Ballet on the Wrist: The Story Behind Van Cleef & Arpels’ Lady Arpels Casse-Noisette | Savoir Flair
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Ballet on the Wrist: The Story Behind Van Cleef & Arpels’ Lady Arpels Casse-Noisette
article JOHANN SAUTY | VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
by Savoir Flair 4-minute read January 29, 2024

Time pirouettes on the wrists with Van Cleef & Arpels’ latest masterpieces.

Renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship and timeless designs, Van Cleef & Arpels continues to enchant the world of haute horlogerie. This year, the maison unveils two exceptional additions to its repertoire: the Lady Arpels Casse-Noisette and Lady Arpels Belle au Bois Dormant watches. These timepieces are marvels of watchmaking, as well as a celebration of the arts, merging the elegance of ballet with the meticulous craftsmanship of the Métiers d'Art. 

Savoir Flair explores the intricate world of these creations, exploring how they embody Van Cleef & Arpels’ unique vision of the Poetry of Time.

article JOHANN SAUTY | VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

Embracing a poetic view of life and time, Van Cleef & Arpels transcends the mere measurement of hours and minutes. Each creation is a narrative, a dream woven into the fabric of time. The maison’s philosophy, deeply rooted in its history, portrays timekeeping as an invitation to wander through a landscape of imagination, emotions, and unbridled happiness. The Lady Arpels Casse-Noisette and Belle au Bois Dormant are epitomes of this philosophy, where the art of watchmaking becomes a canvas for stories of love, luck, and fairy-tale enchantment.

JOHANN SAUTY | VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

Van Cleef & Arpels’ relationship with ballet began in the romantic era of 1920s Paris. Louis Arpels, often found in the audience of Opéra Garnier, passed his fervor for ballet to his nephew Claude. This passion materialized into the maison’s first ballerina clips in the early 1940s, quickly becoming a Van Cleef & Arpels signature. These elegant creations, featuring aerial postures and attire adorned with diamonds and colored stones, reflect the grace and dynamism of ballet dancers. The maison’s continuous homage to ballet is evident in its high jewelry and watchmaking pieces, including tributes to famous ballets and legendary dancers.

JOHANN SAUTY | VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
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breaker_image JOHANN SAUTY | VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
breaker_image JOHANN SAUTY | VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
article JOHANN SAUTY | VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

The Lady Arpels Casse-Noisette, inspired by Marius Petipa’s iconic ballet and Hoffmann’s fairytale, features a ballerina and her prince adorned in rose-cut diamonds and miniature painted costumes set against a vivid winter landscape. The tableau, a blend of 70 colors and various enameling techniques, showcases Van Cleef & Arpels’ richest creation to date. The dial, a miniature work of art, presents a multifaceted scene where a ballet of precious stones and innovative enameling techniques evoke the magic of a waking dream.

The Lady Arpels Belle au Bois Dormant watch brings to life Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s score and Marius Petipa’s choreography in a masterpiece of horological artistry. Princess Aurora, with her rose-cut diamond face, is depicted in a tender moment with her prince. The background features a hand-engraved rose gold castle, with ribbons of diamonds and champlevé enamel creating a scene of delicate beauty. The use of plique-à-jour enamel and a palette of gemstones adds to the watch's allure, making it a symbol of Van Cleef & Arpels' dedication to artistry and innovation.

JOHANN SAUTY | VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
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