In 1949, Pierre Arpels, the son of one of the founders of Van Cleef & Arpels, created the PA 49, a round, ultra-flat classical watch with a Jaeger-LeCoultre movement and innovative central strap attachments. 55 years later, at this year’s SIHH, the brand offered a reinterpreted and modernized model using a 35 mm stainless steel case with a curved bezel, slightly elongated Roman numerals and a date window at 4.30. The watch is still equipped with a Jaeger-LeCoultre automatic Calibre movement that is visible through the sapphire caseback.
However, it is the three new Monsieur Arpels models that have grabbed the limelight and taken the brand into the more rarefied technical universe of watch complications. The new models are the Monsieur Arpels Dual Time, the Monsieur Arpels Alarm and the Monsieur Arpels Chronograph. Each watch has its own personality, its own specific complications illustrating that the brand is capable of creating timepieces with complications that offer something different to today’s consumer. These additions to the Van Cleef & Arpels collections also highlight the fact that the brand, by broadening its offer to the male of the species, is taking the necessary steps to complement and balance its fine, innovative ladies’ collections with exceptional men’s wristwatches.
Front, back and side view of MONSIEUR ARPELS DUAL TIME.
The Monsieur Arpels Dual Time watch is available in either stainless steel or 18 carat yellow gold and has a white lacquered dial with three mother-of-pearl counters. The hour, minutes and seconds hands are placed centrally. At 10 o’clock there is a power reserve indicator with a hand that duplicates the shape of the piece within the movement. The date dial is at 2 o’clock and is adjusted from a very discrete push button at 2 o’clock. The bi-directional second time zone dial is at 6 o’clock and is adjusted from the crown at 3 o’clock. Both dials slightly overlap the larger power reserve indicator offering a pleasing fusion of dials within the dial. The movement is an automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre JLC 939 with a 40-hour power reserve.
However, the Monsieur Arpels Dual Time has two additional subtleties. The first is a small window on the side of the case at 9 o’clock that reveals the movement and the second is a ‘generational’ calendar engraved on a disc at the back of the case. The calendar shows months, days and date from 2004 to 2092 – which makes it valid for 88 years. However, to personalize the feature, Van Cleef & Arpels will engrave the calendar to begin with the year of the owner’s choice.
MONSIEUR ARPELS ALARM
The Monsieur Arpels Alarm is much more than a mere alarm. Available in either 18 carat yellow gold or stainless steel, the watch is equipped with an automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre JLC 918 movement with a power reserve of 44 hours and has a central mother-of-pearl disc that shows the time in 24 cities around the world.
The alarm has a pleasing sound and is amplified by the vibrating caseback and the indi-cator for setting the alarm is a red triangle within the central disc. There are Roman numerals set within a large circle of white lacquer and there is a date aperture at 4.30. To add a further dimension to the appearance of this timepiece, the movement can be observed through two elegant windows on the side of the case at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock.
Adjustments for hours, minutes and the date are made from the crown at 4 o’clock and the alarm and the central disc showing the cities are regulated from the crown at 2 o’clock.
MONSIEUR ARPELS CHRONOGRAPH
The Monsieur Arpels Chronograph is a Limited Edition of just 49 pieces (as a homage to Pierre Arpels). The case is in 18 carat pink gold and is equipped with a Swiss mechanical VCA (M47) movement with a 38-hour power reserve. The white lacquer dial has two Roman numerals, XII and a VI, with indices for the other hours and a graduating scale for the chronograph and the tachometer. The seconds and minute counters are placed at 9 and 3 o’clock and the movement can be seen through the sapphire caseback. All the functions are activated from the crown at 3 o’clock.
The triumvirate of new watches are water-resistant to 30 metres and come with either a black crocodile deployant strap for those models in stainless steel and a mink-brown crocodile deployant strap for the gold versions.
The spirit of the brand
“Van Cleef & Arpels is renowned for its jewellery, it’s the heart of the brand,” explains Philippe Belais, Managing Director of the brand’s Watch Division, “and jewellery is the domain of the ladies. But obviously that does not stop us creating for men - and jewellery for men is generally considered to be the watch.
“The spirit of the brand is innovation, and since we hadn’t created any new timepieces for men for around fifty years, obviously we had to create innovative watches.
“Despite only having the same basic men’s watch collection for all those years (the PA 49 round and square versions), men’s watches remained around twenty per cent of our watch turnover. Consequently, when we decided to develop a new watch collection we had to create something that was different, not only different from our own existing models, but also from the watches the other brands offer,” Belais stressed.
“The three watches we have now introduced are therefore innovative with their complications and also very elegant in appearance in keeping with the house style. These watches are addressed to those people who enjoy beautiful objects, but who also appreciate the various mechanical functions that a watch can offer.”
The new triumvirate of timepieces offer five different possibilities – in gold and stainless steel – and as Philippe Belais underlines, “the important factor is that there is a lot of room for us to develop.”