The French fashion and jewelry brand Van Cleef & Arpels has finally updated its Timeless collection with a new, larger-than-life version. Sporting an impressively massive oval case 50 mm x 35 mm in dimensions and a hand-engraved dial with its deep blue color, the Timeless XL (ref. VCARN9VB00) may not look as entertaining as their other collections featuring retrograde indicators and thoroughly executed “romantic” scenes, but it still leaves a strong impression on an unsuspecting mind.
Regrettably, in its press release Van Cleef & Arpels doesn’t go into great details regarding their new collection. It is, for example, not clear what kind of movement drives this beauty besides the fact that it is a “Swiss Quartz”, I can’t tell you anything regarding the thickness of the piece, and there is still no information regarding its price*.
Case, Ergonomics & Strap
Judging by the materials used, the sheer mass of gold needed to craft a watch that is almost two inches long and 1 3/8 inches wide, as well as the number and total weight of precious stones that adore this beauty, it surely won’t be cheap.
You can have this oversized beauty either in an 18-karat rose or (like in this particular case) white gold alloy set with dozens of round brilliant diamonds totaling approximately 3.75 carats.
As usual in this segment, Van Cleef & Arpels didn’t limit the employment of finely cut precious stones just to the bezel. There are smaller diamonds decorating its small setting crown, as well as a number of diamonds adorning the gold pin buckle and the large Roman numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock.
The size of the crown poses a mild usability issue since it won’t be as easy to manipulate as one of the more standard dimensions, although, for a watch powered by a quartz movement and lacking even the most basic of the calendar, this is not a serious issue, therefore our 4 stars out of 5 usability rating.
A blue satin strap would have suited this Arpels Timeless XL better, but even the blue alligator leather band that comes with this watch as standard is a good choice. Especially, if you consider the fact that it is, too, stitched by hand and perfectly matches the color of the gorgeous guilloched dial.
Dial & Legibility
It is also nice to point out that the blue dial of ref. VCARN9VB00 is guilloched by hand, not with some highly precise, but still completely soulless laser or mechanical engraving machine. Together with the chosen color, it looks as deep as the Mariana Trench, but obviously not as deadly.
I am not sure about the open-worked hour and minute hands, though. Like other parts, they are flawlessly executed and look almost perfect, but somehow make an impression that they were designed for another, sportier and more modern-looking watch. I guess a pair of leaf-shaped hands would look a lot better with this one.
Pricing & Availability
* UPDATE ON PRICE: In the United States, the timekeeper’s MSRP is set at fairly impressive (at least, for a watch sporting a quartz caliber) $46,000 USD.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Photos: James Katt / Betteridge.com
Van Cleef & Arpels Timeless XL in White Gold VCARN9VB00 specification
Price: $46,000 USD (MSRP)
Movement: Swiss Quartz
Functions: Hours, minutes
Case: 18-Karat White gold
Bezel: Set with diamonds
Dimensions: 50.00 mm x 35.00 mm
Case height: 10.00 mm
Dial: Blue, guilloched by hand
Numerals: Roman, set with diamonds
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Hand-stitched blue alligator leather strap, 18-karat gold buckle set with diamonds
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating
Back: Solid, engraved