midnight in Paris.

“For Only Watch,” says Bos, “we decided to make a special platinum Midnight in Monaco version of this watch which shows the exact position of the stars in the sky over Monaco as they are each night at midnight.”

The watch dial, which is made in aventurine glass – Moreno glass with particles of copper giving a Milky Way effect – displays a very accurate map of the sky that is also a hemisphere.

Hand-painted on this dial are all the constellations and a map of the sky in the southern hemisphere. In the centre oval is displayed the exact position of the stars in the sky over Monaco as they are at midnight each night.

At the back of the watch is a unique gold sculpture painted in enamel.

www.vancleef-arpels.com
www.patrizziauction.com





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