Text by Alexandre Ghotbi, photos by Alberto Schileo
© April 2006 by Alberto Schileo, Alexandre Ghotbi and ThePuristS.com
and you may click on the image to enlarge it.
The SIHH is basically a Richemont show with all their brands along with a certain number of independents such as Audemars Piguet, Girard Perregaux and Roger Dubuis. 2006 was a good vintage with many interesting pieces, original designs and especially a great occasion to see many friends from around the globe with whom we meet up once a year.
Van Cleef and Arpels
Many of you are probably wondering what the hell VC&A is doing in this write up!! Well, lower your noses and get rid of that horrified look on your face, because some of the nicest and most creative things we saw was in fact here!!
What is interesting to note is that as all of you know VC&A is a jewelry brand, which enables them to have a different approach to watch making and to think out of the box.
Their ladies Four Seasons watch is probably one of the most creative watches I saw this year! In fact it has a mother of pearl marquetry style dial behind of which is a disc with miniature enamel paintings representing the 4 seasons. This disc rotates once a year as to have the painting depicted represent the season one is in. An ingenious mechanism on the back enables the disc to be precicely set at the correct date. A poetic complication which I would love to see in a man’s watch. VC&A takes custom orders if a client wishes to have a different motif on the rotating disc.
The Monsieur Arpels with lateral power reserve display is another great example of VC&A’s alternative designs. The tri lug case features an excentric sub seconds dial but the most original feature is a power reserve display cut in the side of a case with an arrow moving sideways to indicate the reserve of the mainspring barrel. Quirky and cool. I could definitely see myself wearing one of these :-).
The other interesting piece also from the Monieur Arpels line was the Reveil GMT Bi Retrograde, here the dial works are what surprised me the most. The dial is made of slate (yes the stone!!) and black mother of pearl (the back of the MOP is painted and therefore does not have the habitual sheen of MOP with its changing colors but looks more like black enamel). The indication for even dates was not printed but actually engraved…this is something many watch brands should get inspiration from!
For those (like myself) not familiar withVan Cleef & Arpels timepieces I can only advise you to have a closer look at this brand, its definately worth looking into.