Friday, November 23, 2012

Watch Companies and Their Pets

Boucheron Grenoui
Representation of animals on peoples possessions have been around since the dawn of mankind. From the earliest cave paintings to the latest cyber pets, humans are fixated on animal motifs.
Exquisite depictions of creatures are found on many a watch.  Cartier Prowls around with a Panther; Maurice Lacrox  harbors a starfish and Boucheron has a thing for frogs and feathered friendsMB & F took a Panda for a ride atop its Thunderbolt HM4 for the Only Watch Auction 2011, while Urwerk lurks in crevices with its Tarantula Timepieces.  Urwerk is not the only one with a fascination for venomous arachnids, the  Ladoire Black Widow  has quite a bite. Concord has let its Black Spider out the cage, while Urwek heeds the call of the Phoenix. Parmigiani summons in a dragon for the Chinese New Year and Cartier captures a croc. Vacheron Constantin lets loose a flock of birds or fish if you wish, while Hermes and Angular Momentum both reign in a herd of horses. Serpents slither across the dial of a Richard Mille RM 026 tourbillon and Piaget's glittering birds perch upon a branch in a Piaget Limelight Garden Party.


Van Cleef & Arpels needs special mention in this regard,  as superb enameling creates creatures of extraordinary splendor. In the 1950's Van Cleef & Arpels wanted to increase its elite customer base and cater to a larger group of admirers.  The result was a lovely catalog named “La Boutique” in 1954 featuring brooches of 'Curious Creatures".  These playful whimsical creatures were somewhat affordable and highly collectible. With the purchase of the Cat Brooch one wanted the lion or the giraffe  ,the adorable bunny brooch or the monocled bulldog. Van Cleef & Arpels used its whimsical representation of creatures to win the hearts of many.



Lady Arpels African Landscape
To this day, Van Cleef & Arpels has been adorning the watch dials with animals of all kinds. Many gracing the face of Van Cleef & Arpels Extraordinary dials. 

Check out my all time favorites.

Lady Arpels African Landscape
Van Cleef & Arpels took great inspiration from the pioneer of science fiction, Jules Verne, and created dial landscapes of incredible wonder based on his tales.  The "Les Voyages" collection and Poetry of Time Collection.  Born and bred on the African soil, I always gravitate towards African themed depictions.
A Van Cleef & Arpel dial is not simply a beautiful image surrounded by a frame.  A Van Cleef & Arpel dial exudes an emotional atmosphere activating a variety of sensory experiences.  The giraffe themed dial creates a vivid sense of the dry hot Savannah sun where rainfall is seasonal and dappled shade is cast from small leaved trees. A bejeweled giraffe protects her offspring against the backdrop of the yellow sand and pale blue sky.  The elephant and his young one resides in a rather more tropical area where rain is abundant and  the sky is often stormy with sudden storms.
It takes rare talent to create dials such as these and each dial undergoes many processes such as  inlaying, stone selection, cutting and setting, lacquering, hand engraving and enameling to create an "Extraordinary Dial."

One of the latest Van Cleef & Arpels Collection is the Extraordinary Dials Hummingbird Collection reminding me always of a Springtime garden tea party. There are quite a few models all beautifully created and full of life.  Three techniques were used in creating these dials: setting of precious stones, champleve enamelling, as well as three-dimensional enameling. One thing I love about these watches is the  830p mechanical movement.  Often times watch companies, especially when it comes to women's watches,  create a wonderful dial of magnificent splendor and then place a quartz movement within the case. However for the Poetry of Time timepieces and Extraordinary Dials, Van Cleef & Arpels goes mechanical.


Another Van Cleef & Arpels dial I simply love is this adorable depiction of mother and baby hippo wallowing in the water.  The intricate alternating shades of watery greens epitomizes the exquisite skill of craft applied to the dial.

From the hot African sun to the frigid Antarctic air - Van Cleef & Arpels utilizes a variety of colors, precious stones, materials and techniques to create the desired look.  The ability to create a still image into a living segment of time, well that's Extraordinary. 


1 comment:

  1. Fabulous writeup. Spectacular color and beauty in these watches.

    ReplyDelete