Mesmerizing is the first word to mind when witnessing the beauty of Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Planetarium. How can you not be captivated by its beauty? The dream-like dial features Aventurine, a sparkly type of quartz, and precious materials such as mother-of-pearl and diamonds to form a sized down version of the solar system, at least with the nearest planets orbiting the Sun. While remarkably gorgeous, it actually isn’t the first of its kind as it is a smaller follow up of the Van Cleef and Arpels Midnight Planetarium released back in 2014, but this time marketed for women.
Release date & price
Release date: 2018
Price when reviewed: US$245,000.00 on a strap | US$330,000.00 on a diamond-set bracelet
Made in collaboration once again with renowned astrological watchmaker Christiaan van der Klaauw, the Lady Arpels Planetarium watch has the valuable gems rotate the Sun in the actual time it takes the planets they represent to complete a single orbit—that’s 88 days for Mercury, 224 days for Venus, and 365 days for the Earth. Its release took time when taking into consideration the two and a half years of meticulous work that van der Klaauw has put into the module.
Aventurine : 1 stone
Diamond(s) : 373 stones, 4.65 carats
Mother-of-pearl : 1 stone
Turquoise : 2 stones
- Case Dimensions : 38 mm
- Water resistance : 3 ATM
- Bracelet Material : Pearly alligator, square scale
- Buckle type : Ardillon buckle
- Movement: Automatic mechanical movement (Valfleurier Q020), fitted with a Christiaan Van der Klaauw module developed exclusively for Van Cleef & Arpels.
- Power Reserve: 40 hours
The watch is stunning, something we’ve settled early on. The aventurine quartz is quite rare because it is difficult to draw out the sparkly appearance that gives it the name, adding value to the watch already laid down with precious stones. The watch is arguably more elegant than the Van Cleef and Arpels Midnight Planetarium, even in the absence of the other planets and the time and date indicator. While it is tempting to dismiss this as nothing more than a fancy-looking watch, the work underneath is actually done with a complex complication, no different than its older brother, and is encased in an equally riveting frame. Everything you see on the watch is made by hand and intentional. The watch can go with the most formal of attires and even low-key sophisticated outfits, which is definitely a plus.
Setting aside the banishing of the other planets on the dial (we’re kidding!), reading time with the watch can take some getting used to. The calendar is also on the caseback, which makes it easier to figure the date just by looking at your phone. For those looking to seriously collect timepieces, the Planetarium is a shiny watch where there’s no upgrade on the movements, as the focus is more on the marrying of watch and jewelry making. Plus, the Planetarium can be hard to come by, given the time necessary to even complete a single piece and the rarity of the materials.