Dutch independent watchmaker Christiaan van der Klaauw and Van Cleef & Arpels have joined hands to unveil their new Midnight Planétarium Poetic Complication – stunning timepieces that depict the real-time position of the Earth and five planets around the sun. Christiaan van der Klaauw was brought onboard for his insight into astronomical complications and as a long-time AHCI member to create the new Midnight Planétarium Poetic Complication. A miniature of the solar system, the planetarum displays the position of six planets, the Earth, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, as they orbit the Sun, positioned at the center of the dial.
Each of the latter five planets is visible from the Earth on a clear night. Each of the planets rotate exactly as they do in their actual orbits, meaning 29 years for Saturn, 12 for Jupiter, while Mars takes 687 days, Earth 365 days, Venus 224 days and Mercury 88 days. In real time, there is little movement on the dial over time especially in the outer planets; taking nearly 30 years to make one round of the dial. Saturn will remain in place for much of the owner’s lifetime. The time is indicated, very much approximately, with a shooting star on the edge of the star against a 24 hour scale. Because of the graduations on the dial, they can be indicated to only around 15 minutes accuracy, a small matter against the decades of planetary orbit. All the tiny spheres representing each planet are made of precious materials – the Sun in pink gold and the other planets in semi-precious stones and are set against a disc made of aventurine, a quartz crystal with glittering mineral inclusions. There is also a monthly calendar on the edge of the dial which unlike a regular calendar can be used to position a red arrow at the desired day and month. This is meant to be the wearer’s lucky day, on which the Earth on the dial will come direction below a lucky star etched on the sapphire crystal.
Totaling 396 components, the planetarium module was developed by Van der Klaauw, while the base movement is the automatic RD821 from Roger Dubuis. With a 44 mm case in pink gold, the Midnight Planétarium Poetic Complication is expected to retail for $258,000.
Van Cleef & Arpels also unveiled its Lady Arpels Zodiac timepieces, a set of twelve limited edition watches that depict the different signs of the Western Zodiac each set in a white gold case with 38mm diameter, bezel set with round diamonds and a crown set with a round diamond while its mother-of-pearl dial features various studded, Zodiac symbols.