Perpetuating the tradition of the lucky jewelry created by the Maison in its early years, Van Cleef & Arpels devoted a collection to the signs of the Zodiac in the 1950s. Worn as precious talismans, these medallions of yellow gold were extremely popular right through to the 1980s. The theme was revisited more recently in the Palais de la chance collection, with twelve unique pieces of High Jewelry.
Today, Van Cleef & Arpels is renewing the tradition with a set of twelve limited edition watches that depict the signs of the Western Zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.
The twelves watches present the same 38mm white gold case, featuring bezel and crown set with round diamonds. They are powered by a manual-winding mechanical movement. The dials, though, are different.
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In the Lady Arpels Zodiac watches, various craft skills combine to evoke the different signs and instill the dials with life and sparkle. A specific engraving corresponds to each element – Earth, Water, Air and Fire – and adorns the background. The latter is then covered with a layer of translucent colored enamel – green, dark blue, light blue or red.
The appliques create different levels of depth within each dial. Motifs in sculpted gold, engraved and set with stones – notably a rose-cut diamond for the faces of the figurines and an opal for the scorpion – are joined by elements in sculpted mother-of-pearl that evoke leaves, waves, clouds or flames.
These compositions are further enhanced by a wealth of additional details: touches of opaque enamel, hard stone marquetry or stars set with yellow or white diamonds. The depicted constellation is also engraved on the back of the case.