(Credit: Van Cleef & Arpels)
The Complication Poétique Midnight Planétarium watch by jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels is a piece of gorgeous luxury inspired by the dance of the planets.
We measure a year by the time it takes the Earth to orbit the sun and a day by the time it takes the earth to complete one full rotation. All our time is ruled by the solar system — and it's this, in microcosm, that high-end jeweller and watchmaker Van Cleef & Arpels has sought to embody in its latest complication, unveiled at this year's Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie.
Inspired by orreries and planetariums, the 44-millimetre Complication Poétique Midnight Planétarium is a thing of beauty. Created by Dutch master watchmaker Christiaan van der Klaauw, who specialises in astronomical complications, it boasts a massive 396 parts so that six of the planets in our solar system can take their place rotating on separate discs on the watch's dial: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — all the planets visible to the naked eye.
And here's where it gets magnificent: each of the six planets is true to its real orbit. Mercury will take 88 days to make a circuit around the sun in the centre of the watch; Venus 224 days; Earth 365 days; Mars 687 days; Jupiter 12 years; and Saturn 29 years.
The discs themselves are made of polished aventurine, and each planet is a semiprecious stone. Mercury is serpentine, Venus is chloromelanite, Earth is turquoise, Mars is red jasper, Jupiter is blue agate and Saturn is sugilite. The sun at the centre is rose gold, as is the shooting star that circumvents the outermost edge of the dial — marking the actual time of day or night via the 24-hour markings inlaid in rose gold.
A rotating rose gold outer bezel lets you choose a special "lucky day". On that day, the Earth will move under the star engraved in the sapphire crystal to mark your chosen day.
Housed inside is the RD821 self-winding movement from Manufacture Roger Dubuis, and the watch comes on a strap of black alligator leather.
Pricing is, of course, via request through the jeweller's website, but expect it to be somewhere upwards of US$285,000.