A sun made of pink gold sits in the centre of the dial. Around it revolve a mother-of-pearl Mercury and turquoise Earth, which have been meticulously hand-cut into perfect spheres. Venus, meanwhile, is represented by a green enamel bead, and the moon is a brilliant-cut diamond. "An invitation to plunge into the cosmos and observe the dance of the planets" is how Van Cleef & Arpels describes its Poetic Astronomy family of watches. And in the instance of its new Midnight Planétarium, the flowery pose is more than warranted.
The bejewelled planets are set against a midnight blue background that is granted depth through the use of seven aventurine discs, which are placed in concentric circles and rotate individually. As a result, each celestial body moves at its actual speed, orbiting the dial in 88 days in the case of Mercury, 224 days for Venus and 365 days for Earth. The moon, meanwhile, rotates around the Earth in 29.5 days. Should you also wish to use your watch for something as pedestrian as telling the time, a rhodium-plated gold shooting star on the outer edge of the dial will do the job.
The case of the watch measures 38 millimetres in diameter and is set with diamonds on the bezel and sides. A new self-winding mechanical movement was specifically developed for this smaller case size, in collaboration with Christiaan van der Klaauw. There are two options when it comes to the strap: a blue-glitter alligator option with a white gold pin buckle, or a white gold bracelet set with diamonds. The back of the case features a turquoise circle that sits snug within a half-moon picked out in diamonds.
This lady’s watch comes four years after the unveiling of the Midnight Planétarium for men, which has been carefully restyled for its new audience. It was launched at the SIHH watch fair in January, but made a trip to Dubai last month, so it could be presented to select clients and members of the press.
Continuing with the celestial theme, Van Cleef & Arpels also unveiled the Midnight Zodiac Lumineux Poetic Complications watches for men – a series of 12 timepieces that take their inspiration from the signs of the zodiac. The symbols for Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius and Capricorn are illuminated on the dial via an electrical charge. This is generated by the watch itself and created via the vibration of a ceramic blade – a highly complex process developed exclusively for Van Cleef & Arpels.