Van Cleef & Arpels

oldSince its founding, Van Cleef & Arpels has been one of the world’s most renowned and exclusive jewellery houses. While serving the rich, royal, and famous, they also made watches on a small scale powered by movements from some of the most famous watchmakers in the world. In 1949, Pierre Arpels decided to make a watch specifically for himself. It was a classic, round watch with an ultra-slim movement and Roman numerals. To attach it to the strap, he used a design made by Louis Cartier in 1934, of which the patent had just expired. They are known as the Vendôme-lugs, after the famous square Van Cleef & Arpels landmark boutique is housed, and consist of a bar connected to the case by a single, centrally placed lug.

The watch of Pierre Arpels got noticed as he mingled with his wealthy clientele, many of who asked him to make one for them. And so the Pierre Arpels became part of the collection of Van Cleef & Arpels, where it is still today. During those decades, many different versions of the watch were made, mostly in yellow gold, but all in very limited numbers. This larger version comes from the 1990s and is crafted from white gold. What makes this particular watch even rarer and unique than most other Pierre Arpels is the dial. With a very subtle design, featuring two different types of brushed finishes, it resembles the layout of Place Vendôme, the home of Van Cleef & Arpels in the heart of Paris.

While Van Cleef & Arpels mainly relied on Piaget to supply it with ultra-slim movements for the Pierre Arpels watches, this particular version is also different in that matter. Here the brand turned to Jaeger-LeCoultre and got the movement that powers their legendary Master Ultra-Thin, caliber 849, for this Pierre Arpels. This movement is as good as it gets when it comes to classic ultra-slim manual wound calibers and has a thickness of only 1.85mm. Being Van Cleef & Arpels, they opted for a solid gold caseback, creating the ultimate understatement. This Pierre Arpels is  fitted with a custom-made strap of beautiful grey alligator nubuck with a lining of green crocodile leather. This subtly underscores the precious and rare nature of this superb gold dress watch crafted by one of the most renowned luxury brands in the world and powered by one of the best movements made by a brand that is known in the industry as ‘the watchmakers’ watchmaker.’

reference: 302032
case number: 14XXXX
year of production: ca.
material: 18k white gold
case diameter: 34mm
movement: manual wind, ultra thin caliber
box and papers: no