SIHH 2013…the Magic Ballerina…
There are still a handful or two of watches that debuted last week at SIHH 2013 that deserve a closer look. Let’s start with a quick look at the Van Cleef & Arpels Ballerine Enchantée, born into the Maison’s “Poetic Complication” line. Not particularly known for its men’s pieces, Van Cleef is however known for graceful, feminine pieces such as this. Following 2011’s Five Weeks In a Balloon and “From the Earth to the Moon” (unique piece for ONLY WATCH 2011) it’s always great to see what they come up with next. This year Van Cleef has drawn inspiration from a quote by Anna Pavlova which echoes the imagery of the Maison: ”I’ve been dreaming that I was a ballerina, and that I was spending my whole life dancing as lightly as a butterfly…” Indeed.
More details, below.
The central figure is a miniature ballerina, sculpted in relief of gold and set with diamonds. The layered veils of her tutu, light and transparent, create the magic of the piece. While an inner layer of champlevé enamel clothes the dancer, the outer layer acts as a pair of openwork wings which come to life to display the time on demand of the wearer. Note also the wave guilloché background, with a beautiful violet hue; it sits beneath several layers of translucent Grand Feu enamel are then applied to lend depth and brilliance to the ensemble.
The double retrograde movement displays time on demand in a “poetic” fashion, as we come to expect from the Maison. Here, when the user presses a button at the 8 o’clock position, the ballerina’s tutu comes to life. The veil indicating the hours rises first (left), followed by the second veil which positions itself against the minute scale. They remain in place, enabling the time to be read, then return simultaneously to their initial positions. One of the feats of this complication lies in its fluid movement: the ballerina appears to move her wings with grace and poise.