The two French jewellers Salomon Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef set up their company in 1896 but did not open their first store, at 22, Place Vendôme in Paris, until 1906. The brand then started its formidable rise to fame by progressively opening stores in the new towns frequented by the jet-set: Deauville, Le Touquet, Nice and Monte-Carlo. In 1999 the company was acquired by the Richemont group.
Van Cleef & Arpels produced the world’s first wristwatch (in yellow or white gold) with a leather strap, in 1923. The Padlock wristwatch caused a sensation in 1936, as did the Take-me-Anywhere in 1939. The P.A. 49 with its extra-flat case was presented in 1949. Today the brand transforms watches into objects of art and ingenuity.