Monochrome Watches
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Van Cleef & Arpels Puts the Poetry of the Planets on Your Wrist – The Midnight Planetarium Poetic Complication

| By Mario Squillacioti | 3 min read |
Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium

There is something inherently poetic about something that slowly, but steadily assures us by repeating. Aside from inspiring poetry with their beauty and their hold over our emotions, the procession of the planets is somewhat poetical in and of itself. Van Cleef & Arpels team up with Christiaan van der Klaauw to add another stanza to their growing reputation for fine and fanciful watches with their new Midnight Planetarium Poetic Complication.

Here we go again, back to existentialism: time is NOT just an abstraction created by bored people to waste… well – time. Time was (more or less) given to us by the celestial bodies above our heads (and the one below our feet.) The cosmic dance Man witnesses each night in the sky gave rise to Astrology, Astronomy and of course reams of poetry. Once Man had a reckoning of how to master time locally it became a fixation to master it ‘cosmically’. The new Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium Poetic Complication masters time cosmically – on your wrist!

Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium

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At 44mm, the rose gold Planetarium Poetic only displays time on a 24-hour display. It also manages to put time into a unique perspective. To be precise, it puts it in the context of the Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn (all the planets visible to the naked eye) and their positions in our solar system. The planets themselves are expertly executed in aventurine (for the substrait of the solar system itself), serpentine (Mercury), chloromelanite (Venus), turquoise (Earth), red jasper (Mars), blue agate (Jupiter) and sugilite Saturn).

The lyrical artistic expression of dreams in gold and stone has been the domain of Van Cleef and Arpels for the past 118 years. For the past 6 years, Van Cleef & Arpels have made a reputation for presenting watches that have unique and playful displays. Lurking below the precious and artistic surface of the Midnight Planetarium Poetic is the handy work of a true Dutch Master, Christiaan van der Klaauw. Van der Klaauw is well documented on the pages of for taking some of the most complicated astronomical events and finding a way to express them in miniature mechanical form.

Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium

For the Planetarium Poetic, Van der Klaauw has created an automatic movement consisting of 396 components that accurately tracks not only our time here on Earth, and day of the year, but also the procession of planets as they move around the Sun. If you are slightly bored you can watch as the shooting-star tells the time on the 24 hour dial. If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, watch as Mercury makes it’s passage around the Sun in a scant 88 days (I’d be 170 years old if we were on Mercury!) If you’ve got slightly more time to burn, watch for 29 years as Saturn sloooooowly makes its way ‘round.

For me, the most whimsical aspect of the watch is the ‘so-called’ Lucky Day. Use the bezel to select one day of the year to be your Lucky Day (it could be your birthday, anniversary… any day, you pick it.) As the Earth moves around the Sun it will fall underneath the star painted on the crystal on your Lucky Day.

So, the next time you are sitting in the boardroom, waiting for the bell to ring and announce that it’s time for coffee and donuts, look down at your Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium Poetic Complication and pass the time trying to reckon the next planetary Syzygy.

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