Sealed with a kiss: The iconic watch collection with a romantic love story to tell
Van Cleef & Arpels' iconic Pont des Amoureux timepiece – which depicts a pair of lovers kissing on a Parisian bridge – now comes with a new mechanism that allows the couple to 'kiss' at any time of the day.
When the Van Cleef & Arpels Pont des Amoureux timepiece was first introduced ten years ago in 2010, it immediately became an object of desire amongst ladies. The iconic timepiece was inspired by Paris, the City of Love, and the Pont des Arts – the bridge across the Seine famous for its love locks.
Apart from its regular time-telling duties, the watch captured the hearts of many through its intriguing visual spectacle. Featured on the dial is the story of two lovers in Paris, with a retrograde display in which the lady indicates the hours, while the gentleman tells the minutes. As time passes through the day, the pair inch closer to one another, until they meet at the top at midnight or midday, and lean in for a kiss.
Ten years on, the collection has now been updated with several new variations, each one an enchanting depiction of love at different times of the day and year.
One of the new releases is a daytime version. While the original timepiece depicted a Parisian night scene, the daytime version allows the lovers to come together in daylight.
The timepiece is housed in a 38mm white gold case with a diamond-set bezel and crown. As opposed to the dark hues of the night version, the idea of daytime was captured through the use of lighter hues such as pink, purple and blue.
To bring these romantic scenes to life, Van Cleef & Arpels made use of traditional skills that require patience and expertise. The grisaille enamel technique – developed in France in the 16th century – is showcased in different ways on the two dials.
On the original watch, it is used in its traditional version, with white enamel powder placed on a dark background. The resulting play of contrasts depicts the light and shade effects of Paris in the night.
On the dial of the daytime version, coloured grisaille enamel is used for the first time. Pink and blue enamels are set against a white background, evoking the gentle quality of daylight. This took 30 to 40 hours of work, and each dial was fired some ten times to achieve the desired result.
The silhouette of the bridge was finely carved in gold, while diamonds set around the dials bring a touch of sparkle. To complete the scene, a star of gold flakes feature on the night version, while two swallows, depicted in miniature painting, fly over the city on the daytime version.
Both versions are fitted with interchangeable bracelets such as navy blue, purple alligator skin or paved with diamonds.
LOVE IN EVERY SEASON
For those who prefer more sparkle, the seasonal variations will catch your eye. To depict love in all the seasons, another four bejewelled reiterations of the timepiece also accompany the launch of the daytime version.
Details and colours for each version change with the seasons. In the spring version, the cityscape is adorned with pink flowers, while in summer, butterflies flutter through the streets. In autumn, leaves fall around the couple and in winter, snow covers the roofs of the city. The lovers are also dressed appropriately for each season.
The dial’s theme continues on the jewellery bracelet, which is fully set with diamonds and coloured stones that emulate the seasons.
Purple and pink sapphire flowers adorn the spring version, while yellow sapphires and garnets feature on the summer version. Yellow sapphires and spessartites are used to depict fall, and blue sapphires evoke the chill of winter.
A KISS ON DEMAND
If you get a little impatient waiting for midday or midnight to see the lovers lean in for a kiss, you'll be glad to know that all new variations have been fitted with an animation-on-demand module that allows the kiss to happen at any time of the day, simply by the push of a button.
To add to the romance of the narrative, the length of the kiss has also been extended to three minutes, as opposed to the original 60-second rendezvous. Once the couple separates, the movement takes into account the three elapsed minutes, and adjusts the indications back to the correct time.
A decade may have passed since the first Pont des Amoureux timepiece was released, but these new variations are still sure to appeal. After all, love is a timeless notion.