By Stephen Watson for Wynn Magazine
DANCERS IN MOTION INSPIRED THE VAN CLEEF & ARPELS watchmakers, who drew upon nearly a century of history plucked from the maison’s unprecedented archives to create two new watches, the Lady Danse and the Lady Danse Duo. Part of the Extraordinary Dials collection, this pair of white gold high jewelry watches draws parallels from clips and powder cases of the 1940s that featured golden stages and ballerinas en pointe set with precious stones.
For nearly a century, Van Cleef & Arpels has interpreted costumed dancers in all sorts of abstract jewelry creations. Masterful three-dimensional techniques showcase the Van Cleef & Arpels jewelers’ technical skill, mimicking lace, tulle and ribbons in metals and stones, all suggesting the gravity-defying artistry of ballerinas.
The two Lady Danse watches feature dancers on watch dials for the first time, suggesting contemporary dance, perhaps even Broadway performances. The stage sets depicted are modern, placing all the performers in the present. In one, a dancer enters stage left. She’s set with diamonds and rubies, floating above a white mother-of-pearl, turquoise and green chrysoprase background that’s cut and assembled using a complex marquetry technique. In the second, a duet takes place stage right with a chorus of dancers on the right side of the dial.
The set here consists of a city skyline made of turquoise, white mother-of-pearl and lapis lazuli with a single white gold building set with diamonds. The spotlight focuses on the starring players, the bezel set with diamonds framing the scene with a sparkling glamor.
Like the magic of the theater, the brilliant performance onstage hides wizardry behind the curtain. Powered by a manually winding mechanical movement, each watch has a power reserve of 40 hours. The caseback of each 33 mm watch is engraved, depicting a variation of the scene on the dial and a numbered limited edition. With Broadway back in business, it feels like a time to celebrate. No watch could do it better.