Van Cleef & Arpels is having a moment. The French jeweler, which created its first timepiece exactly 100 years ago, had the best booth at Watches & Wonders this year, according to our own editor-in-chief Paul Croughton, and presented a mesmerizing new Planetarium table clock at the show. On top of that, two of its most coveted modern designs will lead Hindman’s Watches auction next week.
The sale, which will take place online and live in Chicago on April 12, comprises 120 sought-after vintage and contemporary pieces from the likes of Patek Philippe, Ulysse Nardin, Cartier, Franck Muller, and Roger Dubuis. It will also include a formidable range of historic pocket watches from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The star of the auction is one of Van Cleef’s Pont des Amoureux (“lover’s bridge” in French) watches. Introduced in 2010 and then updated in 2019, the decidedly romantic wrist candy is one of the house’s most in-demand models. It is driven by a complication developed exclusively for Van Cleef by Jean-Marc Weiderrecht of Agenhor that sees two sculpted gold lovers come together for a kiss in the moonlight on a bridge (the Pont des Arts) in Paris.
After the three-minute rendezvous, the woman returns to the beginning of a jumping retrograde hour scale on one side of the dial and the man to his retrograde minutes on the other. Twelve hours later, the couple meets again in the middle. The hand-painted dial showcases the grisaille enamel technique and sits in a 38 mm white-gold case with a diamond-encrusted bezel. The dazzling piece is expected to fetch between $70,000 and $90,000 at the upcoming sale.
The Lady Arpels Ronde Des Papillons watch on offer (estimate: $60,000 to $80,000) is another example of Van Cleef’s extraordinary craftsmanship. The mechanical marvel is equipped with another exclusive movement created by Agenhor that sees three colored butterflies circle between the clouds to show the minutes and a swallow “fly” along a separate scale to indicate the hour. The backdrop for this dreamy spectacle is a gorgeous mother-of-pearl dial, which is surrounded by a white-gold case and glittering diamond bezel, naturally.
Another highlight of the contemporary offering is a stylish Ulysse Nardin Sonata in yellow gold (estimate: $8,000 to $12,000), while the standouts of the vintage selection include a platinum A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 (estimate: $20,000 to $30,000) and a yellow-gold Rolex Submariner (estimate: $20,000 to $30,000).
The full collection can be viewed online here. Happy bidding.