January 15, 2010
by Ariel Adams
One can always expect beautiful artistic watch creations from Van Cleef & Arpels each year at SIHH. Not that any of the watches are affordable to the lay person. For examples these models are all in platinum. They are highly primed for visual appreciation. Of the 2010’s new collections from Van Cleef & Arpels is the Midnight Extraordinary Series. I don’t know exactly how models there are. but here are three from the main California Landscapes collection, and two below from the Midnight Extraordinary Japanese Lacquer series.
I am most interested in the California Landscapes series, likely because I live in California. It is true that not all the scenes are at night (in contrast tot he “midnight” part of the name), but each are interesting feats of talent. Instead of just enamel on dial paintings, the landscapes are done with some enamel work, but also a mosaic of jewels and stones. I have not the talent to indicate what stones have been used (that would be like being able to reserve engineer floats in the Rose Parade) but here are each landscape depicted in the series (only three of them or shown here). We have the natural looks of Big Spring, Apache Terraces, Turquoise Canyon, Granite Peak and White Creek, all places in California – a few of which I’ve never heard of. Still, I can recognize the look of the land as I have been through some of it.
The watch cases are all in 42mm wide platinum. Very heavy and expensive I am sure. Inside the watches are Van Cleef & Arpels Caliber 800P automatic movements. There is additional art work on the rear of the watches that is engraved. The straps are black alligator. The collection comes in a limited edition of 8 pieces per scene.
You then have the thematically similar Midnight Extraordinary Japanese Lacquer Series models. Also in limited editions of 8 piece per model, these continue the “midnight” dark tones with classic Japanese scene imagery. I do think that the reason the collection is called “Midnight” is because most Van Cleef & Arpels watches that I have seen display vivid bright colors – mostly feminine. These watches are most masculine in demeanor.
The Japanese Lacquer models also have five versions. The two pictured ones have rich variety of mocha browns and other tones common in traditional Japanese art work. Van Cleef & Arpels used five works from master artist Hakose San. Each faithfully re-visioned for use on a watch dial. These models also have 42mm wide platinum cases and contain automatic Caliber 800P movements. Each of the watches in the Midnight Extraordinary series aren’t the easiest to read in terms of the time, but these are really art watches, meant to show off the dials and display the time in more of a secondary way. I’ll try to get more images of these obvious beauties soon.