The French jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels has unveiled yet another member of its Les Voyages Extraordinaries collection of jewelry, which counts more than a hundred of highly exclusive pieces and includes necklaces, pendants and earrings. Like the rest of the collection, the Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Complication Five weeks in a balloon watch was inspired by Jules Verne`s novel Cinq semaines en ballon published in 1863.
Like most jewelers, Van Cleef & Arpels doesn’t go very much into details regarding the inner workings of the new watch, but looks very proud describing how meticulously its exterior was created by the brand’s team of artisans.
Its round case, for example, is crafted from white gold with its surface painstakingly polished for mirror finish. The spotless shining of the body is nicely accented by the short (but apparently easy to grasp winding/setting crown) that shorts a rather rare notching pattern on its sides.
Being whole 42 millimeters in diameter, the precious body of the watch may be too big for especially small ladies, but at least it provides an adequate real estate for the meticulously crafted dial of the piece: a truly gorgeous part that is basically the reason for creating the watch at all. Depicting a balloon flying in Zanzibar sky, it is embellished with champleve enamel and inlaid with mother-of-pearl depicting the clouds. Although, at first glance, the motif looks like it has nothing to do with horology, it soon becomes clear that there are two moving parts on the dial: the balloon’s tiny “anchor” serves as a minutes indicator, and an “eagle” shape flying around another scale on the left side of the dial is an hours pointer.
The flying bird of prey and the anchor replace the traditional retrograde hour and minute hands naturally and look surprisingly convincing. The whole setup works thanks to the good old cal. 846 hand-wound movement made by Jaeger-LeCoultre (small and thin, the engine powers a number of JLC’s own ladies watches) with an exclusive retrograde module developed by the same Jaeger-LeCoultre specifically for the French fashion house.
Well, in fact, this is probably the same caliber that powers their earlier Poetic Complication Le Pont des Amourex watch officially presented in January at SIHH 2010.
Both houses belong to the well-known Richemont Group -a conglomerate of premium brands that also owns Cartier, Piaget, and Roger Dubuis-, so Van Cleef & Arpels has almost unlimited access to the most refined movements available on the market.
No info on pricing yet, but we here at WorldWatchReview.com expect this jewelry wristwatch to be very expensive.
Photos: Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Complication Five Weeks in a Balloon hand-wound watch specification
Price: TBD (very expensive)
Movement: Hand-wound, Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 846 with an exclusive retrograde module, Swiss Made
Functions: Retrograde hours, minutes
Power reserve: Around 40 hours
Case material: White gold
Bezel material: White gold
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: No data
Dial: Champleve enamel, mother of pearl
Hands: White gold
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Black leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating on both sides
Case back: No data