Van Cleef & Arpels Five Weeks In A Balloon Watch
Each year Paris based Van Cleef & Arpels offers at least one new "poetic complication" timepiece. The term refers to the fact that the concept of the watch isn't to offer special utility, but rather evoke emotion. Last year the piece everyone was talking about was commonly referred to as the "Lover's Bridge." A man and women served as retrograde style hour and minutes hands - meeting at midnight to kiss.
That same retrograde style movement that is built on a Girard Perregaux base manually wound movement shows up again for 2011 in the "Five Weeks in a Balloon" watch. The watch is actually a rare men's pieces and was inspired by the Jules Verne classic "Les Voyages Extraordinaires." In the story characters spent a long time exploring the globe aboard a large hot-air balloon. The dial of the watch features a rendition of that balloon soaring above the clouds. A cloud conceals the source of the hands - one being a bird to indicate the hours, and another, being an anchor on a rope to indicate the minutes.
As always, the dial is a gorgeous creation, done by hand in champleve style enamel, and inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Not sure about the case size, though I imagine it will be about 40mm wide, and likely in 18k white gold. A lovely watch with a dream quality dial. Now you can enjoy the emotion of spending five weeks in a balloon without the corresponding smell of not showering. Look for this piece sometime in 2011.
Ariel Adams publishes the luxury watch reviews site aBlogtoRead.com.