Unveiled last January at SIHH 2013 event, the new Van Cleef & Arpels Ballerine Enchatee (ref. VCARO4F200) belongs to their well-known Poetic Complication family of timekeepers that feature meticulously crafted displays that are (almost literally) animated by retrograde movements. Playful yet deeply romantic, this timepiece is seems to pick up where the gorgeous 2007 Poetic Complication Feerie left off.
Although the jeweler doesn’t say a word about the origin of the movement that powers this delicate watch, I have a strong feeling that it is equipped with
the same (or, at least, a version of) Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 846 hand-wound movement* that features an exclusive retrograde add-on module. We have already seen this caliber in the other member of the collection: the beautiful Van Cleef & Arpels Five Weeks in a Balloon model that was presented just over two years ago.
The pair of photos that you can see above and below gives a good idea on the workings of the watch. Somewhat surprisingly, the time is indicated not with hands or legs, but with layered veils of the dancer’s XIX century-style tutu: the famous skirt, which is usually associated with this high-brow dance form.
Shaped like wings of some exotic butterfly, the left part of the skirt indicates hours and the right one points at minutes.
To activate the display, though, you will have to push at a fairly large button at 8 o’clock, which will make both parts of the veil come to life, stay at their respective positions for a while and then return to their normal places.
Done in relief technique, the white gold ballerina is decorated with tiny diamonds that are complimented with similarly cut precious stones that serve as hour and minute markers.
Another four dozens of larger diamonds serve as a perfect frame for the blue guilloche dial, which is covered with more than a few layers of translucent Grand Feu enamel that gives the face of the watch its characteristic depth and make the timekeeper look even more refined (it takes a highly skilled artisan to make such a dial and even then you can never be sure that the part will come out of the oven looking the way you want it to look).
* UPDATE ON MOVEMENT & RECOMMENDED PRICE: The wristwatch is in fact powered by the well-known caliber Piaget 830P that is equipped with a “retrograde time” module developed “exclusively” for Van Cleef & Arpels by an unspecified third-party manufacturer. As for the price, the watch is going to be initially offered at pretty impressive -but probably expected for such a refined piece of jewelry- MSRP of €129,000.
Photos: Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels Ballerine Enchatee Poetic Complication (ref. VCARO4F200) watch specification
Price: €129,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Manual (hand-wound,) Piaget 830P with an exclusive “retrograde time” module, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: No data
Movement frequency: No data
Power reserve: 59 hours
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Retrograde hours, minutes
Case material: White gold
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 40.50 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Blue guilloche with translucent Grand Feu enamel
Hour markers: Diamonds
Hands: White gold, Grand Feu enamel
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: White alligator leather strap with ardillon buckle in 18-carat white gold
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire