French is a funny language, and I’ll admit that even when translated into English I often have trouble understanding it. That’s because so much of French is about “in-speak,” or otherwise a set of agreed upon meanings to otherwise untranslatable cultural terms. I first began to encounter this while spending a lot of time in France and Switzerland trying to decipher menus at restaurants. There seemed to be a local meaning to terms, so that when translated into English they still didn’t make sense.

As a non-French speaker I find that the term “cerfs-volants” which means kites to be a shining example of what I am talking about. The term means “kites” in English, but the individual words seem to translated into “flying deer.” So you’d just have to know that “flying deer” actually means kites in French. If I am missing something here by all means fill in my cultural void. Anyhow, this leads me to some extremely French, and extremely Van Cleef & Arpels “Cerfs-Volants” watches as part of their Extraordinary Dials collection of timepieces.

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Each year, Van Cleef & Arpels, one of my favorite “emotional” makers of high-end items, chooses a theme for its various collections of new limited edition watches. This year saw a return to butterflies. I say return because it seems as though butterflies are pretty much always just around the corner when it comes to being inspiration for feminine items. And no, sadly butterflies around the world are not at all compensated for a widespread exploitation of their likeness.

Among a range of gorgeous butterfly-theme watches and jewelry items comes this unique set of four limited edition watches that take the concept of butterflies and transforms them into flying kites. It is an interesting and refreshing take on featuring the pretty insects in a manner I’ve not yet seen before. As is typical of these themed sets of watches from Paris-based Van Cleef & Arpels, a matching presentation box of equal effort is available if someone chooses to acquire all four watches.

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Just look at the amazing detail and hand-work on the box. The cabinet style wood box is beautifully painted and lacquered, decorated with imagery and inlays of mother-of-pearl. I honestly get just as excited to see these presentation boxes as I am to see the watches each year. You’ll notice just how large the box is as well.


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